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Author Topic: Compact tractor or ride on mower?  (Read 430 times)

sussex_george

  • Joined Oct 2019
Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« on: October 08, 2019, 09:43:50 am »
Hi all,

New to the forum but likely to be back quite often.... My family and I have been trying to move from the city to somewhere more rural for years, and happily the purchase is about to go through :farmer:

We're moving to a small place with approx. 1.2 acres of land. Much of the space is currently lawned, there is probably a third of the land on which I plan to build raised beds and potentially a decent sized polytunnel. My intention is to try no-dig on the beds.

I'm planning to invest in either a ride on mower or compact tractor - I can see a use for something with a small loader (there's a dung pile left by the old owners, and I'll be buying mulch loose in cubic metre bags). I want to collect grass from mowing and use as mulch too. I already have a Husqy walk behind rotovator, although as mentioned above I'm planning not to use it too much.

My preference is for a compact tractor as I think it will be much more useful than a mower, but budget is tight and I do need to collect the grass cuttings. So I'm thinking either a small tractor with loader + finishing mower + towed grass collector, or a ride on mower with trailer, and no loader.

Interested to hear others opinions on this. Realistically if I spend any more than about £5K on the lot I'll be in trouble so that has to be my max budget!

Thanks in advance

George
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 11:32:10 am by sussex_george »
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PaulB321

  • Joined Oct 2019
Re: Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 04:39:28 pm »
Hi George
We had a similar dilemma when we moved to our smallholding. We have about 15acres (a lot of it woodland or inaccessible to any type of vehicle) but just wanted to cut paths and smaller areas (plus the lawns) and collect grass for mulch and compost.

Whilst the flexibility of a compact tractor was tempting, once we added up the costs of the tractor, a decent mower, collector and all the other useful tools you can add it just wasn't viable for us - we had roughly same budget as you. This is unless you're good at mechanics and willing to buy something older and tinker away with it - we're not so wanted something near new.

So in the end we plumped for a ride-on mower - luckily a local dealer had a Westwood T80 in second-hand and did us a good deal on it along with a high grass mulch deck and a little trailer (which is very handy for bringing firewood in from our woods in winter). It's done 3 years now and haven't regretted it so far.

Good luck
Paul

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2019, 08:19:10 pm »
Funnily enough I'm having a similar dillemma.. some 3+ acres of lawn that takes 6hrs with my husky zero turn ride-on with 42" deck and I'm thinking in terms of a 6 foot mower with thenusky just doing edges and between narrower trees etc. The choice is a compact tractor on grass tyres (cos mine on agri tyres really chews the lawn up when wet) plus a finishing mower or a bigger dedicated front decked ride-on. At least i have the winter to think about it.The ride-on can really just do the one job + towing whereas a second compact could do other work and probbaly at that size work out cheaper....

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2019, 09:20:48 pm »
Another alternative you may not have considered is a quad bike with a tow mower...   I've been using one for about 10 years.  I have a "push me pull you" mower which either mounts on the front of the quad or tows behind it (I've used both and prefer to tow it most of the time so have removed the mounting from the quad and put a winch on instead)!  My mower doesn't collect the grass, but I have a sweeper which would if I wanted to (I tend not to).

The quad doesn't give you the loader option, but is useful in terms of implements (SCH is a reasonably cheap source of groundwork equipment that I've used successfully over several years), also the 4WD is useful and the power to weigh ratio means less damage to soft ground.  It's also quite good to have the snowplough option which will keep the yard clear most years, and the spreader (seed or sand) for gritting.

I have a ride on mower too, which is also useful, but the quad helps pull the ride on out when I'm doing verges and "discover" a rabbit warren I couldn't see or a wet patch in the field that wasn't there the week before.
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 11:45:35 pm »
Are you intending to keep the lawns as lawn, or might you once you are settled decide to get a couple of pet sheep or a small flock of geese to keep it under control?  I ask because that could affect your choice of tractor/ride-on etc.  !.2 acres is not very much to justify a tractor, and as you are lifting 1/3 rd for beds and more for the tunnel, that leaves even less under grass.
I would be tempted to make no big decisions until you have moved in and got used to where you are and how much work is involved.  Even though we have a David Brown tractor, a Siromer, a grass cutting tractor and various implements and trailers, our most frequently used tools remain a small fleet of wheelbarrows.  The advantages are that gates are not much of a problem, implements don't have to be hitched up and the main one for us is that a barrow doesn't chew up the ground.  Obviously we use the larger machinery for major jobs such as haymaking, topping, spring-tine raking and carting heavy things about, but if we had only 1.2 acres we would not need them, a barrow would be enough plus a walk behind motor mower.  I do remember the initial euphoria of getting our place and thinking of all the equipment we could use, but as we had not a groat to our names none of it was an option so we were forced into the barrow option until a bit of money came along.  Once you are settled you may need the money you could spend on what you want, for something you can't do without.
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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Compact tractor or ride on mower?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 11:58:26 am »
Are you intending to keep the lawns as lawn, or might you once you are settled decide to get a couple of pet sheep or a small flock of geese to keep it under control?  I ask because that could affect your choice of tractor/ride-on etc.  !.2 acres is not very much to justify a tractor, and as you are lifting 1/3 rd for beds and more for the tunnel, that leaves even less under grass.
I would be tempted to make no big decisions until you have moved in and got used to where you are and how much work is involved. 
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