Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Advice please - compact tractor or quad  (Read 10284 times)

BunnysRock

  • Joined Aug 2021
Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« on: April 23, 2023, 01:48:09 pm »
Afternoon all. We have a smallholding in deepest, darkest West Wales and after 4 years of relying (being let down!) by contractors to maintain the land, we've now decided to buy our own machinery. The trouble is, we have no idea where to start! We'll mainly use it for tidying up after bailing, mowing an orchard, we need to clear some patches of overgrowth and on occasion tow a trailer to move some logs. Our land is fairly flat (considering it's Wales!) but we do have a couple of slopes down towards the stream that we need to keep on top of.

Would we be better off with a quad or a compact tractor? We've been offered a 2nd hand Iseki Piccolo tracked compact with flail for £6500 with about 300 hrs, is this a good deal. What else is out there for our budget of £10k? Tia.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2023, 02:44:13 pm »
We use a Siromer for everything except baling, which needs more brute force so we have an ancient David Brown for that.  You can get all sorts of accessories for the Siromer, either Chinese or same size brit, such as plough, rotavator, rake, spring tine rake, hay turner, back box, roller, trailer, all sorts as it has a PTO.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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Forestlens

  • Joined Jul 2020
  • North Devon
Re: Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2023, 10:37:25 pm »
I think you’d find a compact tractor more flexible and easier (and cheaper?) to find attachments for. We went through the same decision process and ended up with an old JD 25 hp Compact on turf tyres. We had an MX loader fitted and it does most things we need. The turf tyres make it perform like Bambi on ice in wet muddy conditions…..so we avoid soil damage by default!
Rightly or wrongly we have decided not to make our own hay/haylage as we considered the investment in kit to DIY was unjustified, so we still rely on contractors. We’ve been lucky with the weather and had good quality hay made by contractors. However I’d rather buy in good quality hay than end up with a barn full of rubbish that I then have to dump.
So I understand your decision to be in control of your own destiny. We’ve got a flat roll, chain harrows, a topper and a flail mower. We’ve no need for cultivation equipment but if you have a tractor would be a no brainer.
Good luck in your decision making, it’s very dependent on your system and requirements.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2023, 11:10:14 am »
If you can afford a compact tractor that'll take the attachments you will want to use, definitely that's the better option.  But, it can be a bit of a minefield working out whether a given compact will deliver what you need on your site - unless all you have is easy grass in level paddocks! 

I haven't been able to find any details on the Picolo, all the Iseki tractors seem to be named Txx.  Can you point us at a spec for the one you are considering? 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2023, 11:19:02 am »
I've realised I hadn't spotted that the candidate is tracked.  I've no experience with tracked tractors except that we hire a skid-steer to muck out our midden, but I imagine (based on our experience with the skid-steer) that they are slow and cumbersome compared to wheeled, but spread their weight well so can be used on softer terrain. 

The skid-steer is barely practical for moving stuff around our 32 acre site, and I'd not contemplate using it for any whole-field type activity. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Rebecca and Mark

  • Joined Mar 2021
Re: Advice please - compact tractor or quad
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2023, 04:24:10 pm »
Sorry we are rather late to the party, and our a subject we can potentially offer some knowledge on too.

Mowing implements for quadbikes are expensive to buy and run, and can be awkward to maneuver. If mowing is one of your key objectives this immediately rules out the quad option.

The tracked Iseki will also be a poor buy for your purposes. These are available cheaply on low hours because their uses are extremely limited - in Wales only useful job is flail mowing steep and/or wet moorland.

After that, consideration should be given to the size of your site, mechanical understanding and willingness to conduct maintenance yourself.

Be happy to help you think through this some more, but some guidelines might include:

Sub-compact with mid mounted mower, eg Kubota BX series. Excellent for neat mowing, good slope stability, no problems towing trailers or powering hydraulic equipment such as wood splitters.  Limited range of machinery possible for rear due to small size. Usually hydrostat so easy to manouver. Competent for loader work. Limited ground clearance can be a problem.

Compact utility tractor, eg Kubota L series. Larger, tougher and more capable but a slightly more heavy duty driving experience than the sub-compact. Big enough to handle some 'full size' implements such as larger flail mowers or a haybob. Can lift a large round bale.

All of the dedicated machinery available to allow compact tractors to undertake proper field work such as balers and drum mowers are mind bendingly expensive to the point where they are mainly limited to the wealthy playing at farming, as any sort of payback time will be inconceivable without a strong contracting market.

Vintage tractor, eg International 275 / Ford 3000.  Not to be underestimated, especially if you have a larger space and no need for intensive loader work (where the manual transmissions and steering can become a burden). A much lower purchase price is buying you a 'proper tractor' - which really means it is big enough to borrow and make use of the old implements your farming neighbours all have lying around in the corners of their yards. The downside is their age, it will help if you have the necessary knowledge or help to buy a good one in the first place. A good solid machine will still leave you with half your budget as well as a somewhat appreciating asset.
(Recommend something new enough to have a dual clutch for safety reasons, so sorry no grey fergies :D) 4x4 essentially not available.

Classic tractor, eg Ford 3910. Mostly as above, but in return for most of your budget you will get synchromesh, power steering and a strongly appreciating asset. 4x4 will be out of budget range.

I have two machines for sale, neither of which I would expect to meet your needs, but a glance at the classified section may provide food for thought?


 

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