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Author Topic: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?  (Read 10534 times)

iank

  • Joined May 2011
Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« on: May 02, 2011, 08:15:47 pm »
We have just purchased a 4 acre plot, half is a garden and half is a field. Mostly we need a machine to
cut grass of 3 different types; a reasonable quality lawn, oval shaped and flat,
a park like area with trees on a 20 degree slope, and finally a rough field of 2 acres.
The other tasks would be to haul stuff about like manure and logs. and a bit of ploughing and rotovating. Attachments for sawing logs and pumping water from a well would also be useful.

I am unsure whether a 4 wheel mini tractor or a decent 2 wheel tractor would be OK. I am not sure a 4 wheel machine will be able to mow the decent grass usefully, while a 2 wheel tractor would be able to cope with the field and would take ages to do. I have also heard the 2 wheel tractors need a fair bit of strength to manage.

Any advice or comments from experience would be helpful

thanks
Ian
Voss Electric Fence

Coley

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 10:54:04 pm »
I have a shire 30 hp which does everything you mention, land legend does the same (same tractor, different name) but LL seem to be doing some good deals at the minute :wave:

waterhouse

  • Guest
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 11:39:27 pm »
Newton's 3rd law says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so when your two wheel tractor is wacking seven kinds of brickdust out of the ground it's doing the same to you.  Some people love them though, but the attachments are likely to be specific to each machine and hence costly.  Anyway four acres is tractor territory in my opinion

A small tractor with a power take off and a three point hitch at the back can take all manner of attachments from all manner of suppliers.  Ebay is full of the stuff.  It can also mangle or kill you or demolish the side of your barn cos even a 15hp job will weigh over half a tonne so get a day's training from an ag college - the farm accident stats remain persistently high with tractors a big part of the problem.

It's a compromise.  Too small doesn't have the grunt while too big gets in the way.  

The market is essentially old machines (MF35 etc from 40 years back), Japanese or Chinese/Indian kit.  The Japanese product (Kubota, Mitsubishi, Yanmar, Iseki etc) lasts reliably for ever, so s/h prices can be high particularly for more powerful machines.  Lots of them are grey imports though the tide has turned following currency gyrations and there's fewer coming over now.  New John Deere and Massey tractors are rebadged Japanese.

If you buy Chinese make sure that you're near the dealer cos there's a reason for cheap.  I just sold a 20 year old Kubota on ebay for a lot more than I expected, more than I paid 5 years ago.  It was cosmetically scruffy but mechanically solid.  The winning bidder was from Dortmund, the underbidder from Croatia (who was replacing a well-known Chinese tractor that had lost 2 of its 4wd and leaked oil)

Old tractors already have lasted for ever and can be a lot of fun (many bits are easily available) if you want an extra hobby.  Just remember that health & safety regs didn't exist when they were built so there are more ways to mangle yourself or the kids.  And nursing the brute along is all very well but when you've got real work to do and the weather's about to change it's tedious.  I like solid and reliable, so my vote is Japanese, new or old.

Don't get a "garden tractor" and expect it to do everything.  They are wonderful lawn mowers and really manoeuvre well (I have a JD) but while it will top rough grass very well you don't get hydraulics or a PTO and there's insufficient weight for good grip.  Compromises...


« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 11:44:18 pm by waterhouse »

benkt

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cambridgeshire
    • Hempsals Community Farm
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 11:56:52 pm »
I hired a two wheeler for rotavating one of my fields this year to see how it went as I'm in a similar situation to you with around five acres to maintain. It took about a day to rotavate half an acre and was reasonably hard work, although would have been much easier if the land had been more free of vegetation which tended to bung up the rotavator blades. I'm now trying to figure out how to afford a compact.

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 08:11:56 pm »
Go for old, British, massive range of implements, cheap parts and easy to repair if it goes wrong.

waterhouse

  • Guest
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 03:48:24 pm »
Go for old, British, massive range of implements, cheap parts and easy to repair if it goes wrong.
Just depends whether you want a tractor or a hobby... 

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 06:40:21 pm »
So the chinese/japanese tractors don't break down then? And of course the parts for them are readily available and dead cheap. And they're piss easy to fix? ;D

Coley

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2011, 10:27:29 am »
And of course the parts for them are readily available
I have a Port agri out front mulcher, british built etc, I need a gear box for the left side blade, readily available? thats a laugh, they started using gear boxes from a new source 4 years ago and the gearboxes for my model 'are no longer available'

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2011, 12:32:20 pm »
jap parts are in short supply now  :wave:

waterhouse

  • Guest
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 10:59:42 pm »
Don't confuse the Chinese and Japanese machines.  The Japanese have a longstanding reputation for making well engineered tractors that keep on working and working.  You don't have to like them but you rarely have to fix them, and the corporations that make them are huge.

The chinese tractor to my mind is an unknown quantity.  I have travelled extensively in China over the last ten years and saw startlingly few tractors being used there compared with the amount of work done manually.  I can believe that they have massive tractor factories selling machines for export - exporting is what they do best after all, but I'm not convinced. 

Getting bits for an MF 135 is straightforward cos there's so many out there and there's a huge support network.  It's the buying an MF135 that's the problem now cos they're damn expensive.  But getting oil seals for a 30 year old MF575 is not so trivial.  It takes time to find the bits and they can be eye-wateringly expensive.

I loved my grey Fergie but I was very happy to sell it.   It's fashionable to decry health and safety but that tractor scared me.  All those brilliant innovations have had sixty years of refinement but farming is still dangerous.  In the year to March 2010 there were 151 workplace deaths in the uk of which 38 were in agriculture: its the most dangerous profession of all.

iank

  • Joined May 2011
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 07:59:12 am »
Thanks very much for this advice.
I think I will get a proper tractor,  not a 2 wheel tractor, and mow the lawns with a lawn mower.

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 03:41:29 pm »
Sorry to add a thought after the discussion has closed.

I also needed a small tractor. I looked at the little Japanese ones and was very interested. However, I was worried about their stability on rough land.

To explain. A bump or ditch which would not worry a normal size tractor could turn over a little one because of the track width is much smaller also.

As a result I bought a 20hp alpine tractor. Something like a heavy duty quad bike. Mine was £4500 second hand. There are several brands available in the UK. Mine is made by a firm called Goldoni and came from BSG in Marks Tey, Essex:

http://ww.bsgtractorsandmachinery.co.uk/
http://www.goldoni.com/

There is also Rico:

http://www.alpinetractors.com/home.asp?index=1

and Carraro:

http://www.carraro.co.uk/special_offers.htm

and probably others.

They have a category 1 three point hitch and a power take-off to drive machinery like mowers, pumps, saws etc. They are available with a small diesel engine from 20hp up. They are 4 wheel drive with large low pressure tyres (8 to 12 psi) limiting soil compaction.

A further advantage is that mine has an air cooled engine and only weighs 600kg (about 12cwt) so it is easy to transport on a small trailer. The larger tractors quickly increase in weight to over 1 ton  requiring a larger stronger trailer.

Spares are readily available. These machines are robust and essentially simple. Above all they are very stable, You will give up before they turn over.

Good luck
Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds

Moleskins

  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 05:17:36 pm »
Thanks for chipping in after the discussion had 'closed' you've opened up a whole new line of thought for me.
I've got a quad but think a compact tractor may be better for me. Very doubtful about buying a Chinese one
as they do get some bad reports. This seems to be a cross between the two.
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

NorthEssexsmallholding

  • Joined Dec 2010
Re: Advice please on tractors for newbie- 4 wheels or 2?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2011, 08:04:57 pm »
surely it depends on how much you have to spend, i would always look at buying a proper tractor, a good old Massey or Ford.

 

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