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Tractors and Hobby Farming

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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tractors and Hobby Farming
    Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 6:47am
OK, so I bought the farm. Well, hobby farm but I never had more than a 5 acre suburban lot with a couple of horses and a riding mower before. 

24 acres, about half pasture, half wooded, mix of pines and hardwoods. Lots of wildlife, saw a bear yesterday. Neighbors claim to have seen a panther recently (what you westerners would call a mtn lion). 

Its a SW VA mountain farm so some pretty steep slopes, up to around 30 percent, possibly higher in some spots I haven't identified yet. Couple of springs and a creek on it, small barn, 3 horse run in, about 1000 ft gravel driveway. 2500 ft elev so there can be significant winter snow (not last year).

Tractor uses: mowing. plowing, scraping and leveling driveway. Maintaining trails in woods. Hauling and splitting firewood. Maybe tilling a garden area. Maintaining fencing. Previous owner had an old Ford 8N and brush hogged with it, scared me what he was doing with that thing on those hills. 

I know I want a ROPs and power steering. Ag tires, fluid filled, set wide as possible. Low gearing for tight areas and because I'm a tractor newbie and I don't know where all the holes and stumps are yet. Not certain beyond that whether to get a compact utility tractor with 4wd and a loader or a 2wd utility tractor. I'll need a brush hog, box scraper and blade, and a carry all for the 3 pt unless I get a loader tractor. Tiller, auger, and splitter?

Wife will be getting a horse or two (done that before, her thing not mine). Not sure yet on other livestock, thinking maybe some sheep, maybe bee keeping.  But not sure about the whole panther and bear thing. 

Thoughts? 




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podwerkz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 8:08am
Hey Oliver! Say 'HI' to Lisa and Eb!

How's Arnold the pig?

LOL


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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 8:27am
    Sounds like you are close to being Off Grid with 24 acres of peace and quiet. With bears you will need to keep your garbage containers protected they have a good sense of smell! You will stay busy maintaining your property but sounds like you are going to have a great time and will enjoy living there.
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Pod People View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pod People Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 9:02am

Congratulations on your purchase-sounds like part of a long term plan.

I have owned 3 tractors and give a little bit of personal advice based on my usage-which is different from what you may need.

 

It sounds like you need a 4 wheel drive tractor for the steepness you describe.  There are lots of manufacturers that offer these in the 30-40hp range. Most have dual range transmissions (hi and low) with 3-5 gears in each range.  So, low gearing is almost always available. A tractor this size should do everything you listed. Whether you can find a good used one is always a question.

 

Some tractors have 2speed PTO’s-engine speed and ground speed. This is desirable over a single speed PTO. Also, being able to reverse the PTO is essential if you use an auger. Otherwise, the auger can only go down and not up.  I once screwed my tractor into the ground with the front wheels about 2’ off the ground. What a fiasco!! Make sure the auger and/or tractor can reverse the action before you start digging holes.

 

I use a 5’ scraper blade that has multiple adjustments to grade our long gravel drive.  It can slide left to right  about 2’, can be adjusted up or down on each end and can change the vertical angle to scrape or cut.  It is more versatile and lighter than a box blade.

 

I use a boom pole for moving logs before I cut them to length.  I also have an independent hydraulic log splitter.  I think this is easier to work with than hooking one onto the tractor.  Having it independent allows you to use the tractor, move logs, etc while the splitter is still in the wood lot.  Hooking up the splitter to the tractor requires more time, effort and the tractor must have rear hydraulic connections and a pump.

 

I don’t know anything about tilling or plowing-good luck with that.

 

I use a bush hog that is about 1’ wider than the rear tire width. Anything larger gets bulky and cumbersome.

 

Don’t know anything about front end loaders except they require more hydraulics.  A friend has one and his wife has horses.  He uses the front end loader to move manure and hay bales.

 

Older tractors are relatively easy for routine maintenance . Newer tractors have a lot of advantages, but are more complex in the wiring and hydraulics and will cost more $$$. I have owned my 1963 Massey Ferguson 35 for over 30 years and it has served me well. I have done all of the maintenance, rebuilt the carb and fuel systems, repainted it and kept it stored in my barn.  These old tractors are pretty much bullet proof if you take care of them and do the maintenance.  However, I also know people with newer Kubota and John Deere’s that love them and depend on them.  Sometimes the decision comes down to what’s locally available at the time.

 

Good luck with your search and your new adventure

Vann


 

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podwerkz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 10:21am
Other than size, HP, 2WD vs 4WD, and choice of accessories, one big choice is the transmission. HST (hydrostatic) is better for close-in work, backhoes, bucket work, mowing around obstacles, blading snow, lifting, etc...but a manual gearbox is better and more efficient for tilling, plowing, and mowing LOTS of acreage in mostly straight lines. 

Big choice and it will affect your use of the tractor from now on. 

Also, make sure the ROPS is foldable....most newer ones are.

Most of the newer utility compact and sub-compact tractors are made from a variety of parts from all over the world, although they might be assembled in the USA....maybe.

Don't be surprised to see engines and various other components that are made in Korea, China, Japan, India, Mexico, Canada, etc etc.




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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 10:28am
If you do not have them already, consider purchasing bear-resistant trash cans. This is one example.  http://www.kodiak-products.com/
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fwunder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fwunder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 10:45am
SW Virginia? Are you a Hokie? Very pretty country.

I was doing some window shopping recently and came across this. It's a sub-compact comparison, but I thought it was a pretty good comparison between green and orange paint.

Personally, I would buy used. Neighbor lets me borrow their diesel Kabota if I need to use a bucket. It is fun!


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podwerkz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 10:58am
Yeah and if you have a hole drilled in the bucket near the lip, right in the middle, you can install a hitch ball when needed and move your r-pod, or any small trailer, exactly where you need it!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 4:37pm
Our Kubota is going on 22 years old. It has held up well. 4WD, hydrostatic drive. I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would get direct drive. We have a front end loader, brush hog, and a box blade. We have toyed with the notion of a backhoe, but at $7500 and very rare use situations, we opted out.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tars Tarkas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2020 at 7:42pm
Originally posted by Pod People

Older tractors are relatively easy for routine maintenance . Newer tractors have a lot of advantages, but are more complex in the wiring and hydraulics and will cost more $$$. I have owned my 1963 Massey Ferguson 35 for over 30 years and it has served me well. I have done all of the maintenance, rebuilt the carb and fuel systems, repainted it and kept it stored in my barn.  These old tractors are pretty much bullet proof if you take care of them and do the maintenance.  However, I also know people with newer Kubota and John Deere’s that love them and depend on them.  Sometimes the decision comes down to what’s locally available at the time.


I have exactly the same MF 35.  Had it for about 30 years too.  It's been great on my 47 acres of Middle Tennessee hill land.  I use it for bushhogging, driveway maintenance, skidding firewood mostly, a few other things from time to time. 

Just about all the advice I've seen here has been spot on.  I disagree about a reversible PTO for post-hole digging though.  I've been drilling holes for 50 years without a reversible PTO.  I have gotten stuck a time or two, but between the hydraulic lift and rocking the tractor back and forth, I've always gotten unstuck.  The trick is dig a bit, pull the posthole digger up, dig a little more.  But, I suppose depending on the ground you have, it's mostly a theoretical problem.  A reversible PTO would be nice, but I wouldn't pay extra for it or not get a tractor because it didn't have it.

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