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R.J. 08-28-2010 05:00 PM

Compact tractors
We are moving to an acreage and are looking for a good yard tractor. Basically, we need to be able to move snow (lots of it) and mow grass. We will also need to be able to level out a few rough spots of lumpy dirt and knock down some alfalfa when it gets a little long (no need to bale it though). We might use a tiller maybe twice a year. So far we have looked at the following:

John Deer 2305 - 27 hp diesel tractor with front end loader and 52" mower deck.

Massey Ferguson 1500 - 28 gas? hp with front end loader and 52" mower deck.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these two models? Likes, dislikes? Advice?

2whlrcr 08-28-2010 05:40 PM

How much snow to move and how much grass to mow? I've got about a quarter mile of lanes and 5 acres of pasture to mow. I have a 38hp Kubota with a 6' brush hog and 6' blade. I wouldn't want anything smaller for our place.

And if you get R4 industrial tires like most of these tractors come with, you'll still need chains for the winter. First winter I plowed without and almost got stuck a bunch of times and slid around. Next winter I got chains for the rear and it was huge improvement. Last winter I put chains on all four and now nothing stops me and I can plow in half the time, when I didn't have any chains.

adam_c_eckhardt 08-28-2010 06:21 PM

How many acres?

I'm in the same boat, but probably a year or two away from actually getting one. Currently I'm looking for an excavator...

Anyways... you may want to consider a Kubota- bigger B series like a 2920 or a little L series. The smallest of the L series (the grand 40 series) can be equipped with a belly mower.

In terms of JD maybe look at a few models bigger than the 2305. My father in law has a 2305 and it is an AWESOME little machine, but he wishes he stepped up a notch or two.

There are quite a few people around here that swear by Kioti- you can definitely save a few bucks- They are heavy, a little more crude, less bells and whistles, etc... but I'm still hesitant to go with a brand that I hadn't heard of until a year or two ago. For my wife and I this machine is going to have to last 20 years, so it's got to be good.

In terms of tillers- every dealer I've visited has said to go with a Kuhn- NOT anything built by or for JD or Kubota. After I heard this a few times I figured there must be a reason why they all swear by them.

In terms of moving snow- you can buy a snow blade that mounts to the quick connect on your FEL- The nice thing about that is that you can raise it up high if you need to knock down a bank or push a pile back- can't do that with a snowblower or traditional blade.

Both my local dealers are big on customer service, and have both brought up a good point- "Doesn't matter what you buy- it's going to need parts and service, and it's going to break down once in a while- you need to rely on a good dealer when that happens." Probably not the most important factor when shopping, but definitely something to keep in mind.

Oh yeah- I know a lot of people that enjoy having a york rake and grader blade... they can come in handy if you want to level out a few rough spots.

Good luck- let us know what you get and how you like it.

derangedhermit 08-28-2010 06:45 PM

Like others have said, how many acres to mow? A 52" deck isn't very big.

I looked at the 2305 hard, because of the price. I bought the 2320 and am glad I did. It is a pleasure to use. Consider the additional ground clearance, if nothing else.

Good local service is important in picking between brands.

I can highly recommend the site for advice on all things related to compact tractors.

manganos 08-28-2010 08:29 PM

I 2nd the site. I frequent there a lot.

I'll tell you what I have owned and how it has worked for me.

First Tractor was a Yanmar 1702d 4x4 diesel with no FEL - It did what it was supposed to. Good little tractor and easy to get parts for if you needed.

Traded that in on a Kubota BX22 with FEL and BH - Lots of plastic. Refined with no leg room.

Traded that in on a Kioti LK3054 with a FEL. Probably the most "work" oriented. Did everything I asked of it and more. I would buy another Kioti again!

Traded that in on a 1967 Chevelle 396 (won't go there).

Just recently bought a Mahindra 2516 with FEL - Decent tractor. TERRIBLE dealer support here locally. I've had the diff lock rebuilt once already and it still doesn't work right. I'm dealing with the area rep now. Tractor is basically a Mitsubishi and is good but like I said the local dealer (who I did not buy from) sucks.

If you are near PA check out Wallace Tractor and tell him I sent ya. He gave me an AWESOME deal.

I wouldn't even look at a gas tractor. If you have snow you will want 4x4 and make sure you get a block heater. Tire chains are probably a must for you as well. I moved 20in of snow just fine with my Mahindra with no diff lock in 4x4 with the FEL and 5' rear blade angled.

Good luck!

R.J. 08-29-2010 06:47 AM

Thanks for the input and remarks! Keep 'em coming.

The property itself is just under 8 acres. Most of it is a fairly smoothe alfalfa field that has been hayed regularly for over 10-15 years. There are trees around the perimeter, but I don't plan on mowing around them, only along the row on the inside. Most of the land will be fenced for horse pasture, except for the yard, which is about 1 acre, and a wide enough band around the outside of the fence (inside the trees) to drive a pickup truck, ride a bike or ride a horse around. Periodically, I may need to knock down the alfafa if the horses cannot keep up. Once they start grazing, I don't expect this will be an issue. The lawn area is has no major bumps as it has been mowed regularly. There are few stands of trees and a flowerbed in the front that I need to be able to get around, so a bigger tractor isn't ideal.

As far as snow, I live way north, so we see 6 months of winter at a minimum. Snowfall isn't usually more than a foot at a time and might accumulate to around 2 feet over the winter. The house is relatively close to the main road and has a paved drive that is about 50 yards long and less than 10 yards wide. There is also quite a bit of turn around space on the grass beside the drive, and lots of room to push snow well out of the way.

So, basically, I need a machine that is big enough to push the snow for six months, and small enough to maneuver around a fenced 1 acre yard. Eventually, I will till a small garden and possibly use it to move square bales.

I haven't looked at the Kubota's yet, but plan to this week.

frewhl 08-29-2010 08:42 AM

Paging Cornfed.

He traded his ski boat for a tractor.

derangedhermit 08-29-2010 09:11 AM

The main question on the 2305, assuming you are planning on a MMM, is if you have to take the deck off whenever you want to do something else. Taking off and putting on a MMM deck gets old real quick.

You don't mention a barn. Folks that have horses in Texas have horse barns. And where are you going to store hay?

Again, tractorbynet.

2whlrcr 08-29-2010 02:24 PM

Your operation sounds similar to ours. And it sounds like you want one machine to do everything, but I think you need to think about two machines.

A larger tractor to move the snow and cut the pastures. I have the 38hp Kubota, but you might be able to get away with something smaller, but when moving snow, you want all the power you have room for. I have a FEL and a 6" blade on back. Works great and is unstoppable with chains. I too mow trails and have to mow the pastures a few times a year. A 6' brush hog does this for us.

As far as finish mowing goes, I have a zero turn lawnmower. It's going to do a better job mowing, with less damage to the yard than a big tractor would do. Or you could go with a smaller garden tractor. I also use this mower for mowing the fence lines. One quick pass and then I do the bulk of it with the brush hog.

I think you're going to regret having that small of a tractor, especially in the winter.

SpiderDan 08-29-2010 03:52 PM

I have 30 acres of woods with trails, pasture, and yard. The drive is over a quater mile long, and I live north of the Frozen Tundra (Lambeau Field). My tractor for the past 9 years has been a 21 Hp Kubota B7500 HST diesel 4x4 with a LA302 loader. For moving snow I use a 5 foot back blade, for tilling I use a 50 inch tiller, for mowing rough stuff and trails i use a 48 inch brush hog, and I was using a 48 inch box blade to groom the drive earlier today. I have made other three point tools such as a boom pole, and a drawbar based receiver hitch. I also use a receiver hitch on the bucket to hold my motorcycle tire changer with down force.

For mowing around 1 acre of lawn, I use a 16 hp hydrostatic rider.

I'm very pleased with my Kubota, and find that it does all the jobs I ask it to do, and the implements are light enough to nudge around a bit when mounting them.

Good Luck with what you choose.

Carlo Muro 08-29-2010 06:24 PM

4WD is a must if you have a FEL and plan to use it on any uneven terrain.

However, a 2WD with a scraper blade can move an incredible amount of snow. I watched my aunt's husband move a mountain of the stuff this past winter with nothing but an old chained up 8N. He resorted to the 8N after his monstrous, hydraulically articulated, 200+ hp, 4x4, earth-mover DEERE FEL (albeit with 2 bald tires) proved helpless.

FPGT72 08-30-2010 11:19 AM

I have ~13ac and mow a good bit of that. I did not want to spend the cash for a new tractor so I bought at is really a yanmar tractor painted green. It is a great little machine that can do all but the heavy work. Has a 60" belly mower (it is a pain to take off tho) 4wd, a locking diff (big plus) will run all week on a tank of fuel...little 3cyl diesel...I am amazed how it sipps fuel.

Best part is it cost ~$4,000 with less then 200hrs on it. So far it has not gotten stuck and moves snow pretty is slow to start in the winter (no glow plugs) so you have to make plans for that, but over all it is a great little machine.

fireflyr 08-30-2010 01:58 PM

I bought a JD2305 a couple of years ago. I don't have the mower but do have the bucket, backhoe and box scraper. I live on a steep 5 acres and this thing is amazing, just don't get it on a sidehill.

I think the short wheels / tires add to side hill stability but the addition of the outriggers with the backhoe have saved me a couple of times. I don't have any experience with the Kubota but the 2 were within $500 of each other.

jeep44 08-30-2010 02:23 PM

Buy an old Ford 8N, and use the money you would have needlessly spent on a new one to buy something else, like the tiller, blade,and bush hog that you will also need to buy.

mngl1500 08-30-2010 02:42 PM


Originally Posted by jeep44
Buy an old Ford 8N, and use the money you would have needlessly spent on a new one to buy something else, like the tiller, blade,and bush hog that you will also need to buy.

I agree. This is what we have for the 20 acres. Got an 8N and a 9N. Did convert them both over to 12 volt though.
Get one with working hydraulics and the front end loader. Get a brush hog and you will be set for cutting anything you want rough cut. You can get dump rakes and hay cutters cheap enough. Add a disc, spring tooth harrow and other addons as needed. Farm auctions are great for picking up equipment on the cheap.

For snow removal Have a Lorenz 4 foot X 6 foot snow blower that runs on the PTO. When they demoed the snow blower at the state fair they threw a cinder block into it.

For close to house have 2 Simplicity riding mowers for cutting plus another really old Simplicity that is no longer used for cutting, just has the trailer on it.

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