Garden tractor for plowing 2 acres?
Posted August 03, 2010 - 02:45 PM
I am starting farm that will have 2 acres of fields; the fields are currently in pasture/sod, need plowing. Unfortunately, haven't been able to find an existing farmer to do it, they're either too busy, too big, or too small. Need the plowing done in the next two weeks in order to get a cover crop in for winter.
I'm trying to decide between a compact utility tractor, a BCS tiller with rotary plow, and a garden tractor. Originally the debate was just between the first two, but after looking over this site and plenty of videos on the web, it's clear that garden tractors can plow. But would two acres of sod (but hardly any rocks) send a garden tractor to an early grave? Of course, the local dealers are pushing me toward a compact utility tractor, but I am really trying to stay small and out of debt. I'll need something to mow (about 3 acres) and till, so a garden tractor might be in the works regardless, tho the compact utility and BCS both have mower attachments. My BCS dealer sez the rotary plow for the BCS works great, but two acres might be a lot for it, too, and it looks like it would take forever to do two acres. BCS purportedly makes a moldboard plow, but the dealer knows nothing about it, and there's very little info on it on the web.
If a garden tractor is up to the task, any particular make/model/size recommended? Would be helpful if it were somewhat commonly found, as I am in a bit of a hurry.
Thanx for any thoughts and suggestions!
Posted August 03, 2010 - 05:05 PM
There are many makes/Brands of garden tractors that will be up to the task. If your mechanically inclined an older Garden tractor would be your best bet. They are durable and cost effective.
You first have to find the brand you are interested in and go from there.
I'm a Bolens guy so here is an example of what would work for you...
This is a pic from a Brochure.
Posted August 03, 2010 - 05:46 PM
Posted August 03, 2010 - 05:54 PM
For what you are about to spend on a brand new BCS, you could buy a really good GT that would do all sorts of things for you. However, you would also have to purchase some attachments as well.
For your purposes, I would recommend a tractor like this one.
Case/Ingersoll 446 garden tractor - eBay (item 110567958291 end time Aug-04-10 15:54:07 PDT)
In order to make it work for you, it would be necessary to add a three point hitch and a rear PTO. Used hitches sell for around $400.00 to $500.00 on e-Bay and the PTO's bring about $200.00 . For another $500.00 tops, you can add a used hydraulic drive rototiller that is 41" wide and is also instantly reversible. The three point hitch will allow you to use Cat zero ground engaging implements such as a single -furrow turning plow, double disc sets, spring-tooth cultivators and so forth. This tractor will cut your lawn, blow your snow, grade your gravel driveway and work your garden all while you are sitting down.
You can get an enclosed cab for it, a 4 ft bush hog mower, a log splitter and a chipper/shredder to look after fallen limbs. If you want a super clean lawn, then a powered vacuum is available that will spit leaves and clippings into a triple bagger or into an enclosed dump cart that trails behind.
Go to INGERSOLL and search the site.
This is the only garden tractor that employs a hydraulic system that moves nearly 10 gallons of oil per minute so that it is available to not only propel the tractor in both directions but also power a whole array of attachments that hook up with hoses fitted with quick couplers.
Something for you to think about.
Posted August 03, 2010 - 08:14 PM
Posted August 03, 2010 - 09:25 PM
alot of garden tractors can work for you. some of the best and most common are John Deere, Cub Cadet, Bolens, Gravely, and my favorite Sears, among others. i would suggest that you not make this decision too quickly as you could end up regreting your purchase. you may be in a hurry, but this is not a decision to rush. read over the many forums here and around the net till you find a tractor that you like, then ask a million and one questions about it and what it can do. we're here to help to ya brother!
Posted August 04, 2010 - 10:17 AM
A follow-up Q: is there any sense that older tractors, made 15 or 20 or 25 years ago, were better build, more able to stand up to years of use? That the newer ones, while slicker and with more conveniences, don't have the durability?
Posted August 04, 2010 - 10:29 AM
Posted August 04, 2010 - 01:00 PM
is there any sense that older tractors, made 15 or 20 or 25 years ago, were better build, more able to stand up to years of use? That the newer ones, while slicker and with more conveniences, don't have the durability?
That is a good question but not easily answered. First off, you have to take inflation into consideration in any discussion about value. The old GT's that are still around today were priced at the top of the food chain when new. If a new GT cost $1200.00 at the time the average family sedan cost $3600.00 then what price bracket do you need to look at today when the family sedan costs $36000.00 ? You can easily find high-quality GT's in the $12000.00 bracket including some that are sub-CUT's instead of what used to be called "Super GT's".
Is every old GT every made still a great buy today? Absolutely not. I readily admit to my extreme bias toward the Case and Ingersoll brands of garden tractors but for very good reasons.
1. they are built like a tank
2. they are well-supported by the factory when it comes to parts.
3. they are easy to work on, easy to repair, easy to maintain and most parts are reasonably priced.
4. UNLIKE so many other brands, most of the attachments totally interchange with all the models. In fact, I will put this brand up against any other brand when it comes to attachment interchangability. As such, this makes it easier to find the attachments you want and it also helps keep the prices down.
5. Some of the well-known brands that have proven to be of high-durability are no longer in business and some of the ones whose names are still out there have been bought up by MTD and people report that the old-time quality is no longer there. Cub Cadet, White and Bolens all had excellent reputations but are now part of the MTD conglomerate and have been for many years. So, in your search for a GT, you cannot go by the name alone because some people will tell you that a Cub Cadet made by MTD isn't anything like a Cub Cadet that was made by International Harvester. This is not something that you have to worry about with a Case or Ingersoll tractor. The name changed from Case to Ingersoll in the mid-80's but the quality of the tractor continued to improve and the newest models are better in some respects than the older ones.
I'm not saying that you're stepping into a minefield here but you must do your research or you will learn some hard lessons.