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Need some experienced tractor suggestions


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#1 PetesPonies OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 01:21 PM

Some background. I'm a retired Tech teacher who does Mustang restoration work now. I actually did the restoration work while I was teaching. I did my thirty years and at 51, got out. I took my pension and moved south. I moved my restoration business as well. I built a house down here and a shop . .actually still finishing it all up at the time. But the light can be seen in the tunnel. I brought with me a JD LT160 and a couple old 60s tractors. I like old things, cars , trucks, tractors, furniture, etc. I have 37 acres, most is wooded. I had some land cleared 4 years before I moved here. In those 4 years, the pines had grown back, lots of bushes,e tc . . in the area where my house was to go. I cleared it with my LT160. I mean any tree about 6' or smaller, I pushed over and mowed the stump. I bought an extra deck and went at it. It was amazing and most thought no way a LT series would do it, well it was great. I then sold my LT160 and the extra deck I bought, for more money than I originally paid for them. How's that? So that's me and a little insight into who and how I function. I bought a JD 318. I wanted some hydraulics. I don't "love" the 318, but it is doing fine. However, I still think it is too small for what I really need. I probably have 4-5 acres that I mow. My house has maybe 1/2 acre that I am trying to get nice, but the rest is more "pasture" type mowing. I just don't want nature to take back my land. Actually, I'm the type that will mow a bit extra every time to gain some more land  :) I love the old Ford tractors, 8Ns, the 600s, 800s etc. I think a 5' bush hog would really be the piece of equipment I should be using. However, I do have a hill that must be mowed. It is the backside of a pond dam. It's about 15' vertical height, probably 20' that is mowed at an angle. I don't see me doing that with an 8N. However, I do have some other vintage tractors and a pull behind mower. Its a 44" Swisher that possibly could be used on the hill and certain around my house. The point being, if I get rid of the 318 to get something larger, I could still get the areas that the larger equipment could not get. Do you understand??  So really, WHAT tractor do I need? How would you do it??


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#2 stiemmy ONLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 01:36 PM

That 318, or similar sized should be big enough for the task, and small enough for tight spots. As far as mowing on hills and grades you sure can't beat a Sickle Bar. Good luck.
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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 01:53 PM

Congratulations on retirement, the land, and the toys. I have a bunch of old GTs, a Ford 4500 TLB, a Ford 2000 with FEL, and an AC HD6G dozer. I have less land than you and need all of them. The problem is keeping them running. Right now only 5 of the LTs and GTs are working. Until I fix the hydraulics on the 4500 and the clutch on the 2000 I can't get my firewood for winter.

My point is, for a large place you need several pieces of equipment with backups. I really like the late 60s and 70s Ford tractors. The power steering and an FEL make work faster, easier, and safer. As you get older you will really appreciate the power steeering and FEL. I also love the large frame Bolens GTs for heavier yard work but I use an LT for lawn mowing. I don't want to wear out good machines on light duty work when an LT (which are usually freebies)can do it.

The downstream side of a dam should be kept well mowed and have a healthy grass cover. The enemies of earth dams are erosion, neglect, tree stumps and woodchucks. I worked on a dam years ago where it was over grown and riddled with woodchuck holes. We cleared off the dam and before the exterminater could get in there, the red shouldered hawks of the area had a feast. We then had to find everyhole, dig them out and properly fill them. Be real carefull about your dam. Post some pics. Good Luck, Rick


Edited by boyscout862, August 16, 2015 - 01:54 PM.

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#4 DH1 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 02:28 PM

Have you considered getting a Kubota Zero turn mower?

Liquid cooled, diesel powered hydrostatic drive. 

 

I ran one back when I worked for the landscaper, they are fast, maneuverable, can handle the hills and tall, heavy, wet grass.

If you cut all that grass with the JD  LT160 and JD318 the commercial  Zero turn riders would do it no problem.


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#5 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 02:48 PM

37 acres is a fair piece of ground, I only have 9 and mow it with a 1500 Ford and a 5ftmower, it is all one big hill some of it pretty steep.
I think of that as a N series Ford of the 80s. Truth is I am never done mowing, I just move from one section to another.

I am going to suggest something bigger. Not sure what the Ford equivalent of a 560 Farmall would be.
But would recommend aprox. 60hp utility( for low center of gravity and a wing mower. Wish I had one.
But the Coop about a mile from me has a property of about 20 acres, some of it is pretty steep.
They keep it looking like a park, no kidding!
And use a Farmall 560, with one of those three unit rotary gang mowers. I think it mows about 12 ft at a swath but will fold up to around 8 ft for transport.
Two decks of about 48 inches side by side on wings and one in back overlapping the center decks? The wing decks are on hinges and can be set up on the banks using your hydraulics.
And can mow it all in a few hours.

Edited by JD DANNELS, August 16, 2015 - 02:52 PM.

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#6 PetesPonies OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 02:53 PM

Thanks guys. I figured a zero turn wouldn't be good for my terrain. It is very rough and the hill is figured wouldn't be good as well. I have very un-smooth soil/land.  It is just a couple seasons from being woods. Therefore, you bounce like crazy mowing over it. I had some timbering done as well and those machines added more roughness to the part I mow. I bounce the heck out of the 318, ready to pick up parts that fall off  :) The top of the damn is wide and I have had tractor trailers run on it , dropping off supplies for the house. So it's very stable and wide enough at the top that you don't worry about coming up the hill and not being able to slow. I usually mow downhill, just come back up and mow down again, etc. I've never used a sickle before. I'm not a fan of the PS on the 318, so needing a reason to sell and get something else is OK .


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#7 PetesPonies OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 03:04 PM

37 acres is a fair piece of ground, I only have 9 and mow it with a 1500 Ford and a 5ftmower, it is all one big hill some of it pretty steep.
I think of that as a N series Ford of the 80s. Truth is I am never done mowing, I just move from one section to another.

I am going to suggest something bigger. Not sure what the Ford equivalent of a 560 Farmall would be.
But would recommend aprox. 60hp utility( for low center of gravity and a wing mower. Wish I had one.
But the Coop about a mile from me has a property of about 20 acres, some of it is pretty steep.
They keep it looking like a park, no kidding!
And use a Farmall 560, with one of those three unit rotary gang mowers. I think it mows about 12 ft at a swath but will fold up to around 8 ft for transport.
Two decks of about 48 inches side by side on wings and one in back overlapping the center decks? The wing decks are on hinges and can be set up on the banks using your hydraulics.
And can mow it all in a few hours.

 

I think a tractor the size of the 1500 is plenty large for my needs. I just love the looks and history of the older tractors  :)



#8 DH1 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 04:05 PM

If you like the old Ford N series, 600, 800, then your gonna want to get a 650/651 or 850/851.

These have the 5 speed transmission and give you the slower creeper gear plus a little more PTO hp.

I have used the Golden jubilee which is similar to the 600 series tractor, it has the 4 speed transmission in it.

I have a 5foot ford finish mower on it and the tractor can easily handle it. Cutting normal grass that is not to long you can cut in 1st or 2nd sometimes 3rd gear for light grass, but you can also over power the tractor in long heavy wet grass when taking a full cut.

In this condition you want to slow the tractor down but you don't have the lower gear that the 5 speeds do.

If you slow down the engine you slow down the cutter.

Also power steering would be nice.

 

I prefer to cut the grass with the Ford tractor however this season the mower is busted, I don't want to speed the big $$$ to fix it and don't have enough to get a new one, so I use my garden tractors to cut.


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#9 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 04:13 PM

I have to agree with steimy on this. Pretty much any gt with a 4' sickle mower will take care of that. Especialy if you are just keeping the woods at bay. Do that two or three times a year and you should be good.
Pete
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#10 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 04:35 PM

A brush hog and a MF 100 series tractor would be just about the cats backside to take care of that.

I like the (to35) 135 because they are nimbler and shorter. Easier to get on and off... But I love the 165 we have when hogging because you can SEE what you're doing.
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#11 propane1 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 08:29 PM

I have a ferguson tractor with a six foot rear discharge finish mower. Works great seems to be very stable on hills. Noel
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#12 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 08:54 PM


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#13 PetesPonies OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 09:20 PM

Wow guys, good info. And that video is great. My grass/weed combo isn't nearly as think. I could chew my way through any of it with that setup !! Because my property is so rough, I'm thinking a large tire machine would be much smoother and more comfortable for me. I'm not a whinnie one, but it shakes my head around pretty good now  :) I had a head ache when I got off. Can you guys speak to that issue? I'm thinking a larger wheeled tractor, greater wheelbase will have a smoother ride over the rough land. And what type of sickle as you guys referring? Something that will fit about any GT ?? Thanks


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#14 JBRamsey OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 09:43 PM

Why don't you pick a box scrape and start smoothing out your ground a little along? I like old stuff, too. I have two 8Ns, a 39 Model B Allis, and several 60s era Suburbans and I mow with a Simplicity.

Personally, depending on what you want to do with your land long term, I would go get a new or late model 4WD Kubota with a front end loader, box scrape and a bush hog and start going at it. It can take years to get new ground in good shape unless you bring in someone with a dozen. Then I would play with my old stuff in the garage in the evenings and rainy days.

#15 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2015 - 09:51 PM

Wow guys, good info. And that video is great. My grass/weed combo isn't nearly as think. I could chew my way through any of it with that setup !! Because my property is so rough, I'm thinking a large tire machine would be much smoother and more comfortable for me. I'm not a whinnie one, but it shakes my head around pretty good now :) I had a head ache when I got off. Can you guys speak to that issue? I'm thinking a larger wheeled tractor, greater wheelbase will have a smoother ride over the rough land. And what type of sickle as you guys referring? Something that will fit about any GT ?? Thanks

Yes the taller wheels and longer wheelbase does make for a smoother ride.
I started out with a 2 acre lawn and 7 acres of cornstalks. Shredded the cornfield with my 318 it took many hours, beat the heck out of me. Especially where the joker had ran across the field with a chisel plow.
When I thought the 318 needed a break I would get on the 22 hp Murray rail frame.
It worked ok,but made for a not at all funny experience. I got to the top of the hill and the cornstalks were on fire. The low mount muffler had a cornstalk stuck through the guard and I was spreading fire wherever I went. It was a windy spring day and I had to call the fire department to put it out.
Burnt off about 2 acres. I sowed white clover on that area and got a beautiful stand.

Edited by JD DANNELS, August 16, 2015 - 10:09 PM.

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