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What should I be looking for?

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#1 tddeangelo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 08:21 AM

I've been asking around the forums on some topics related to my new-to-me older garden tractor (Simplicity Sovereign 18). 


I am a hunter, and there are a bunch of chores on the property I hunt that need equipment to make them manageable. They include:


Access road maintenance (rough guess, we have a mile, give or take of various access roads in and out of the place). 

-Mowing weeds on the roads. 

-On rare occasion they need grading, but we hired a guy with a dozer to come in and regrade for runoff, and that's helped stop a lot of the problems we'd had. Mostly they just need to be smoothed once in a while, and it's just dirt/rock, not terribly loose material in most instances

-Weeds on the sides, and dangling brush/raspberry bushes/etc need to be cut back


Food plot work (two existing plots that are mostly flat, and 1/3-1/2 acre in size, and have my eye on one area on a slope that is maybe an acre in size)

-Right now, they've grown weeds, so the weeds need cut off, I need to spray/kill them, and then I need to break it up and prep it. 


New trails/shooting lanes (brush mowing/cutting)

-Pretty self-explanatory, this is clearing areas that are current brushed in. 



There are two other hunters who have compact diesel 4wd tractors. One guy has a disc, and both have towed finish and brush mowers. The guy who has a disc also has a loader on the front of his tractor. I think he has a Massey-Fergusson, somewhere around 20hp. The second guy's tractor is a Kubota diesel, but I don't know the HP. 


Anyway, after all that....


1- What can I reasonably expect to be able to do with my Simplicity? The reason I even ask is because all three of us are busy, and getting time to do the work is tough, so anytime I have free, if I can load up my tractor and get something done without having to coordinate with them, that helps me a lot. 


2- What implements could/should I look for to hit these jobs above? I also need to install a garden for my wife at home, too. 



Pretty new to all this, so I'm full of questions. Sorry. :)

Edited by tddeangelo, September 20, 2016 - 08:23 AM.

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#2 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 09:06 AM

Keep in mind that the Simplicity is a garden tractor. It can do alot of work but it has limits or you will damage it. It can mow and do an excellant job when the deck is working right. It can till a garden, blow snow, and push dirt with a plow. It can not do real heavy work. If the big machines can get the road in good shape, the Simplicity should be able to maintain it. Your ideal tools for the road would be a mid-mount grader blade and a 48" sicklemower. Both are hard to find. Another possibility would be an Earthcavator which is a rear mount earth working tool. They are very scarce but work well. Make sure that your rear hitch is working right. A 4' York rake will help too.

There was a thread the other night where someone was getting a Simplicity with mower, tiller, and plow for $75. You need to look for something like that with the attachments that you want. BTW try to get a trailer for carrying the tractor. When you are working by yourself, driving up into the back of a truck is too risky. Good Luck, Rick


If you have a snow plow hitch on the front of your truck, you can rig up a York Rake that works ahead of the truck. They work nice on gravel roads if you keep the speed way down.

Edited by boyscout862, September 20, 2016 - 09:10 AM.

#3 tddeangelo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 09:38 AM

I use a trailer. I hate loading a tractor into my truck. I hate that a lot. 


I drive a Nissan Titan crew cab (3 kids in my family, need to move kids as much as anything else, lol), so the back end of the tractor would be out on the tail gate. Not a fan of any of that scenario. 


The trailer I have needs to be replaced, but that's a whole other story. It's functional for now. 


I absolutely don't expect to do all of this stuff with the Simplicity. I really just wanted to put out there all the stuff we wind up having to get done and seeing what I could think about doing with the Simplicity. When we need to knock brush over, the loader bucket on the Fergusson does most of that work, and chainsaws take what the tractor doesn't. 


I've tried for years to establish "work weekends" and "work days" on the place for all of us to commit time to be there, but it just doesn't work. So my hope is to do what I can with what I have and reduce what I need them to do so it's easier to get it all done. 


If I put a plow on the back of the Simplicity, is it reasonable to expect to turn over the sod on the food plots? Is that something I could do regularly (year after year), or is the tractor not going to tolerate that kind of work well?

#4 Eric OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 08:05 PM

Sounds like your buddies like the hunt and not the work. Maybe if you get the chores done you could ask for a donation for your hours of hard work! That donation would go along way twords the proper equipment you will want to own. And you will find with the proper equipment the time spent on the seat will be more fun than work! Just a hint there is a Gannon earthcavator for sale on the wisconsin craigslist for 700, a fair price if you negotiate him down a bit, this would go along ways towards making that GT a workhorse for you, also a sickle mower was listed for your tractor in wisconsin again. Both of them were near appleton I believe, I saw them last night, shipping with Fastenal is fairly inexpensive and convenient. Let me know if you need help locating the items I listed, good hunting!

#5 JBRamsey OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 09:34 PM

You don't need to turn the ground over for a food plot. You don't need to spray the weeds either. The disc will do all you need. Get your buddies disc and disc the crap out of it. Broadcast winter wheat or winter rye heavy on it. Add lime and 10-10-10 or triple 17 fertilizer. Lower the disc and cover it with an inch or so or soil. Wait for rain and the deer. Do this for two to three seasons at least. This will put nitrogen and green manure back in the soil. Each year the soil will be easier to work. After a few years plant a more permanent mix. Don't spend your money on those prepackaged seed mixes. Work with your local feed and seed to create a mix for your area. Use a mix that will mature at different times so you have the salad bar open as long as possible. Throw in a bunch of greens, turnips, oats, rye, wheat, etc. Red clover will come back year after year. I would think you are close to too late for this season. In the mountains of Virginia we used to seed in late August/early September. This gives plenty of time to get rain and get the seeds out of the ground in time to hunt.

The plots that you describe can be done in less than a day. You disc, seed, fertilize, lime, cover and walk away. One day a year is all you need to do with those. We used to do six plots about that size in less than a day.

If you really want to get after it, disc the middle of your logging road and seed it heavy. That can make for some very fun still hunting late in the season.

Have fun and good luck hunting.

#6 CanadianHobbyFarmer OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 09:45 PM

I am into Bolens tractors, so I am not sure what your machine is or is not capable of. If you want to do things like plowing or tilling food plots or grading trails though, you will need to get some weight on the rear wheels if you don't already have it. My main workhorse has a 10hp Wisconsin engine, locking rear differential, Ag tires, 65 lbs of added weight on each rear wheel and can pull a 10 inch plow through fairly heavy soil in 3rd gear low range. Without the weighted rear tires, it would just dig in then spin. Ag tires will give you more traction than turf tires. Keep an eye out for wheel weights or make your own. Liquid filled rear tires (aka "loaded tires ") is a relatively inexpensive way to add weight. Out of my 65lbs per tire, 40lbs is liquid in the tire and the other 25lbs are home made wheel weights.



#7 tddeangelo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2016 - 07:52 AM

Thanks everyone. 


The guys I hunt with aren't avoiding the work, what I've tried to do is get times when all of us can be there at the same time, and that is tough. Families, schedules, etc. So just trying to knock out stuff when I have time on my own that'll save the time they can put to it for stuff my tractor can't do, that's all. 


As for plots, I've never used the prepackaged mixes. The local mill has a guy working there who is really helpful on this stuff. We seeded heavy oats in the past with really good results, and it's dirt cheap. The germination rate is lower because they're feed oats and not seeding oats, but they're so cheap we just overseed it and it works great. 


Problem with the oats is that about the second serious frost is it for them. I planted a brasica mix and they kinda didn't care (the deer), lol. I tried triticale one year and they didn't touch it till snow fell. Then they wiped it out in two days, lol. 


I've tried brasicas mixed with clover, hoping to get the brasicas up quick and the clover established for the following year. Problem with clover we had was if we didn't mow it regularly....like keep it like a lawn....weeds took over FAST. 


And to be clear, I'm not talking about this coming season at all. Our bow season is almost a week old now. I'm thinking ahead on this one. 


Oh, and the tractor came with 60lb (each, got a pair) wheel weights and a dozer blade, so I have that to start out with. The dozer blade can probably help me push weeds away from road edges....one of the guys who has a loader on his tractor usually just pushes the edges on his way in and out to other tasks and that helps a lot. He also happens to do auto exhaust and tires as his business, so he could probably get me some ag tires for it, come to think of it.