View Full Version : Need Some Advice!

60 acre
03-15-2012, 07:25 PM
Hi all, I am new to the site. I joined because I need some advise. I have been trying to buy a tractor to take care of my property. First some background. I live in Northeast Pennsylvania. I have a 60 acre property with an old farmhouse, barn and a few outbuildings. I mow about 6 acres include 1fairly steep acre of hillside, plow snow from a stone parking area and driveway in the winter. I have a stream through my property which floods often. There is wooded mountainland behind me and I get all the runoff. I have lots of creekside and water culverts to maintain. I have rented full size backhoes in the past but I need to have a machine at my disposal. Getting hard to go like heck for 2 days with a rental and be done. We live hear for about 12 years. I told my wife we needed a good size machine within 10 years of moving hear. I have maintained the property with a Craftsman mower w/a 60" deck and a blade for snow. I have had 2 back surgeries in recent years. While I am ok I certainly can't do what I once could.

I am looking for something hopefully no more than $22,000. I want a mid mount mower, 60" would be fine. The hill makes 4WD a must. I also want a loader to help with choirs. The problem comes in when I want a backhoe included that is bigger than someone might use in a sandbox. I have 2 streams on my property and need the backhoe to help maintain it. I have looked at many utility tractors and all see to fall short. Many have recommended a full size used backhoe or a used mini excavator and a seperate mower. I love the easy change offered by the new John Deere utility tractors but the backhoe is too small and the price is too big.

I can't be the only person looking for this type of machine. Any advise is appreacited!! Thanks!

03-16-2012, 07:37 AM
Welcome to the forum!

Have you looked at the offerings from Kioti? It's been awhile, but I'm thinking something like a CK30 may do what you want, in the price range you're at. The one thing I'm not sure it can do is a mid-mount mower. A 3PH mower may be an option but you'll need to swap as needed with the backhoe.

03-16-2012, 07:54 AM
Been there. Tough spot, and can seem hopeless at times.

I hate to break it to you but I suspect there is no machine in that price range that will do all you want. Not what you want to hear, but from my experience that is how it is.

I have 50 acres in SE Ohio. My terrain sounds much like yours. Very hilly. small creeks throughout. I have some high water to deal with but that is the Ohio river which is huge and on the back end of my property. I went crazy trying to decide what kind of tool would allow me to mow, brush hog and generally maintain all this property. What I would suggest is much the same path I took after mulling it over, posting on tractor forums and shopping around for two years while I was saving my pennies. Go with as large of 4wd tractor as you can afford with Front end loader and a Rear Finish Mower. This will get you in the game and most likely do 90% of what you want. For the backhoe requirement I would weigh your options carefully ...but renting on occasion to do just those chores might be the best route or buy a used trac hoe a few years down the road after you've had the tractor awhile. To me, a dedicated hoe is much more useful and will have better reach than any tractor mounted hoe. Nothing at all wrong with a tractor mounted hoe for smaller jobs but for maintaining creek beds you need a longer reach and you can't get that with any tractor in your price range. I'd guess 7' depth (which is close to straight down) would be the most you could get. So your reach would be less than that.

No matter what brand tractor you get, it will amaze you at what it can do compared to your old craftsman. If like me, I found I could do things I never dreamed of with the front end loader that negated my need for a back hoe. Don't get me wrong, I still have hoe envy, but I am getting by without one mainly cause I can't afford one and mine is more a want than a need.

I'm thinking you could get a nice 35hp or maybe a 40 hp tractor for that price. Sit in as many seats as you can and put em through the works. All dealers will allow you to at least drive em around the lot and get the feel of the controls. Ergonomics make a big difference when you are going to be mowing 6 acres weekly. You want something you are comfortable on.

Why a Rear finish mower instead of a mid mount mower? Cheaper for one. Plus you don't have to mess with taking the mid mount on and off. A mid mount mower will cut your ground clearance down so that when you are brush hogging or doing loader work on your hills / creek beds you will have to take the mower off so that you don't tear it up. As long as you still can use your craftsman for the up close type stuff a rear mount finish mower will handle the other stuff with ease, and it will save you 500 to 1000 on your budget.

Those are my thoughts for now. Please feel free to ask more questions or for more detail on any of this. I hope we can help get you in a seat that you will be happy with for year to come. :thumb:

03-16-2012, 09:45 AM
I was once some what in the same situation, so I bought a CUT(compact utility tractor) with BH, it worked okay and did what I needed. I now have a CUT and a mini excavator and would never think of going back to the other. You could find both machines within the budget range you mentioned and IMO you'd be a much happier camper. An excavator will run circles around a BH any day and are way handier when it comes to water ways and such. Another plus is being able to pull a trailer with the CUT while loading said trailer with the ex. If you cut wood you'll be surprised at how much a mini ex can help. A great site to find equipment to purchase or just get a good idea of costs is machinery trader, just put in what you looking for, narrow your search to your specific needs and began the searching. IMO BH's are okay but if ease of operation, production of job, and simplicity of operation are wanted you'll never beat an excavator. Mini excavators are out there and their pricing is much cheaper then years past, way easier for the DIY'er to own, and a very usefull piece of machinery. Even a 3500lb ex will out work a larger tractor backhoe setup. Just something else to consider.

03-16-2012, 09:49 AM
As you go into bigger tractors, the harder it'll be on your lawn. Heavy tractors leave ruts unless your ground is really hard/dry. Tire selection will also make a difference.

03-16-2012, 09:54 AM
Sorry Doc, I just noticed your post suggesting the same thing, tractor and mini-ex combo. I believe if the OP doesn't mind going used he/she could find both machines within his/her budget. There are a lot of good pieces of machinery out there going fairly cheap, one just has to look a little. Guy down the road was looking for a mini ex, he saw one he liked and stopped to see what the deal was. Turned out he bought a mini ex trailer and SS all for less then 18,000.00. I have seen the equipment and have to say he made an awsome deal. The mini and trailer would have been worth that much alone.

03-16-2012, 12:34 PM
As you go into bigger tractors, the harder it'll be on your lawn. Heavy tractors leave ruts unless your ground is really hard/dry. Tire selection will also make a difference.

Good point Brian. :thumb: very true. You would probably be deciding between R1's (Ag tires; most aggressive) and R3's (Industrial Tires). I went with Industrial since i wanted it for mowing and working the back 40 and they have done okay for me. They are not the best in mud though. Last season i was very frustrated with my tires as I could not make it to one part of my property due to hanging up in the mud. I was ready to sell / trade for Ags then. After seeing the cost of such a switch I am making due with my industrial tires.

Sorry Doc, I just noticed your post suggesting the same thing, tractor and mini-ex combo. I believe if the OP doesn't mind going used he/she could find both machines within his/her budget. There are a lot of good pieces of machinery out there going fairly cheap, one just has to look a little. Guy down the road was looking for a mini ex, he saw one he liked and stopped to see what the deal was. Turned out he bought a mini ex trailer and SS all for less then 18,000.00. I have seen the equipment and have to say he made an awsome deal. The mini and trailer would have been worth that much alone.

Good points 20/20, no need to apologize. I was only considering a new tractor but I have to agree with you that if he also considered used he might be able to get both and stay within his price range. Good thinking. :tiphat: :clap:

03-16-2012, 12:39 PM
One more thing that I neglected to mention in my earlier posts. Transmission. If you do not already have your mind made up on the tranny, you should at least consider hydrostat. I have no problem using a clutch and shifting but when I bought my kubota i tried out hydro and liked it. Course other guys on the forums were raving about it. For a lot of stop and go, or changing direction, like loader work, hydro can't be beat. Even on hills I like it better. Hope this helps.

60 acre
03-31-2012, 06:26 PM
Hi Everyone!
Thanks so much for all the good ideas and things to consider. I am definately going hydrostatic. That is one thing I know. I appreciate the thoughts on the mini excavator. That is something we have been talking tossing around for the past few months. Right now I am weighting 2 options:
1) Kubota 2620 w/turf tires, 364 loader 6.5' backhoe and 60" mmmower. 2)JD 2520 w/200cx loader, 46 backhoe (specs say 6.5' digging depth and 62" mmmower. dealers both have good reps. prices are within $1k both offering 0% 60 months. I got the impression there is a little wiggle room on the price of the kubota but I did not get that impression on the JD. I would say I need to make a decsion in the next 2 weeks or I will have to give in to my wife's begging to buy goats to eat the grass :-)

Still concerned w/the size and ability of the backhoe attachment. As soon as i post I am going to take the advise given and search for a used excavator. The backhoe is about $6,500k on each machine. Wondering if i could score a used excavator for less than 10K. All lots of money and I do fear the backhoe will be too small as many have suggested. Feeling the pressure of summer comming, I can hear the grass growing. Any additional thoughts or more opinions between these two models is appreciated. A big plus to the JD is the drive over deck. As I may have said before I had 2 back surgeries and have no kids to help. Lifting those mower decks is not easy. I am only 42 but my back does not know that! Thanks again, i look forward to your posts. Dean

03-31-2012, 08:40 PM
I know nothing specific about those two models, but do know a drive over deck would make a mid mount mower much more doable. :thumb: Good luck with your decision.

60 acre
04-08-2012, 07:31 PM
Hi everyone, I hope you had a blessed Easter. I wanted to post a thank you to everyone who has commented on dilema in choosing a CUT. I believe I have made a decision. I am going with a new JD 2520 with a 50" loader, 6.5' backhoe w/13" bucket and a 62" mmmower deck. All quick hitch easy on an off. The deck can be driven over for easy on/off. It is 26 or 28 hp diesel. Can't remember for sure right now. Oh yeah, good point Doc, i too like hydrostatic and it is. The price tag is a little more than the other brands but it I think it is the best machine to do everything i want it to handle. I am not commited to it until the backhoe comes in next week and i give it my final approval. None of the local JD dealers have one in stock. So, if anyone has any downside comments to this machine please share them this week if possible.

I have done lots of research. Looked at Kubota, Kioti, and JD. Also talked to the Massey dealer but never made it on site. The deal is 4 years 0 interest with JD but the dealer said since I was putting down a decent down payment he would do 5 years 0 interest. Why not spend someone elses money right?

Thanks again to all. Getting anxious to get my new tractor and any additional comments you guys have. This is a great site. ALL POSTS WERE HELPFUL so THANKS TO ALL!! Dean

04-09-2012, 08:18 AM
Congrats!!!! Sounds like you've found a winner. I look forward to pics of your new beast. I predict you will be amazed at all it will do. I know I was once I got mine home. It does so much more than I ever envisioned.

60 acre
04-29-2012, 06:57 AM
My tactor arrived yesterday. I have to say it is pretty awesome. Lots to learn. Had lots of other work that needed done yesterday but today I hope I can play around on it a little. I have to mow so I will get to drive it for a while today. I will post some pics soon. Thanks again to everyone for your input. It was all helpful. If anyone is selling a speader let me know. I want one but I hate to pay $600.

08-10-2012, 10:29 PM
Any update on your purchase?

08-12-2012, 03:04 AM
A rear end tiller works great to as you can chop it up then use fel......did that for years with my old power king tractor. Not as good as a backhoe but next best thing to it.


Big Dog
08-12-2012, 07:18 AM
I missed this ............. My buddy bought this CK27 with 7.5" Woods backhoe for right about what your looking at, he did purchase a boxblade with it that took it to a little over 23K. A rear finish mower would fill your bill. His land is comparable. Brett was looking at the subs early on but I talked him up to a larger frame compact/utility, he's glad he did. What you ask of a sub just ain't gonna cut it on your property.




60 acre
08-19-2012, 07:17 AM
Any update on your purchase?

Hi RetiredLE and hi to all,

I have had my JD2520 for the summer now and I do not regret the purchase one bid. Unfortunately, it has been a crazy summer and I have not gotten to do as much as I had planned. My wife has been ill and just got home from the hospital from bowel resection surgery so most of what I have done has been mowing but here is my review so far hope it helps someone.

The 62" midmount mower does a good job and was necessary to mow my steep hill. Never could have done it with the rear mount mower. The biggest features I enjoy are the 4wd and having the large loader. As many advised me you can do sooo much with a loader it is amazing. Dont know how I lived without it.

On the downside it is not as easy to switch attachments as I had hoped. The mower deck can slide when you try to drive over it. I have used a few bricks to make a small ramp to drive up on the deck. The backhoe is definately tougher to switch on and off than I expected. Certainly not the 5 minutes I was told. First time took me an hour. Now about 15 minutes to switch. I will admit I am not a mechanically inclined person so others may do better but you must line things up exactly to connect. Taking it off is easy.

As many had advised me the arm is pretty small and I am not sure it will do all I had hoped. That said, after 2 back surgeries it will surely do much more than I could do.

In summary, I did tons of research, to the point it was making my head spin. I got lots of GREAT advise on this site which was a great help!!. If I were making the purchase today I would buy exactly what I purchased. It was the most expensive of all machines but not by much. Although there are some challanges it is still the easiest by far to switch attachments of those I considered. I have huge plans for the fall. We had lots of flooding last winter so it will be put to the test soon. the biggest issue is trying to get done mowing 6 acres and find time to switch and use the bucket and have time to work with it before it is time to make the switch and mow again.

Sorry for the long post! Hope it helps.