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Thread: I'm Thinking About Purchasing a Small Ag. Tractor...Any Opinions?

  1. #1

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    Question I'm Thinking About Purchasing A Small Ag. Tractor...Any Opinions?

    My wife and I have wanted to purchase a new Ag. tractor for our little farm (10 acres) for about seven years now. We almost took the plunge back in late '97 however, that's when I decided I wanted to up-size my 4x4 to a larger one hence, the purchase of my '98. 5 Ram. I had also done exhaustive comparisons between all the smaller tractors on the market (below say 35 HP). My short list came down to Kubota and John Deere in that order. Both tractor brands are pretty well represented in my area too. I was (at first) mainly interested in the purchase of a John Deere 1070 back in '97/'98 until several friends of mine suggested I look at Kubota. Even though I'm primarily a "Buy American" kind of guy, it was pointed out to me that ALL John Deere tractors 1070 and below are made in Japan by Yanmar. I thought, sure ( ). The Kubota dealer even went so far as to tell me precisely where to look on the JD tractors to see all the "Made In Japan" stickers and casting marks. After a subsequent examination of said JD tractors, it was absolutely amazing, he was precisely right! He later told me that the only thing made in the US about them is the assembly. . . and that's it!

    Hmmm ( ). Then I decided to look at John Deere's larger 4x4 tractors. Made in USA however, the Diesel engine was made in France. And I just hate crap made there! [and that was well before 9-11-01 and the second Iraq war).

    Fast forward to now. I'm again contemplating the purchase of a small Ag. tractor. . . Kubota as well as John Deere. Since my initial investigation I have talked to owners/loyalists of both camps, one of which was the owner of Kiwi Fencing Co. which uses Kubota tractors exclusively. [btw, he used to have several JD tractors] I had a lot of time to talk to him because I contracted them to install all my posts (pile driven) for my 9-wire New Zealand fencing. Although he had a 45 HP as well as a 54 HP machine at my place over the course of several different weeks, they both performed very impressively.

    I guess what I want to know is which tractor brand is the best way to go any why? I'm currently leaning toward the Kubota however, nothing's etched in stone.

    Opinions? TIA

    BTW, one non-negotiable item, it has to be be a 4x4! As I have sloped property, live in Western Washington (i. e. , mud) and need to use the tractor all 12 months out of the year (part time of course), I have found this an absolute requirement.
    Last edited by John; 09-11-2003 at 11:16 AM.
    '98.5 QC 4x4 LWB Sport, DTT 93% TC & VB, DDP injectors, Air Bulldog induction hood and custom Dam Air plus waaaay too many trick options to list here! SMARTY s/n 1

  2. #2

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    I have both Kubota and JDs 4WDs in the size you are looking at and larger.

    Both are good but Kubota parts are way higher.

    My favorite in the size you are looking at is the 970 JD, in reality a Yanmar with a Yanmar engine. The seat area is much more spacious than a similar sized Kubota.

    You used to be able to buy them in non-green with the Yanmar name on them for much cheaper but I haven't seen one in quite some time.

  3. #3

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    Looked at New Holland??

    If you have a dealer nearby I would strongly encourage you to look at a New Holland TC30 or TC40. I have owned two TC40's and now have a TC45 with SuperSteer. All three tractors were 4wd, with quick attach loader, the TC45 also has a quick attach bucket that allows me to put any skidsteer tool on it (within reason). The SuperSteer is indescribable as to how much sharper it turns and thereby saves time doing work. The tractors are also hydrostat with two foot pedals, very comfortable seat, tilt/telescope steer wheel, controls all within easy reach. Highly recommend them. The first two I owned each got 300+ hours in one year and the TC45 will probably see quite a bit more than that as I know have a mowing contract for 44 acres mowed weekly with a 14 foot bush hog.

    New Holland. You won't be sorry!

    '06 3500 4x4 233,xxx
    '06 3500 qc 4x2 SRW auto, 650,xxx
    '05 3500 qc 4x2 auto, 651,xxx
    '05 3500 220,xxx
    '05 3500 293,xxx
    '04.5 3500 qc 4x2 6 spd, 779,xxx
    '01 3500 qc, 4x2 HO 6spd, 816,xxx "Black Sheep"
    '89 W250 auto, 264,xxx

    "Too many of the things I once knew I now know not" Me

  4. #4

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    Kubota #1 JD & Boomer #6

    When it came time for us to purchase a small 4X4 tractor I also was looking at the JD first. We used to own JD large farm tractors and I assumed the smaller tractors would be the same quality. Not so when I looked deeper than the color of the paint. Yanmar is a OK manufacturer but they seem as though there tractors are under built and quite light when compared to the Kubota. As far as the french engine in the JDs I also di not trust french engeneering. We purchased a 2850 Kubota (30 hp) and have been very happy with it. We have a loader and backhoe on it and it is a very nice and fuel efficen tractor. Remember Kubota is the only manufacturer that actually sells the tractors they build. The support from Kubota is very good. I have talked to the fervice reps in our area and they are very well schooled on the products they represent. I have not followed the newest line of tractors Kubota is building but if they are just a bit close to the quality of our 14 year old tractor you will have a winner.
    2013 3500 DRW, Automatic RE,4:10 gears, CM flatbed, 74 gal Transferflow tank in bed Big black, .
    04 Larame 3500 DRW ,SOLD THE 04.. Was a sad sad day.
    1972 IH 1066 pulling tractor
    2011 Platinum-Outlaw GN trailer.
    HONDA ST 1100

  5. #5

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    Second the New Holland.

    I got mine in '95(actually a Ford).

    I have a 1620, about 700 hrs and absolutely no problems(other than the wheels on the 6' mower deck). No problems with engine or drive train. I use mine for mowing, plowing, and discing.

    Reasons I picked this over John Deere was:

    1) max torque reached at 2500rpm as opposed to Deere's 3300.

    2) three point hitch capacity much greater than Deere's. (don't remember numbers here, but it was significant)

    Reasons I picked it over Kubota:

    1) Kubota didn't offer tractor this size(30hp) in hydrostatic drive

    2) price

    Numbers above are from memory.

    I test drove all three. I came real close to getting the Deere, but I just didn't like running the engine at such a high rpm. Deere offered me a great deal, too. I don't know if the numbers are still the same, but I would definitely check them out.

  6. #6

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    Valves, I'll take twelve.

    1995 2500 4x4 Parked HTB2 and stuff
    1998 2500 4x4 12v Quad Sport SB

    Mid-Tenn TDR

  7. #7

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    John, I'm somewhat in the same boat as you. Next spring I'm building an indoor arena/storage barn and would like to get a small tractor to disc the arena as well as manure patrol, plow snow, etc, etc. I'm leaning toward all above said brands, and will likely buy used. Somebody listed this page on another thread recently for tractor classifieds:

    I've seen a few good deals on there, just too far from me to be worthwhile.

    One thing, I've used the small JD/Yanmar tractor to backfill a trench and I was unimpressed with it's weak motor and how light footed it seemed. I am more used to using skidsteers and if all I needed as a loader, I would just buy one of them.

  8. #8

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    well I'm like you. buy American. I bought a 77 JD. Love the tractor.

    I have had it for about 8 years and 0 problems. Yes the engine

    is made in Jap land. I bought this size because i was like you,

    only 11 acres. Then I wanted to add a front end loader. No can do. Won't support the hydrolics. Also it is lite. There are many times I need a heavier tractor to do the work. This one is fine for mowing grass and a little road work.

    My sugestion is figure out what you want and then buy bigger.

    Cheaper in the long run. This one is nice to weave among the trees and tight places and the grand kids can drive it. I haven't found any thing that will kill it. It just stops and spins the tires.

    Last year I though about upgrading it and I really liked the sloped hood on the New Holland. Good ergonomics and you can see everything. Alas they wouldn't give me squat for my tractor.

  9. #9

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    If you don't mind driving to Montana this was in today's paper. I do not know the selling party

    '99 Kubota tractor L3010 (32HP), 4WD, diesel, like new. Only 196 hours w/LA481 Front loader, 3pt hitch, back & mid pto's + back blade, deck mower, post hole digger, rotary spreader, detachable forks, & harrow. Complete pkg, incl dual axle trlr, $17,500. 406-822-7213

  10. #10

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    Exclamation Before you write that check.....

    You better look at some older JD's and IH tractors. . . You can buy a lot of tractor for less money which is truely AMERICAN MADE. First thing you have to ask yourself is what are you really going to use this tractor for? Loader work? finish mowing? rototilling? brush mowing? snowblowing? There are lots of tractors around from the 60's and 70's that have been restored/rebuilt. Parts are readily available for tractors built in the 1940s!!. . . Checkout It is a very informative website. Lots of guys there can answer you questions based on experience. Models to check out are:

    IH 460, 560, 706, 806, 656, 756, 856.

    JD 2010, 2020, 2510, 2520, 2530, 2630series, 3010 series

    If you think those are too large you should look at the utility models.

    Kubota and the John Deere compacts are nice, but for the money you will be spending on attachments plus a new tractor will make the older iron look much more reasonable. .

    that's my nickel's worth. . . .
    Last edited by tractorman; 09-12-2003 at 09:42 AM.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the great replies! [keep 'em comin'!]

    I had looked at Ford/New Holland pretty extensively. . . at the Portland Ag. Show back in January of '98. In fact, that was when they were switching over to New Holland. I believe they are New Holland now. And yes, I saw their trick steering system that allows for very tight turns. . . awesome! I also like the sloped hood of their tractors too. However, I'm not real impressed with the reliability of their engines. On the plus side though, a neighbor friend of ours purchased a new, New Holland. I'm not sure of the horsepower rating although, I would guess at least 40 HP+. It's an awesome tractor, but more than I'm willing to part with (monetarily speaking).

    The Kubota and the John Deere tractors I was referring to were 32 and 28 HP respectively. . . and they were both on sale. If price were no object, I really like the Kubota L35 Commercial tractor. It is 35 HP, has an integral back-hoe, self-leveling heavy-duty bucket and their trick 8-speed GST (Glide Shift Transmission). It is also only one of two models that Kubota makes with a steel roof (i. e. , easy to spot on the lot of a Kubota dealership). The other commercial tractor I like is their B21 (21 HP) with the hydrostat transmission. This is the one I've rented locally. It's a very sweet tractor for loading work (i. e. , off a pile of dirt, sand, or rock). . . and the only other Kubota model with a steel roof.

    But. . .

    I saw that these two tractors (Kubota and John Deere) were on sale and thought that the buy-in looked pretty favorable. BTW, I think the Kubota model on sale is the exact same model as the one in the advertisement illflem posted. Priced $2k more but it has a back-hoe attachment.

    BTW, I would be using the tractor to move gravel, sand and rock, moving firewood and digging more post holes, cleaning out sheep and llama pens as well as tilling the waste. I would also use it to groom our driveway and road as well as cut peripheral grass (that I can access with a bush hog), and use it to aid in spraying chemicals on my fence line. Currently, I have a Polaris 6x6 ATV that helps with some of these things. I know the 6x6 is faster at moving quantities of wood and is adequate at transporting my 25 gal. sprayer and Optima Blue Top for this task however, no one can argue that a tractor is much better suited to what I need.

    BTW, anyone want to buy a 2000 Polaris 6x6 (500 cc Sportsman engine) with only 45 miles on it? Needless to say, it has never seen any pavement!

    PS: That is no typo. . . I only have 45 miles on that bad boy! After telling the parts guy at my local Polaris dealer that I thought he was going to slip the sh*it out of me for neglecting my riding privileges!
    Last edited by John; 09-12-2003 at 08:08 AM.

  12. #12

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    More info

    Here's another link for more information on late model tractors.

    Sounds like you're hooked on a new model. I would be too, if I had the cash to spend. I would definitely get front wheel assist if I was running a loader with smaller tractor. . just don't have enough traction.

    Some other FYI stuff:

    I'm sure you already know that the "McCormick" name is back-not exactly CNH anymore.

    Case-IH is also bringing the "Farmall" brand back as a new compact tractor line (20-40 HP) early next year. They should be similar to the MX and CX series. .

  13. #13

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    The idea behind purchasing "new" is that I tend to take far better than average care of my stuff and prefer to maintain things that way from new. It seems every time I purchase something used it comes back to bite my in the *****! Also, with sale prices and dealer financing lower than I can even obtain through my credit union, well, it just makes better sense (IMO).

    A factory warranty is nice to have too!

    [so long as I don't BOMB the darn thing!]

    I would like to state that I'm still open minded about any of the small ag. tractors. I guess the "deal" and the financing (i. e. , carrot) dangling in front of me is very tempting. However, I'm still not 100% certain that I will buy right now as I'm still reasonably concerned about the overall outlook of my employment in the future (read: Boeing. . . need I say more? )

    Thank you for the links tractorman.
    Last edited by John; 09-12-2003 at 11:24 AM.

  14. #14

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    I understand your reasons for buying new. . with all the hours you guys put in at Boeing. . . you may not have much time to play on the weekends, and who wants to fix a tractor when the've got work to do. . . Or if things are slow at work and you have to take an unexpected vacation, you might have a lot of free time to tinker. . .

    Today's new tractor prices drive me nuts. . . especially when you can buy an older unit (with all the bells and whistles) that has been overhauled/restored for less than half of what the new ones cost. . so for 5-8 grand you can get a really, really nice tractor loader combo(no china junk!) Dealer support goes along way too. Lots of guys with acreages here in the midwest keep an old Farmall, JD or Allis around for pushing snow, loader work, garden plowing/cultivating, brush mowing, post hole digging. . Those tractors are a dime a dozen, and they won't break the bank to repair. But I don't know what kinda of land you're on, so choose something that fits. Good luck with whatever color you buy.

  15. #15

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    Tractor JD vs Kbo

    I sold my Kubota L345DT with front in loader, hard cover. For what i purchased it for 8K. Purchased a JD 4400 4x4 with loader. MY advise. Get the largest tractor you can afford, with the largest bucket. You will love a bucket due to all the things you can do with it. I Cut a hole in top of mine at center, installed a chrome tow hook. with my ever handy chain, i lift things from telephone poles to 6. 2 diesels. So far it works. Lusting after Kbo, L35. Kbo parts. I found here in texas i used the dealers around Dallas called Zimmerman (sp). They did orders over phone, or email. fast turn around. Dealer in San Antonio (closest) took most of a month for parts. Have to admit casting an eye at New Holland/ford. Drive by them on way to and fro work. Back to the larger tactor, when you try and work the land, you must have the power to really use professional size dics, harrows, etc. the small equipment really doesn't do that good of a job. i have 600 acres in frt and behind me that is farmed for del monte. You should see the huge 6x6 Jd that works them over.

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