homestead tractor?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Any recommendations for a homestead tractor/heavy equipment? Needless to say, don't have a ton of money to spend, but must start off doing alot of mowing, and clearing land (big hardwoods!! guess we will hire most of that out), later all the other small farm jobs.
-- alana potter (email@example.com), July 29, 2000
You can't beat a FORD N series for the homestead, 9N, 8N, 2N, they were made from 1939 to 1952. I have had several, just sold one with a bucsh hog a week ago. IH/Farmall Cub is another small tractor with lots of ass. Stay away from the Chineese and Russian tractors, cheap for a reason. Keep with the wide front end models.
-- Hendo (OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 29, 2000.
For about the first three years, maybe more, hire out all of the equipment needs. Only after you have your property almost to where you want it should you consider buying large equipment. If you decide a tractor is required, a choice might largely depend on how close service/parts are. Even though they are 50 something years old, Ford 8Ns are a great little tractor for a homestead. They are still available, parts are still available, and they will operate a fairly good range of equipment (bushhog, disk, single blade plow, small rototiller, box scraper, etc.). I have a commercial cow/calf herd and have a neighbor do my hay cutting, windrowing and making into square or round bales. Local Co-op spreads fertilizer. Far cheaper than owning that equipment. I have a Ford 4000 tractor and Ford 3000 backhoe. Probably could get by without the backhoe. Try to get by without things which rust, rot or depreciate.
-- Ken S. (email@example.com), July 29, 2000.
Ken sure is smart. Though we bought a lawn tractor with attachments, two of which sold today for a tidy sum,, the first year here. It was 12 years old then and is now 22, but its a John Deere.
Listen to Ken and wait for the big stuff. We were glad we didn't buy more.
-- Anne (HT@HM.COM), July 29, 2000.
I like the ancient farm tractors just because I can still remember as a kid Dad and others farming with them.
But if you are somewhat handy but broke, consider a "doodlebug". Its a homemade tractor out of old car and truck parts. My favorite version is an old rusted out CJ5 jeep with body removed, but drivetrain in usable condition. You dont even have to gear them down as is done with many of the 2wd doodlebugs since it already has a low range transfer case. Anyways just mount a seat on the frame and install a hitch and a hand throttle. To get fancier, you can replumb the brakes to give you individual wheel control over rear wheels (disconnect front brakes). And add a belt driven govenor on engine off old combine or skid loader. A 3-pt hitch is not too big of a deal to weld up (need to weld metal so axle stays solid to frame and springs no longer function) nor is finding an old belt driven hydraulic pump to power it.
I've never seen one of these with PTO although I recently ran across a hydraulically driven PTO (hydraulic motor with output shaft looking like PTO)in Burdens Surplus catalog out of Lincoln, Nebraska (kind of pricey though at over $300). Personally I'd just mount a separate engine on an old pull type brush hog to mow with, but then that depends on your skill and whether you can find a cheap usable engine. Especially if you are just trying to keep weeds in pasture down. Can even pull that with a pickup in granny gear. Doesnt sound like you would need PTO for much else.
For sure this is a project, but so is rebuilding an affordable ancient farm tractor. And you can get reasonable priced parts for an old CJ5 at AutoZone. Keep oil in engine and all gearboxes and one of these should last a long time. Of course a rebuilt antique farm tractor will have resale value. A doodlebug's worth tends to be only what owner gets out of it.
-- Hermit John (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 30, 2000.
I don't completely agree with Ken. You can find what are really antique tractors for a reasonable price and they are easy to work on and last forever. We have a JD A and a JD 60. The 60 we bought with a blade, scoop, auger and something else for $2500. By adding weights to the front we can move round bales with a round bale stabber. If you are doing mostly mowing, there are some good 12-20 horse tractors out there that could do a lot of the work.
Yes I would have the field work done by others, by either paying custom prices or doing shares for the first few years until you know for sure where you are going with the farm.
As for the hardwoods, have you thought about selling it? Around here there are loggers that come in and selectively log timber for mature trees and pay handsomely for it. Might be worth looking into.
-- beckie (email@example.com), July 30, 2000.
I second the motion on the Ford 8 N. We had one that did darn near anything we needed. Had a PTO. Ran on gasoline. I could operate it, even when I was a teenager (4' 10"/ 100#) Used it to plow, disk, harrow, plant, pull a one row corn picker, bush hog. Had a blade and a scoop and post hole diggers in two sizes - post hole and fruit tree. Used it to plant our commercial orchard. We ended up buying a Ford 4600 for our spray rig because of the enclosed cab (couldn't get a tight enugh seal on the home-made one we built on the 8N), but still kept the 8N for orchard mowing and odd jobs around the place. It sat for about 5 years in non-running condition and Pop was still able to sell it (with scoop only) for $1500. So it probably isn't an inexpensive tractor, but it is a darn fine little workhorse.
On the other hand, Unc has an M and a super M and an H (Internationals) that he keeps down here. We use the H for mowing and other small load jobs, and the M and Super M for soil prep and planting, scooping, blading and general farm work. Good tractors, all.
Hiring the work out is a definate possibility. Think about what you can have done early or late in the season - example: have your garden plowed and disked this fall, then mulch it over the winter. You can turn it with a fork by hand in the spring as you are planting it, if you can't get someone out when you need them. The only problem with hiring out all the work is getting it done when you need it done - a older, semi-but-mostly-retired farmer is what you need......most of them fellers are down in Florida now! Then again, if you don't know much about tractors, you are more than likely gonna get took to the cleaners when you go to buy one, unless you take someone with you that does know tractors.
What are you going to clear out the hardwoods for? Home site? Pasture? Garden? You may be able to get a timber buyer to come in and cut the trees and doze out the stumps. If they won't take out the stumps, you'd have the $$$ from the trees to pay for the dozing, and you'd have all the slash left behind to chainsaw up for firewood. If you can't find anyone to buy the trees for lumber, try to get someone to come in and cut them for firewood on shares - make sure they have a good reputation for safety in the community first!
-- Polly (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 30, 2000.
A logger I know couldn'r afford the heavy equipment used in his trade and instead bought a team of mules and harness at auction for less money. He found that they worked so good he doesn't want any heavy equipment ( the mules can go places a tractor can't)
-- Jay Blair (email@example.com), July 31, 2000.
I personally prefer the Ford 600 series, NAA, or the Jubilee if you can find one mostly because of the live PTO offered. That was one of the drawbacks(pain in the butt) of the N series Fords. They are dependable, have a 3 pt hitch, and are easy to work on and fairly easy to come by...but if you could, I'd hold out for a later model. I've had a couple 9Ns and the only thing I didn't like about them was the pto. Keep it in the 20-35hp range. Anything bigger and you are into overkill unless you are going to do some serious larger scale farming. An Allis Chalmers WD or WD45 are also good machines, slightly brutish, but strong. Only an opinion, nothing is fact until you experience it for yourself. ;-)
-- JimR (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 31, 2000.
If you can swing it, I'd recommend a Kubota. We finally did (in 1984) and got the "little" B6200, which still has a 15 Horse diesel. Took a few years to pay it off, but it has paid for itself many times over. It's small enough to fit into any corner of the barn, and tough enough (with 4WD) to skid any log you can get a 6 foot logging chain around, at least up to 16'. Till the garden in the spring, plow the driveway in winter. Bush-hog the trails and edges of the fields. Problem is, they almost never show up on the used market. GL!
-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), August 02, 2000.