I'm a city boy who bought an 18 acre property. I had logging done. The yard in front of my house is small, and there is a septic mound that is a bit steep, but can be managed. Other than that, I have 1500 feet of skid trails with grass and weeds that needs mowing. I also have a ton of tree top refuse that the loggers left behind, and a few large piles of 7-rock gravel to deal with.
Now here's what happened. I found what looked like a really good deal on an X749 tractor. It only has 89 hours on it, and it's in pristine condition, and has a 3-bag grass catcher on it. I could stick with this tractor, but my only choice for a bucket on the front is something called a Tractor Shovel. I was thinking a FEL would be nice to have, as this hilly, wooded property will always have some fallen tree limbs and such to deal with. So I was thinking the 1025R would be nice. However, neither the 1025R or the X749 can just take off into the woods, anyway.
This X749 has a lower center of gravity than a 1025R, that's nice. It's like a billy goat on the steeper terrain. The 4-wheel steering is nice. I don't really care about the grass catcher. The real downside to the X749 for me is the serious pain that taking off the deck would be, and the lack of a FEL. One question I have is whether the Tractor Shovel would be "good enough" for my purposes. I could move gravel with it, and probably push tree limbs out of the way, etc. It mows very nicely (62" deck). The lower center of gravity will feel better to me. On the other side, the 1025R has a drive-over deck so that I can remove it and drive in rougher areas. And the FEL is an obvious advantage. But the higher center of gravity is a downside, and it's likely to require a larger shed for storage than the X749. And it will cost more.
I think I can make the X749 work for the skid trails; they are smoothed reasonably well. I bought the X749 thinking I could put something on the front, and at first I was disappointed to hear the choices were limited, but the John Deere 54" Tractor Shovel (LP54000) may do what I need.
Has anyone used one of these shovels? It won't be all that a proper FEL is, but I'm wondering if it would give me what I need.
Beyond that, what are your thoughts about the X749 versus the 1025R, for a newbie like me, and for whom the majority of jobs will be mowing.