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    Lazy Spread's Avatar
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    Tractor Size Calculator

    Hey guys, I'm looking for information on determining what size tractor (weight, HP, frame size, tire type, etc.) is ideal for a particular application.

    We own nearly 50 acres of premium Middle Tennessee hillsides & hollers. Two residences on the property, each with approximately 2 acre lawns. We grow Christmas Trees on about six acres of the remaining flattish ground. The rest is wooded. We do a fair amount of firewood business, skidding logs & hauling loads of wood, we move 5x5 rolls of hay for six-eight months/year for 4H steers, bushhog small clearings, and we give free hayrides to our Christmas Tree Farm customers... All with a Ford 1310 with turf tires that my dad & grandfather bought new around 1985.

    Future plans may include; larger herd or year round cattle, bigger groups on hayrides, more extensive hayride trails, increased firewood production, clearing small tracts for increased Christmas Tree production, and I would like to do more frequent small-scale timber harvests myself. Without having to hire local professional "loggers"

    What, in your opinion, would be the ideal tractor to carry out these tasks?

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Sounds like your property is similar to mine, I'm out here in Sumner county.

    If you want to move 5x5' round bales, realistically you're looking at a 5 series tractor. The size also makes them good for working in the woods, as they have great ground clearance and enough mass to remain more stable than some smaller tractors. The 4 series can move round bales, but you're right on the ragged edge of their capacity with bales this size on flat, even ground. Once you start working around and traversing slopes, IMO they're out of their league. They may be okay with round bales on the three point, but unless you're baling your own (which the 4 series is probably too small to do) I imagine you're going to have to unload them from a trailer with a loader.

    About the only thing on your list that you can't do with a 5 series is to mow the lawn. While being maneuverable for their size, they're big, heavy, and come with R1 tires- not to mention no mid mount mower is available for them. Perhaps keep the Ford for mowing and small hayrides, and have the big tractor for doing the more demanding tasks.
    Last edited by 56FordGuy; 09-21-2014 at 10:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Spread View Post
    Hey guys, I'm looking for information on determining what size tractor (weight, HP, frame size, tire type, etc.) is ideal for a particular application.

    We own nearly 50 acres of premium Middle Tennessee hillsides & hollers. Two residences on the property, each with approximately 2 acre lawns. We grow Christmas Trees on about six acres of the remaining flattish ground. The rest is wooded. We do a fair amount of firewood business, skidding logs & hauling loads of wood, we move 5x5 rolls of hay for six-eight months/year for 4H steers, bushhog small clearings, and we give free hayrides to our Christmas Tree Farm customers... All with a Ford 1310 with turf tires that my dad & grandfather bought new around 1985.

    Future plans may include; larger herd or year round cattle, bigger groups on hayrides, more extensive hayride trails, increased firewood production, clearing small tracts for increased Christmas Tree production, and I would like to do more frequent small-scale timber harvests myself. Without having to hire local professional "loggers"

    What, in your opinion, would be the ideal tractor to carry out these tasks?


    Your Ford 1310 is roughly the equal of the Deere 1xxx series machines so that's your rough frame-of-reference.

    At first read, my gut reactions was "5-series" but most of what you're doing is horizontal pulling and if you can do that with your 19-hp Ford right now, I'm not sure you'd need to go all the way up to a to a 5xxx.

    Moving hay bales would be MUCH easier with a significantly larger tractor but everything else you mention could be done with a 3- or 4-Series. So I guess I'd ask just how much hay work you're doing? And is there any plan to grow/bale your own hay?
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    I have a 3320 with the hydrostatic transmission which is 32 HP. I maintain 40 acres at my place and 1/2 mile down the road we have a family cabin on 50 acres. I use my tractor to plow snow. My driveway is 125 feet and our cabin is 1/2 mile. I cut and split at least 10 cords minimum of wood per year off my property. I use the tractor to haul it back to the house and my 3 point splitter to split the wood. I brush hog quite a bit of trails and about 5, 1 -2 acre fields. I've built food plots, new trails, and cleared some small areas into fields. I've done alot of dirt work with the loader as well. I have a loader, a set of pallet forks, back blade, box blade, tiller, log splitter, landscape rake, 3 point snow blower, and a hydraulic v-plow for the front. I'm looking to add a grapple and a chipper to my arsenal of toys.

    My tractor has done alot of work and it seems to handle all of this very well. If I had one complaint I wish the loader had a bit more lifting capacity when my forks were attached. Engine and PTO power wise it's more than enough. For my use this tractor is a nice size where it is not to small nor is it physically to large for areas I work around my property and in the woods.

    Lifting those hay bales you describe you may want to check into more to make sure you will have enough lifting capacity. I believe most of the 3000 series Deere tractors claim to lift around 1,600 lbs. For what you describe I would think any of the 3000 series would be good, maybe even something in the 4000 series if you have the money to spend. I would think the only reason to get the 4000 series is for more lifting capacity on the loader if needed.
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    I have a 4320 and i can unload 1 ton pallets of wood pellets off my pickup which is lifted no problem. That being said it was a hairy proposition without the tires being loaded. Once they were loaded it wasn't bad at all on flat ground. The hydraulics on the H180 enable this to be done at idle. Round bail over a ton?

    5 series is actually cheaper in a lot of cases then the 4 so i would consider it for sure. I like the options you get with the 4 and the fact of woods with a smaller footprint but that is my perspective.

    I am struggling comprehending that you did all this with the previous ford. especially the hayrides consider the weight of your current tractor.

    game on man anything above a three is going to be like Bentley status, haha
    - Justin

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    The 5 series is what I'd buy in your situation. I owned a 5205 with the 522 loader several years ago on a 40 acre tract in Georgia - great machine. Got almost what I paid for it when I sold it a few years later to relocate to OK. The price might just be less than the compacts - and it sounds like you can use the power of a 50HP MFWD tractor.

    Think you'll need a back hoe too? I love mine on my SCUT 1025R. Something to think about

    You already have a small tractor and see how much work you can get done with it - just imagine what you can do with a 5 series.

    Take your time and try out as many machines as you can and go with your gut. We love to help folks spend their money here at GTT.
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    Lazy Spread's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gallo View Post
    I have a 4320 and i can unload 1 ton pallets of wood pellets off my pickup which is lifted no problem. That being said it was a hairy proposition without the tires being loaded. Once they were loaded it wasn't bad at all on flat ground. The hydraulics on the H180 enable this to be done at idle. Round bail over a ton?

    5 series is actually cheaper in a lot of cases then the 4 so i would consider it for sure. I like the options you get with the 4 and the fact of woods with a smaller footprint but that is my perspective.

    I am struggling comprehending that you did all this with the previous ford. especially the hayrides consider the weight of your current tractor.

    game on man anything above a three is going to be like Bentley status, haha
    The Bentley comment nearly made me spew through my nose!
    Our hayride wagon is an old Willy's truck bed... Very small and light. We take one family at a time.

    I appreciate everyone's feedback. Especially the supporting reasons for your suggestion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Spread View Post
    Our hayride wagon is an old Willy's truck bed... Very small and light. We take one family at a time.
    The girl and I went to one of the local U-Pick apple orchards this weekend and they were hauling 30' hay wagons with 40+ people on them around with an 870. (That's be the equal of one of the 43xx tractors if I recall correctly!) They went up and down some pretty steep hills with ease. Those things don't need all that much HP to tow around.
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    My thought is my tractor weighs 4k without anything granted I have an 1100 pound loader and loaded tires which puts me at over 6k but you average 40 people at 160ish you end up with 6400 pounds plus the wagon. Up and down hills your pushing ur luck!
    - Justin

    2014- 4320 ehydro, PB, Elect scv, block heater, H180 HD bucket, Ballest box-concrete filled, frontier BB21, frontier subsoiler, titan 4500lbs forks, woods rm372 finishing mower, woods RD7200P finishing mower, York rake, ford 451 special rotary, 60" 3pt snowblower, country line log splitter

    2008 x300 42" deck

    2007 Dodge 2500 5.9 diesel 4x4, 4" MBRP exhaust

    1989 Ford model 1920 4x4, bush hog FEL exiled to the Adirondacks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    The girl and I went to one of the local U-Pick apple orchards this weekend and they were hauling 30' hay wagons with 40+ people on them around with an 870. (That's be the equal of one of the 43xx tractors if I recall correctly!) They went up and down some pretty steep hills with ease. Those things don't need all that much HP to tow around.
    A lot of the time it is not the power to pull some thing that a tractor lacks but the weight and breaking to stop a loaded hay wagon from pushing the tractor down hill.

    The 5 series came to mind when I read the original post.


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