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Hey guys and gals. My Name's Joey. I've been reading and researching tractors and options for well over a year off and on. The wife finally agreed to let me finance a tractor and as such I want to make sure I make the best decision. I am now about a month out from purchase and would really love some advice.

We live in Talladega County Alabama. My wife's grandparents have 15 acres and are giving us roughly 4 acres, mixed wet lowland and wooded areas with a field. I've spent the last 3 years clearing privet by hand and burning it. I've cut down roughly an acre of it so far and have MANY 4' tall stumps (that are of course growing) that I'll need to dig up, these are the ones I couldn't pull up by hand or with a chain on my Honda Pioneer 700.

I will need to put in a dirt road that crosses two streams one of which I want to redirect. I have MANY stumps to dig up, will dig out a retention pond, move logs to a portable mill to be cut, etc. I plan to build a Garage / Wood shop that will also function as my home office using mostly wood off the property.

I have a Z355e so I have no need for a mid-PTO. My main concern is getting a tractor that is large enough to get the job done. I plan on at least getting Loader with grapple, backhoe, rotary cutter, box blade, pallet forks, and MAYBE a rotary tiller. I think a 3 series will be the right size for me, the 370b seems like a capable enough backhoe. Would the 3025e have enough grunt or should I invest in more HP?

I'm thoroughly indecisive right now, lol.
 

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If you don't need the MMM, that means you probably won't be taking the loader off often if at all, I would think a 3025e would do fine for that. Get your tires ballasted, and if you are going to be doing a bunch of grading work, a hydraulic top link is worth its weight in gold.

The one downfall of the 3025e seems to be weight, it's a little light, but if you are aware of that going in, you should easily be able to account for that, I think it would work very well for what you described.

Be careful at the dealership that you don't sit on one of the R models though, you might just leave with it......
 

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If you don't need the MMM, that means you probably won't be taking the loader off often if at all, I would think a 3025e would do fine for that. Get your tires ballasted, and if you are going to be doing a bunch of grading work, a hydraulic top link is worth its weight in gold.

The one downfall of the 3025e seems to be weight, it's a little light, but if you are aware of that going in, you should easily be able to account for that, I think it would work very well for what you described.

Be careful at the dealership that you don't sit on one of the R models though, you might just leave with it......
That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.

Although it does seem to have better lifting capacity and better hydraulic flow (almost double!).
 

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That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.

Although it does seem to have better lifting capacity and better hydraulic flow.
The 3R is a much more capable machine than the 3e. You might pay for some things you don't think you need, but the things you do need may completely justify your purchase. I have the 2032R, large frame, and it outweighs the 3e.

The one thing I have found, make sure you get EVERY option that you want when you order, adding them later can be more expensive, and they can't be wrapped into financing later. I will be going back in the next year and adding the rear SCVs, because while I thought I wouldn't want/need a hydraulic top link, I definitely want it now.
 

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That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.

Although it does seem to have better lifting capacity and better hydraulic flow (almost double!).
There is much more to the R class than a mid pto. I think it depends on your budget first and what/how many implements you plan on getting now or down the road. A 3R has a significant increase in hydraulics, weight and every other capacity you can think of. Just some food for thought.
 

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That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.

Although it does seem to have better lifting capacity and better hydraulic flow (almost double!).
I would suggest sitting on both machines, they layout difference between the R and E is noticeable. When I was shopping for a 4 series I sat on the M and then the R just to see if saving $3500 was worth it, and the layout wasn't as comfortable. The seat on the M was also not adjustable without purchasing an option, so that ruled out the M line as the wife has short legs.

It sounds like you will be spending a fair amount of time on the machine in the next few years. It might make sense to spend a little bit more for the creature comforts up front and be more comfortable for years to come. I would also suggest ordering the extra hydraulics that you think you might need in the future as they are way cheaper when bought with the tractor, than adding them on at a later time.

As the owners of my company would say when they spend extra money on excavators and loaders to get the heated and cooled seats, and other creature comforts. A little extra paid upfront is short money for someones happiness who's new office has all the bells and whistles.
 

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What's your budget? It sounds like most of what you want is loader/backhoe work. If that's the case than HP isn't so much a worry as lifting and digging power is. If it were me on 15 acres with that kind of work ahead of me than my minimum tractor would be a 3R with the 320r loader and a 485a backhoe. The loader and backhoe on the 3r is going to be substantially stronger than whats available on the 3e series tractors. That said, if you're budget can swing it than I would even look at stepping up to a 4M. Price wise they'll run similar to a 3r but you'll get a heavier tractor, a stronger loader, but the same backhoe.

Rick
 

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Digging stumps is a great job for a mini-excavator, rent one for a week at a time. They also do a good job of grading since it's a tracked machine.
 
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I started looking at the 3025e. Than I moved to the 3038e and I ended up with the 3039r. You can’t even compare the two. Just with the suspension seat and tilt wheel make it way more comfortable. It’s night and day difference between the two. I also liked the fact of adding the third function and the control for it is right at your thumb. I bought the CTA grapple. It works awesome and the fact that you don’t have to reach behind you to pull a lever for the third function or have to flip a diverter switch. No regrets whatsoever in going with the 3039r. Plus the John Deere green chassis and engine looks sweet! Haha
 

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Good luck on your tractor pursuit. First thing I'd do, is purchase some Remedy and spray that privet. Let it die back and then remove. It is going to keep coming back. Your extension agent can give you some help on this. As I have said in another thread, you can mix with water or diesel. The diesel will cause quick burn back and since it has a sheen to it, it will help you identify the plants you have sprayed. It will kill anything(bush, tree) it comes in contact with, so don't spray in the fall line of your trees. Good luck.
 

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I started looking at the 3025e. Than I moved to the 3038e and I ended up with the 3039r. You can’t even compare the two. Just with the suspension seat and tilt wheel make it way more comfortable. It’s night and day difference between the two. I also liked the fact of adding the third function and the control for it is right at your thumb. I bought the CTA grapple. It works awesome and the fact that you don’t have to reach behind you to pull a lever for the third function or have to flip a diverter switch. No regrets whatsoever in going with the 3039r. Plus the John Deere green chassis and engine looks sweet! Haha
I have the third function valve on my 3025E and it's right on the joy stick, I don't have to reach around or flip a diverter switch.
 
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That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.

Although it does seem to have better lifting capacity and better hydraulic flow (almost double!).
I have the 3025E and while I would have liked an R model, I decided I didn't need to spend the 5k on creature comforts. I had never had them with my previous tractor so....what you have never had you can't miss. The seat is actually pretty good for not being a suspension seat (I have a terrible back too and would get rid of the tractor if I couldn't sit in it) and the location of the joystick is not an issue either. Those are the two biggest ergonomic issues I see brought up with the 3E tractor. My last tractor, 2210, had the joy stick on the floor like the R and I thought going to the E configuration may cause issues, but it doesn't. Just have to get used to it.

Get the best tractor you can afford. If you are just working the 4 acres either the 3E or 3R will be the right size. If you absolutely have to remove the stumps then make sure you buy a stump bucket with your purchase. My neighbor has one for his Kubota. He also just bought a PTO powered stump grinder because removing stumps is a time consuming process. He removed all the stumps where he is going to build but is using a grinder on areas he is clearing but not putting a building on. The PTO power grinder makes short work of stumps, no matter the size. I would consider it and then you also have a side gig available.

My only recommendation is make a reality check of your PTO HP needs as the FEL capacity is the same across the E model line. The R model will have more capacity so think hard about that fact. The 3025E has 19.9 hp PTO rating. That will limit you in the size of PTO powered attachment like a rotary cutter. My tractor has been perfect for what I use it for, to maintain 18 acres of land (about 16 of it woods). The majority of the work I use it for is fork lifting pallets and stuff out of my truck, grapple work (moving dead fall, building trails), Front End Loader work (mostly just dirt). If you can afford the bells and whistles of a 3R and you think it will help you get your work done more efficiently then spend the money. If not, save some coin and go with the 3E. If you need more HP from the E get the 3038 and be done with it. You can't go wrong with either model is my opinion. Good luck with the buy.
 

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before someone says to hire a contractor to do all the work. (I'd rather spend the money on the machine to do it myself, even if it takes me 10 times longer.)
That doesn’t sound like us. Most of us think like you. Both are good choices and I would certainly drive both first. In the end if you decide you like the larger one then you have to decide if the first 30k is any less important than the last 5k.

Something else to consider. Would a skid loader be a better choice?
 

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Pretty good advice so far.

I have a 3039R with pretty much all the implements you have on your list. I don't have a tiller yet.

I am in my 4th year of using it to clear, clean-up & maintain 16 acres.

I cannot recall one time that I have said, dang I wish I saved the extra dollars.

One of the biggest differences the 3R has over the 3E that hasn't been mentioned is a 3 range transmission. Doesn't sound like much till you've had one. Unless it is just a lawn mower, I'll never own a tractor without at least 3 ranges.

Someone mentioned getting a stump bucket. The smallest bucket they make for the 375A / 385A backhoe is 9". I have been looking for a stump bucket for a while. Unless you go to a custom builder like Mudd's, there isn't one out there that I've been able to find. I have a 9" and a 12". While I'd rather have a ripper for stumps, I've pulled several with the 9" no problem. For culverts, ditches, etc, you'll want the 12"

Something that wasn't on your list is a toothbar. There are two styles. I have the Piranha bar. It works really well on dirt and digging and clears brush and saplings with ease.

Getting the 3rd function is a no brainer. Adding 4th & 5th up front would be a good idea.

A tiller wide enough to cover your tire tracks will eat up some HP. I would size the tractor HP based on the biggest load you're going to put on the PTO. There is no simple upgrade to add PTO HP later.

It hasn't been said yet, so I'll just mention - Buy Once, Cry Once.

Good luck in your search. Enjoy the quest and don't get lost in the swamp.

Hope to see you posting in the LCUT thread soon.
 
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Good luck on your tractor pursuit. First thing I'd do, is purchase some Remedy and spray that privet. Let it die back and then remove. It is going to keep coming back. Your extension agent can give you some help on this. As I have said in another thread, you can mix with water or diesel. The diesel will cause quick burn back and since it has a sheen to it, it will help you identify the plants you have sprayed. It will kill anything(bush, tree) it comes in contact with, so don't spray in the fall line of your trees. Good luck.
I am not going to use chemicals. After much thought on the matter I decided a few years back to do a physical removal. I've been actively researching for years on privet control etc, considered stump-cut and treat method but ultimate decided against it. I've had a TON of success with cutting the privet about 4' up and then burning it all. A lot of the time I can use leverage to rip out the stumps by hand. The tractor will help with the ones I can't get.
 

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Thank you all so much for the advice and the kind words.

I'm taking my zero turn up to Ag-pro today for it's 100 hour service and to replace a broken deck belt so I'll test drive some of the 3's and get a feel for em. The local dealer doesn't have ANY R's in stock. I don't want to regret getting too small of a machine so I may go ahead with the 3038, but it's also going to depend on what kind of a deal they'll give me. I know they have quite a few nice package deals right now.

I may just go ahead and hold off on the backhoe for now and see what I can get done with a root grapple instead. I can always rent a mini-ex for a weekend if I come to the point of really needing it.

I am looking to get a tooth bar for SURE. It's a no-brainer as it helps break up the surface area of the bucket and helps dig into the earth. I also bet that if I hit the privet high enough up I can just push the damn things over and dig em up like I did with a skid-steer once.

I have thought about the stump grinders but they're damned expensive. It just depends on how many stumps i end up with.

The wife told me if I don't buy the backhoe and just rent a mini-ex she's okay with me buying a Woodland Mills HM130MAX, so I may just do that so I can have another toy.
 

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That is precisely my concern. I've read so much about the creature comforts of going with an R. the 3033R seems like an awesome machine but with no need for the MMM or any snowblower etc attachments is the 5 grand worth it? I can't seem to find justification for it.
Last weekend I moved 15 yards of gravel with my 3046R when it was 90 degrees outside. I was cool and comfortable. Darn right it was worth it.
 
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