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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all!

I’m new here but have been reading the forums for some time now. I’m finally ready to purchase my first tractor and could use some outside opinions! Sorry in advance for the long post! Looking forward to hearing your responses!

Background:

My wife and I recently purchased a new house out in the country. The previous owners renovated the house but completely neglected the outside property. As it is, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We have about 4.5 acres, 1.5 acre of which we mow, and the other 3 acres are wild, overgrown fenced pasture. We have a good sized 4 stall animal barn and a 500’ partially paved driveway. Not many trees but the land has gentle rolling hills. The ground is very rough in spots from a combination of left-over tree root systems, large semi-buried rocks (boulders), old post holes, oddly placed ridges and dips, trenching runs for utilities, ruts, etc. Currently we mow it with my father’s old JD 145 garden tractor. It takes forever and because the ground is so rough it really sucks to mow with it.

Plans for the property and tractor use:
• Retain the ability to mow with a belly mower.
• Re-grade the land in the yard to level out all the rough spots. Pretty much the entire yard will have some sort of surface grading done at some point. It really is that bad lol.
• Re-grade the land right next to the house to fix some water runoff issues we have (This is a big project. Not big enough for a backhoe or dozer, but we will be moving A LOT of dirt around.)
• Dig out and redo the 250’ section of gravel driveway.
• Dig out, level, and regrade the perimeter and interior dirt floor of the barn to fix water runoff issues.
• Pull out old fence posts and dig new post holes. Likely the whole perimeter of the property.
• Bush hogging of the pasture.
• Tilling out and maintaining a large garden.
• We plan to have some livestock in a few years once our projects are done. Likely a small collection (herd, flock?) of goats and a meat cow or two. 4-H projects for the kids, etc.
• And of course, whatever else one can imagine might pop up on a small hobby farm lol.

Additionally, there is an adjacent 7-acre plot of land behind our house that we plan on buying as soon as we can talk the owners into selling it. It is also a wild, overgrown pasture with lots of small to medium shrubs and briars. That would bring our total land to just over 10-11 acres. No woods, so no logging or creating trails and stuff to worry about for now. When we get the additional land, we will expand the yard to about 3 acres or so, giving us more to finish mow.

What tractor?

Now to the fun part, spend my money! I’ve researched as much as my eyes would let me and have pretty much decided on JD. Good brand recognition, good local dealer support, great parts availability, best mower deck mounting, good ergonomics, etc. All the real farmers in my area use JD or Case and Case doesn’t make a CUT so… My second choice would probably be Kioti but the dealer is about 50 miles away and I don’t care for the manual labor deck mounting and the front exposed steering gear.

JD 1025R:
• + Good size, maneuverable.
• + Cheapest of my 3 choices, most money left over for attachments. Still have money left over after purchase.
• + Small enough to trailer with my current truck if I REALLY need to (I have a Ford Ranger, so even the 1025R is probably pushing it. No way will I be able to trailer the larger tractors.)
• + Popular. Depends on who you ask, but the 1025R and the similar Kubota SCUT are the top selling tractors in the class.
• - Small tires and lower ground clearance. Rough ride on rough ground.
• - Looks like a garden tractor on steroids.
• - Lacks the power and weight to run 5’ implements safely and effectively.
• - Limited CAT-1 hitch. Might have issues running a hole auger that I need.
• - Low(er) lifting capacity on both loader and 3-pt.
• -Might not be “enough” tractor once we have the full 11 acres and are using it for more farm-type stuff than just cutting grass.

JD 2025R
• + Larger tires and more ground height.
• + Better operator visibility.
• + More weight for more stability. Might be able to run certain 5’ implements.
• + Slightly more 3pt lift capacity
• + Looks more like a real tractor vs. 1025R
• - Same powertrain as 1025R with same limitations.
• - Same loader as 1025R
• - Costs about $2500 more than the 1025R but not much more capability other than bigger tires.
• -Most people seem to just skip the 2025R and get the 2032 or 2038. I’ve read this on the internet forums and have been told the same thing by two different dealers.
• - Won’t be able to trailer it currently.

JD 2032R/2038R
• + Even larger tires and ride height. Smoothest ride.
• + Enough power to run whatever implement I would need.
• + Looks like a real tractor. (We all know looks mean everything!)
• + Command Cut feature for the MMM.
• + More standard features that cost extra on the smaller tractors.
• + Much better hydraulics and lifting capacity vs the smaller tractors.
• + Won’t outgrow the tractor nearly as soon as I might a 1025R.
• - Cost. Either of these tractors blow my budget out of the water. I’ll be able to get the MMM and the FEL and that’s about it until later.
• - Size. Will be rather large and probably overkill for mowing the 1.5 acres of grass.
• - I won’t be trailering this bad boy until I can get a HD pickup. Which will be a while.
• - More potential maintenance issues in the future due to DPF and turbo (2038R).

The finance committee has approved up to $30K for this purchase. We can pay cash for it but will likely take advantage of the zero financing for the tractor and attachments so we can keep the money in the bank for emergencies.
I’d like to eventually have the following attachments (in order of importance):
• FEL (will purchase with tractor)
• MMM (purchase with tractor)
• Box blade
• PTO Tiller
• Bush hog (either rent or buy used)
• Land rake
• Post hole digger (probably just rent it)
• PTO generator

My thought process started at the 1025. But I really want a bigger tractor for the weight, height, stability, and loader capacity. So I went to the 2025. Realized it was basically the same thing as the 1025 without any more power or capability. Started looking at the 2032. Has everything I’m looking for as far as a tractor goes. Then saw that the 2038 has even more power and PTO HP for ONLY ~$1500 more. Thought to myself this is what I need. Then I saw in person how big it was compared to the 1025 and started second guessing myself, especially after seeing the difference in price. I thought man this thing is really big for a mower. Have to keep reminding myself this is more than a mower; it’s a tractor and we have lots of projects for it other than mowing. If I get the most tractor I can afford, this is it. But is it money well spent?

I thought about getting a ZTR for the mowing but I'd rather not deal with storing and maintaining two machines. Besides, I'm spending big money on a tractor, I want to use it was much as I can to justify it lol.

Sorry again for the long post! Please, share your opinions and help me make up my mind. I probably missed something but I can answer any questions you might have. :greentractorride:
 
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Just my quick opinion....

The 1 series won’t be much better than what you are mowing with now. Small tires mean rough ride on uneven ground. It will be amplified in the rough pasture area.

The 2025 seems a good enough fit but it may leave you wanting with all the excavation work you have planned.

2032/2038 is the ticket in my opinion. Remember this is not just a mowing machine. Who cares if it looks too big to mow 1.5 acres. This tractor will serve you for many years to come.

I know you say you have a budget of $30k. Where did this number come from? You can’t just pull a number out of the air.

The proper way to buy a tractor is to evaluate your needs, look at the implements needed first, then size the tractor to the implements. It sounds like a 60” brush hog would be in order. The 2025 can handle that without a problem with no hills.

Another thing - I didn’t see a backhoe listed. With all your excavation projects that would be the ticket. But I understand about the added cost. So...leaning toward the 2032/2038 is in order in my opinion for heavier loader work which you certainly get into without a backhoe.

Take a look at the last 10-15 pages of the MCUT section. Our regular here Pat (pjr something) got a new 2025 recently. I for one am amazed at what he can do with it. But of course it takes a good operator get the most out of these small tractors.

One final word for now. Buy it once and buy it right. I see so many people who think the tractor they bought - usually a 1 series - is plenty enough only to end up upgrading a year or less later and taking a big financial hit. Review the budget - get a tractor that will serve your needs for the next 20 years. You just can’t beat the 0% financing.
 

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My two cents. Get the largest tractor you can swing for 11 acres. Get the FEL up front, don't wait. Skip the mmm and mow 1.5 acre yard with a regular mower. Later if you need to mow more, get a 3 point finish mower.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Just my quick opinion....

The 1 series won’t be much better than what you are mowing with now. Small tires mean rough ride on uneven ground. It will be amplified in the rough pasture area.

My concern as well. Wife and I both have poor back and neck health so all the extra bumps and jolts really take a toll. We're only 28/29, cant wait to feel what getting older has in store for us...


The 2025 seems a good enough fit but it may leave you wanting with all the excavation work you have planned.

2032/2038 is the ticket in my opinion. Remember this is not just a mowing machine. Who cares if it looks too big to mow 1.5 acres. This tractor will serve you for many years to come.

I know you say you have a budget of $30k. Where did this number come from? You can’t just pull a number out of the air.


$30k came from the proceeds from our prior house sale. It is what we have allocated for the tractor purchase after putting some money into the savings account and paying off CC bills. Hence we can pay cash for it up to $30k. Would rather use JD's money for free and hold onto the $30k ourselves. Likely put into a high interest savings account and pay JD from it. We earn the interest instead of JD and we have money in case we need it for emergencies.

The proper way to buy a tractor is to evaluate your needs, look at the implements needed first, then size the tractor to the implements. It sounds like a 60” brush hog would be in order. The 2025 can handle that without a problem with no hills.

Another thing - I didn’t see a backhoe listed. With all your excavation projects that would be the ticket. But I understand about the added cost. So...leaning toward the 2032/2038 is in order in my opinion for heavier loader work which you certainly get into without a backhoe.

We were originally going to get a backhoe but that really limited us to a 1025R if we hoped to stay in the budget. Then this spring my father in law bought a small walk behind backhoe at an auction. Figured we could just use his if we needed to. That freed up enough money to look at bigger tractors.

Take a look at the last 10-15 pages of the MCUT section. Our regular here Pat (pjr something) got a new 2025 recently. I for one am amazed at what he can do with it. But of course it takes a good operator get the most out of these small tractors.

One final word for now. Buy it once and buy it right. I see so many people who think the tractor they bought - usually a 1 series - is plenty enough only to end up upgrading a year or less later and taking a big financial hit. Review the budget - get a tractor that will serve your needs for the next 20 years. You just can’t beat the 0% financing.

Buy once, cry once. I'm trying to avoid this problem. I don't want to have buyers remorse and either not buy enough tractor or buy too much tractor.
....
 

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My two cents. Get the largest tractor you can swing for 11 acres. Get the FEL up front, don't wait. Skip the mmm and mow 1.5 acre yard with a regular mower. Later if you need to mow more, get a 3 point finish mower.
I missed the part of getting the loader later. Never order one of these tractors without a loader.

I also agree to either use what you have now to mow or get something else as a small dedicated mowing machine. These belly mowers are very expensive. You could buy a decent zero turn for the same price.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My two cents. Get the largest tractor you can swing for 11 acres. Get the FEL up front, don't wait. Skip the mmm and mow 1.5 acre yard with a regular mower. Later if you need to mow more, get a 3 point finish mower.
We will be getting at least the FEL, MMM, and a boxblade with whatever we purchase. The boxblade we might buy used if JD wants too much for it or wont get us a good deal on it. Those things will at least enable me to get started on the immediate work that needs done. Grading, mowing, and moving dirt/gravel. The other stuff can wait until we have some free cash. I can probaby borrow or rent the bush hog and use it once or twice this summer/fall to knock the field down. Won't need the tiller until next year at the earliest for the garden. Although a tiller might be helpful in the regrading projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I missed the part of getting the loader later. Never order one of these tractors without a loader.

I also agree to either use what you have now to mow or get something else as a small dedicated mowing machine. These belly mowers are very expensive. You could buy a decent zero turn for the same price.
Sorry. I must have conveyed the wrong message. We are getting the FEL with the tractor no matter what. That attachment list was just a total list of everything we would end up needed or buying. I'll edit the first post.

Also, forgot to mention that when we get the additional land, we will convert some of the pasture nearest the house into yard, giving us about 3 or so total acres to mow. It currently takes about 1.5hrs to mow what we have now with the little 48" rider. Would probably take 2.5-3 hours to mow the a larger area.

I can see the wisdom in having a dedicated mower to save a little money. But I'm also looking forward to a larger machine and smoother ride when mowing. The yard is very rough and really bounces you around on a garden tractor. Makes for a stiff neck and back, and takes a good amount of time to cut. I'll have to think more about it.
 
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We will be getting at least the FEL, MMM, and a boxblade with whatever we purchase. The boxblade we might buy used if JD wants too much for it or wont get us a good deal on it. Those things will at least enable me to get started on the immediate work that needs done. Grading, mowing, and moving dirt/gravel. The other stuff can wait until we have some free cash. I can probaby borrow or rent the bush hog and use it once or twice this summer/fall to knock the field down. Won't need the tiller until next year at the earliest for the garden. Although a tiller might be helpful in the regrading projects.
You'll be needing ballast for the FEL. You might want to add a ballast box to the initial purchase. A box blade may not be enough weight.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
You'll be needing ballast for the FEL. You might want to add a ballast box to the initial purchase. A box blade may not be enough weight.
Oh yes, good thinking on the ballast. I over looked that. This is why you guys are a good resource!

A box is probably the best idea. Filled tires might cause too much damage when just mowing or whatever around the yard.
 

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Oh yes, good thinking on the ballast. I over looked that. This is why you guys are a good resource!

A box is probably the best idea. Filled tires might cause too much damage when just mowing or whatever around the yard.
Just in case you haven't seen this thread. It has a lot of good info. Just filled tires won't take the weight off the front axle.
What is "Rear Ballast"? And why do you need it?
 

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Get the 2038 with Loader MMM and backhoe, wish i had gotten the backhoe with mine. You will love the 2038 great machine. All other attachments you can find pretty cheap used. Skip the lawnmower thats just another machine to maintain. My 2 cents.
 

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to me for a universal single tractor like your wanting and the heavier jobs your proposing

as mentoned before get the biggest tractor you can afford there is no substitute for for HP and lift capacity if you need it................also i would look at resale values/popularity on the proposed tractors as you may need to move up/down in size in the future when your needs change

people smirk a bit but i mow my yard with a 5105m and a MX8 brush hog set as low as it will go and it looks as good as the best manicured lawns around (i am set up with very few obstacles to work around)(and i like the cab) .....point is you can always work down in size but never work up in size
 

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Sorry. I must have conveyed the wrong message. We are getting the FEL with the tractor no matter what. That attachment list was just a total list of everything we would end up needed or buying. I'll edit the first post.

Also, forgot to mention that when we get the additional land, we will convert some of the pasture nearest the house into yard, giving us about 3 or so total acres to mow. It currently takes about 1.5hrs to mow what we have now with the little 48" rider. Would probably take 2.5-3 hours to mow the a larger area.

I can see the wisdom in having a dedicated mower to save a little money. But I'm also looking forward to a larger machine and smoother ride when mowing. The yard is very rough and really bounces you around on a garden tractor. Makes for a stiff neck and back, and takes a good amount of time to cut. I'll have to think more about it.
Nothing wrong with getting the belly mower.

I have a 2520 which is the predecessor to the 2032. I have the belly mower. It is my only mowing machine.

I can have the loader off and mower deck on in a matter of 2-3 minutes - and I am pretty crippled up.

I also have a rough yard - it’s actually woods that has been converted to mow-able grass. I reduced the air pressure in the rear tires to 10# which really helped with the ride. I also installed an aftermarket suspension seat. It is tolerable now. But I couldn’t imagine having smaller tires than I do.

You have the option with the 2032/2038 to get radial tires. Not sure about the 2025. I wish so badly I could have them but they don’t make the size for my tractor. Those radial tires, kept at a fairly low pressure, will give you the best ride yet. You would just need to increase the tire pressures when doing any loader work.
 
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I'm pretty biased towards the 2025R. That said, I know every tractor forum or form of social media tells everyone to go big, but that will not compensate for operator experience.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLFndeI09kfxpjP9hdLkNrg or here is my channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8eZr_u37kbaWKJjRndmReQ?view_as=subscriber

Just look at what Tim has done for years with a 1025R, a good operator on a small tractor will run circles around a novice operator on a larger tractor every day of the week.
You have a 30K budget, you could get a 2025R, FEL, 60D MMM and all the attachments/implements you desire and fully option it out for 30K as long as no BH is coming with it.
 

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30K will get you a lot of tractor. Also, that loader bucket can back drag as good as you need for now if you forgo a box blade. I have a 1025R and wanted the smaller tires for mowing and wish I got a bigger tire machine. Those ruts and bumps will slam your back around. Even working that thing moderate for a couple hrs my back feels it. I’m getting the upgraded seat springs from Kenny, and a pedal for the diff lock( it’s just a rod sticking out from under the seat I jabbed my heel on a couple times). Anyway, the 1025R is quite the capable machine and has become quite the work horse for me being on a budget. It’s pretty compact and fits inside one of my garage bays with room to work around even with loader and an attarchment on the back. It clears my garage doors ( lookup ROPS garage door damage) and fits through my gates well. For the acreage you got (and will have) I’d get something bigger and stronger if you can afford it but the 1025R is all tractor and will surprise you with what it can do


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1023E/1025R
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Will do everything you need, but a lot slower than the other options. As you mentioned, may not look like a "real tractor" to some, including you. Attachments are small, almost as expensive, and most won't be very usable when you upgrade to a larger tractor.

Best at: Mowing. This is the best tractor in the group for mowing. It can't handle as tall grass as the 2025R because of ground clearance/height of deck, but it's more stable on side slopes (lower CG, same width) unless you fill the tires of the 2025R and run spacers, with which I believe the 2025R will be more stable. It's also the lightest in the group, which matters a lot of you get a lot of rain and have soft ground.
Worst at: ground engaging tasks...it doesn't have the traction(weight, tire size) to handle heavy ground engagement. It can do everything, it will just take a lot longer as you'll have to bite off smaller chunks.
Best quality: maneuverability, jack of all trades...it is the only tractor (except the 2025R) that can do everything well enough), the most maneuverable in the bunch, it can turn very very tightly.
Worst quality: weight, traction (as in it doesn't have enough), ground clearance


2025R
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A more capable version of the 1025R. It has more traction (larger tires, more room for liquid ballast, better clearance/less snagging) and slightly higher lift capacities because of increased pressure (or maybe flow...can't remember...one of these). For mowing, it can handle heavier grass because the deck lifts higher, but it's not as side slope stable (same width, higher CG...unless you fill the tires and/or add spacers). It's several hundred pounds heavier than the 1025, and if you fill the tires (which you should), it becomes heavier still. While that will increase its stability on slopes, it will make it considerably heavier and so it will tear up and rut wet ground more than the 1025R. Because of the extra weight and traction, it can handle larger implements or do a better job with the same size implements. This tractor is the most well rounded of the bunch, IMO.

Best at: balancing all of the various tasks (it's not the best at anything, but it may be the best all around small tractor).
Worst at: nothing.
Best quality: a better jack of all trades than the 1025R if you discount mowing or if you mow on flat land, or if you lawn never stays wet/muddy and you don't have to worry about tractor weight. It's also almost as maneuverable as the 1025R. You'd be hard pressed to notice a difference. Don't listen to JD's turn radius specs, they are deceiving.
Worst quality: cramped operator station (this only affects some people)

2032R
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A larger tractor, with significantly more lift capacity and lift height as compared to the 1 series and 2025R. Much heavier machine, with substantially larger tires for even more liquid ballast capacity. Very fast ground speed, enough weight and traction for heavy ground engagement. Can run larger and more power-demanding implements (e.g. I run a 64" snowblower and a 72" rotary cutter). Has some nice standard features you don't get in the previous two, such as split brakes and e-throttle. Is a complete dog when it comes to turn radius/maneuverability. Will absolutely devastate your lawn if you get a lot of rain and/or have wet/muddy ground at some point in the year (we have this every spring and had two particularly bad seasons in a row).

Best at: ground engagement, PTO work.
Worst at: finish mowing. It's fine on dry ground, except that it's maneuverability is terrible and the steering effort is significantly harder than the previous two (it may not seem like much but it adds up). Again, and this can't be mentioned enough...if your lawn stays saturated and so gets muddy at some point in the year, this tractor will devastate your lawn. If not, it's a great mower with good cut quality, but it will be harder and take longer (because of the aforementioned issues) than a 1025/2025. It's also the most stable on side slopes of the bunch, but (maybe) only with spacers.
Best quality: weight/traction, lift capacity/height.
Worst quality: maneuverability, weight/size (meaning it may be too big/heavy for some tasks) and DPF (diesel particulate filter).

2038R
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This tractor is identical to the 2032R in every way except that it has a smaller displacement engine with a turbo. This gives it more HP with almost no turbo-lag. You can feel this power going up steep hills in high or accelerating from 0 to top speed. The tractor is considered by some to be too light to put this power to the ground in straight non-PTO ground engagement tasks unless you ballast the heck out of it (talk to Herminator, he is a master of this). Because of the higher HP, it will do some things a little bit faster than the 2032R. That is the only advantage of HP, and you would need a stop watch to tell the difference.

A lot of people choose this over the 2032R because the extra HP doesn't cost much, and extra HP never hurts, although...

Some people avoid this tractor because a turbo (particularly when paired with a DPF) can cause problems down the road. Some people avoid this tractor because they don't want to pay extra money for HP they don't need (few non-commercial operators will benefit from the extra HP in any real way) or because they don't want to do the things to keep their turbos running (e.g. idle engine for at least two minutes before shutting off after working hard - google "turbo timer"). Also, there is a trend among manufacturers to step away from DPFs and find alternate emissions solutions, because customers don't want them and they often cause problems, and the long term reliability ramifications are unknown. While this also applies to a 2032, it's more applicable to the 2038 because of the turbo (google "turbo dpf problems"). Some people also think that squeezing more HP out of a smaller engine is never a good thing with tractors.

Best at/worst/etc. at is the same as the 2032R.

3R series:
If you're looking at the large 2R, you should really be looking at the 3R also. For the price of a 2038, you an get a 3033R, which is a significantly more capable tractor in almost every way (the 38 can do some things like, brush hogging, a little bit faster because of HP). It isn't that much heavier than the 2R, has about the same turn radius, can lift a LOT more with both loader and three point, has much larger tires for more liquid ballast, and has a stronger more capable transmission that can put more power to the ground (even with less HP).
 

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I’ve had a 1025r, 3046r, and 2038r all with belly mowers. For what you’re describing I would totally get a 3 series and then a dedicated mower for the yard. You will never be satisfied with the smaller tractors for all of your work and you never be satisfied with how big they are for the mowing.


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Discussion Starter #18
Get the 2038 with Loader MMM and backhoe, wish i had gotten the backhoe with mine. You will love the 2038 great machine. All other attachments you can find pretty cheap used. Skip the lawnmower thats just another machine to maintain. My 2 cents.

We are going to skip the backhoe I think for two main reasons:

Father in law has a mini backhoe we can use whenever we want for free.

And we really don't have any planned usage for a backhoe that the loader cant already do.

Not buying a backhoe saves us $7k we can put towards implements instead.
 

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I’ve had a 1025r, 3046r, and 2038r all with belly mowers. For what you’re describing I would totally get a 3 series and then a dedicated mower for the yard. You will never be satisfied with the smaller tractors for all of your work and you never be satisfied with how big they are for the mowing.


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That's would I would do if I had a bigger place. I went with the 1025r because it's the jack of all trades and it was the smallest one I could get with a loader. I threw in the backhoe just because. :lol: I had some buyers remorse with the backhoe until I dug out a stump with it. Was it economical for me? No, but I still wanted it. :gizmo: I've been mowing my place for 30 years with a 42 and a 48 inch riding mower, and yeah the 1025 is somewhat over kill. I wanted the ability to till, pickup stuff with a loader and save my old aging back and don't want to use a shovel anymore. I like the mmm but does have it drawbacks. Sure, it's easy to take off, but after it's off it's heavy and hard to move around. It does not lift very high. I mow with it on the highest level. My D160 lifts higher. I don't mow with the loader and backhoe so they are stored 90% if the time. If you work in the dirt, like tilling you don't want the mower on. If I had the acreage, I would buy something like a 3 series and never take the loader off and mow the yard around the house with a small quick mower like a zero turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I briefly considered a 3R series but quickly discounted it. It really is pushing the size and weight limit I think. I'm already having some internal conflict about the size of a 32/38, even though its looking like they are the most suitable at this point. Also, the price is simply too much. Either I'll still have to get a MMM for it or spend probably the same amount of money for a decent ZTR. Part of the reason I was able to sell the wife on a tractor was the ability to have an all-in-one machine.

If I didn't have the mowing portion of my property to worry about and we already had the full 11 acres I'd consider the 3R.
 
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