skidsteer (bobcat) vs tractor - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 12/29/11, 10:37 PM
 
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skidsteer (bobcat) vs tractor

Have been researching getting a tractor, but someone suggested I should think about a bobcat because it can run more implements. Anyone have any thoughts about the differences between these two machines?

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  #2  
Old 12/29/11, 10:51 PM
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A skid steer (bobcat) will handle a wide variety of implements but they are very dificult to see out of other than straight ahead and are also quite top heavy when you raise the bucket with a load in it. It wil aslo absolutely destroy the ground you are on when you try to steer hence the name skid steer. I live in KY and we are on wet ground alot and the skid steering is awful on any kind of ground that is dirt.

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  #3  
Old 12/29/11, 11:03 PM
 
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A skidsteer is a loader and a very good one, better than a tractor for some jobs.... but it has no 3pt or pto for farm implements....James

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Old 12/29/11, 11:14 PM
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Each has it`s place, I would never be without my Bobcat, but as jwal10 has said they have no pto. So they are not much good if you need pto. They do have tons of implements for the skidloaders front ends, but on the most part more expensive than tractor mounted tools. So if you only want to push stuff, or run a post hole digger, or a few other things, get a skidloader. > Thanks Marc

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  #5  
Old 12/30/11, 06:02 AM
 
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Im interested in a skidloader because of an attachment they have to cut trees and a grabbler to pick up and move the pieces. They can do a lot of dirtwork fast too.

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Old 12/30/11, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyDoc View Post
Have been researching getting a tractor, but someone suggested I should think about a bobcat because it can run more implements. Anyone have any thoughts about the differences between these two machines?
I'm not aware of a single implement a skidsteer can run that a loader tractor can't run. There are hundreds that the tractor can run that a skidsteer won't. Some aren't used that often on tractors, because the skidsteer can be more maneuverable, particularly in small areas.
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  #7  
Old 12/30/11, 07:23 AM
 
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Skidsteers suck on uneven ground. They like to get tippy. I'd take a tractor over a skidsteer any day unless I wanted to work in a barn or something too low for a tractor.

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  #8  
Old 12/30/11, 09:57 AM
 
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I'm blessed to have both, but if I had to choose one machine, it would be a 4x4 farm tractor with a loader (the bigger the tractor the better). You can make a skid steer do many things a tractor will do (even seen a three point hitch/pto attachment on Craigslist here), but it's very rough on the ground you travel upon.

If you are clearing brush, however, a skid steer with a root grapple is the perfect tool. It will also dig into the ground much better, if you are clearing a site. A farm tractor loader is not meant to be a "digging" tool, but some use it that way.

Unlike some have noted above, in a skid steer I feel much safer on uneven ground or with a load in the air, but the unit my brother and I own/use is a very heavy, tracked machine. It might be different in a skid steer with wheels/tires.

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  #9  
Old 12/30/11, 10:25 AM
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Tractor with a loader - like mine doesn't have! I didn't realize until now it is not a bobcat I want it's a loader. I have a thick metal roof that uses the location a loader would use so it is not easy to install.

Anyway back to OP's OQ..... Do you want to keep weeds and saplings cut?

Having heard reports of Skidsteers being typsy, I'd try a small tractor etxra weight if you have no experience using either.

Good luck!

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  #10  
Old 12/30/11, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manfred View Post
Im interested in a skidloader because of an attachment they have to cut trees and a grabbler to pick up and move the pieces. They can do a lot of dirtwork fast too.
Chainsaw and front end loader on a tractor will do the same thing... with the tractor I can drag a log weighing several tons out of the swamp...
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleK View Post
I'm not aware of a single implement a skidsteer can run that a loader tractor can't run. There are hundreds that the tractor can run that a skidsteer won't. Some aren't used that often on tractors, because the skidsteer can be more maneuverable, particularly in small areas.
There you go. I'd like to have one, but if I could have only one, (skidsteer or tractor) it'd have to be the tractor...
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  #11  
Old 12/30/11, 11:18 AM
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Buy the tractor, rent the skidsteer.

Peg

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  #12  
Old 12/30/11, 11:31 AM
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A question like that needs some related info from you. Giving an opinion about a very broad subject could add up to a small book.

To make that decision for myself I would list the right now and future jobs I need done.
You may have few light weight needs or a complex need (you didn't say)
List tractor vs. skidsteer and how much $ for an attachment if required.
Also consider future work and if you will be working it as a business tool or personal use (taxes factor as $).
And I'd say its only fair to consider 4wd tractor vs. skid steer.
There are a few physical facts that must be weighed also:
cost of a basic tractor/SS
any computers involved
parts costs
ground damage
availability used
marketability when you sell it

You will find a bunch written on this site about the subject.
Its a big decision because the 2 are quite different but luck for you the market has plenty to choose from right now.
jim

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  #13  
Old 12/30/11, 11:57 AM
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I have both, and I'd hate to be without either one. If you are going to do field work (haying or planting) you are going to need a tractor and there's no getting around that. If you are going to do gardening, general work around the homestead, livestock where you are buying in the hay, then a skid steer could be a good alternative.

The thing to remember is, if you are going to use a skid steer for the same uses as a tractor, you might as well have a tractor. If you are going to use the skid steer for digging your garden (manure fork will deep dig your soil), make compost, raise slaughtered beef for processing, haul firewood to the house, jack up equipment to change a tire, haul stone for your driveway, dig a pond, haul a dead cow out and bury it, clean a barn out, pound fence posts and stretch wire, feed round bales inside a barn, well, skid steer is what you need.

If I had no livestock, the only reason I'd need a big tractor would be the PTO to run a generator. Otherwise my two Bobcats do everything else I want.

Skid steers take some thought to work well. They are tippy in some situations and you need to be aware of it and take that into account. They do tear up ground if you "skid steer" them and if you are working in a sensitive area of yard, then you have to do some back and forth "tacking" to turn them around without tearing everything up. Perfectly doable it you take the time to do it. They are probably one of the more dangerous pieces of equipment to operate because of the lift arms and the temptation to reach outside of the cab to do things when the engine is running. People looking for a short cut, people trying to see better and sticking their heads out, that's how you get killed on them. You need to respect any equipment you operate, but a skid steer is less forgiving than anything else because you are working so close to the hydraulics and when the bucket comes down, it's down. Hand, foot, or head in between the beam and the frame and too bad.


Jennifer

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  #14  
Old 12/30/11, 01:38 PM
 
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every farm has a tractor or ten, very few farms (percentage wise) have skid steer.

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  #15  
Old 12/30/11, 01:42 PM
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We have two skid steers, and several tractors. Couldn't live without the skid steers. We use one everyday.

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  #16  
Old 12/30/11, 01:55 PM
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I have both a skidster and several tractors. Skidster(Gehl) is the first thing started in the morning. Not very good for handling big round bales. But for everything else the skidster is invaluble IMO

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  #17  
Old 12/30/11, 02:34 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies.

Several asked what I intended to use it for, so I'll tell you a little about what I have, and where I want to go with it. The land I have right now is essentially all planted pine.

Short term:
We will be having ~5 acres cleared for the house, eventual barn etc. The rest will be managed as timber till we can "recoup and regroup".

Medium term: I have 20 acres that was clear cut and planted in pine ~2-3 years ago, that I would like to convert to silvopasture over the next 5 years. To do that quickly, I need to rent or hire someone with a muching forestry head to mulch the dead wood, and clear runs of pasture between the planted pine.

Long term: As we harvest, would like to begin to convert more property to silvopasture.

For the next 15 years, will be dealing mostly with timber and smaller areas of pasture with a max width of ~40-50ft. To get between trees (~10ft between rows) I think the widest bushhog I would run would be 6-7 ft wide. Ofcourse, I might not need to get between the rows very often, since not much grows there, so maybe that's not an issue.

This is what prompted looking at skidsteers: While I was looking at renting machine with the mulching head to rent, I looked at their other attachments. Apparently you gan get a 6 ft bushog attatchment - didn't even know they made those for bobcats. They also had a no-till seader head you could rent, which might be helpful for planting pasture. I have used the augar head for drilling post-holes and that's a real treat compared to putting them in by hand. (of course you can get that for a tractor too.)

I guess I was surprised to find that they had so many attachments for doing what I can forsee doing. I had planned on getting a 50-60 hp tractor, with a quick detatch loader, bushog and renting vs buying an auger for putting in fence posts... But I would still have to rent a skidsteer for any mulching head work. Might still be better off doing that.

Does this altar opinions any?

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Last edited by ArmyDoc; 12/30/11 at 02:37 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12/30/11, 03:05 PM
 
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Simple test: do you plan on pulling a wagon? Yes, I know you can pull one with your truck, but all the associated activities that go along with whats on the wagon still call for a tractor.

As long as you don't plan on raising your own feed, the skidsteer will be fine.

Personally, I'd take a loader tractor first because of its versatility. If you get the correct tractor/loader, you can get a quick attach plate for the loader. The best of both worlds... sorta. The tractor isn't going to have the hydraulic flow rate of the skidsteer, but its a good compromise.

Michael

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  #19  
Old 12/30/11, 03:18 PM
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If you are going to be clearing and cleaning alot of land with the skidster, I reccomend a grapple bucket and a brusk rake.

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  #20  
Old 12/30/11, 03:20 PM
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For me the terrain decides the issue. You can run a tractor on steeper hills and if careful muckier soils than a skid steer. The large tires are on a tractor for a reason.

If your land is fairly level, a skid steer might work for you. Around here it would be a nightmare.

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