ATV vs. Tractor

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Rugbyguy, May 28, 2004.

  1. Rugbyguy

    Rugbyguy Guest

    Hello, everyone.
    I plan on having about 100 acres for small crop production (for my family only), hardwood timber, a house, and other recreational facilities.
    I have been trying to work out the numbers and ideas and am stumped on the question of tractor versus ATV.
    With all the ATV attachments available it seems as though one could do everything (plow, cut grass, fertilize, etc.) with a tractor AND have a recreational vehicle, toboot.

    So...is there something I am not thinking about?
    Can ya'll give me the pros and cons of an ATV doing the work of a tractor?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Your not going to work all 100 acres with an ATV. The smallest tractor I've ever owned would out pull the biggest ATV made and would do so for decades after the ATV has died. You can have a front end loader with a tractor, few (any?) ATV's run on tax exempt diesel, tractors hold thier value, they have a PTO and remote hydraulic power........... Still they make poor ATVs. If all you want is a big garden worked and a little bush work, you might have a point.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Sorry meant to add I'd luv to have a Honda ATV, for light choers it'd be great!
     
  4. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    You can get a Tractor cheaper and get more done with it.

    I've went through the same thing,and I came to the conclusion Four Wheel Drive Pickup ans Tractor.

    big rockpile
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    An ATV generally costs more than a good used tractor, will not last as long, had a poor choice of gearspeed (too fast for working), is not very robust for heavy pulling, and just generally is more of a toy for doing farm/ logging work.

    If you had 10 acres, it might fill the bill, and do so nicely.

    If you have any loader work, tiller work, serious grass mowing, snow plowing, etc. a farm tractor will be 10 times the machine the ATV would ever be.

    100 acres is a lot, I can't see an ATV being up to the task. But, it does depend exactly what you want to do, how big the garden is. If 100x 100' garden, and you are pounding in some metal fence posts around the rest of the property, and haul a couple small trailers of fire wood a year, then the ATV is fine.

    --->Paul
     
  6. Rugbyguy

    Rugbyguy Guest

    The garden will be small (100 x 100 sounds about right).
    Most of the land will be the hardwood for retirement and horse paddocks. Both of which require light maintenance, but for long distances.
    I hope this helps get some more good answers.
    Thanks for the informative reply, Rambler
     
  7. Zack

    Zack Well-Known Member

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    I found that I needed both a tractor and an ATV and may add my old 4X4 wagoner to the farm list soon. I only have 100 ac and only grow trees currently. The ATV is only good for hauling me and my tools Or entertaining the Kids.
     
  8. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For 100 acres a tractor will be a must. The attachments for an ATV are made for for small gardens and would not stand up to larger task.
     
  9. Darren in TN

    Darren in TN Guest

    Rugbyguy,

    One thing you have to remeber is not to let the horsepower numbers fool you. A ~20 hp tractor (like a Ford 9N or a Farmall Super A) can outpull and outwork a 20 hp riding lawnmower or a 20 hp ATV any day of the week. Tractors are built very heavy and very tough. The extra weight and large diameter heavy treaded tires gives you a HUGE advantage, as does the enormous amount of torque they're geared to put out.

    Think about it this way-- a Ford F-150 is about right to pull a trailer with a small boat, say a couple of thousand pounds. Starting off from a dead-stop is really no big deal-- you give it some power and it comes up to speed. Now imagine that your F-150 only weighs 500 pounds and is geared like a motorcycle. It just isn't going to pull that load very well, if at all. Plows, disks, and bush-hogs are heavy implements. Even a small single-bottom plow puts an enormous load on your tractor to pull it (pulling a 5' cut 500 pound bush-hog seems like childsplay in comparison.) I know there are folks that make small plows for ATVs, but before you buy one try to get someone to let you try one out. ATVs really aren't meant to plod along at a slow pace, either. It's probably not very good for them to be worked hard at a slow pace (especially if they are air-cooled.) My tractor is built to pull a load at 1 mph all day long-- I can work it for several hours and still put my hand on the engine block without burning it. Heavy cast-iron construction and water-cooled engines are better suited to that kind of work. (For some perspective, look at how many people still run small farms with 50 year old tractors. Ours was made in 1953 and has needed only minimal work on my part to keep it running and working.)

    Try to find a local tractor collectors' group and go watch their next plow day. You'll get to see some older, lower HP tractors pull plows and get a feel for what it takes. Or find a friend who has a farm and ask to help him cut hay or bush-hog some time.

    100 acres is also a very large property. If you are maintaining pastures, you're going to need to get some big equipment. We bush-hog about 15 acres with a 20 HP tractor and a 5' bush-hog and sometimes I feel like I can't keep up!

    There's also a great tractor forum at ytmag.com (a site for users and collectors of old tractors.)

    Best of luck to you, and good luck in your endeavour.
    Darren
     
  10. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Rugbyguy,

    We only have 47 acres and I'm going to agree with most everyone else. You definately will want a tractor (and probably an ATV as well). I bought a Ford 8n to get me by for now and I just can't imagine doing the things I'm doing with an ATV. As Darren points out, there is a huge difference in torque and durability. Looking at the ATVs out there I don't think we will see them in working order 50+ years from now (like a Ford 8n).

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  11. MMyers1

    MMyers1 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a thought for you. How often do you plan on running your 'brushhog'? It might be in your interest to rent a tractor/brushhog rig and do it yourself.


    ***All applicable safety warnings are to be inserted here!!***


    I can rent a small JD tractor w/front-end loader, brushhog, and trailer to transport it for 170.00/24hour day. I can mow everything that I want to mow in 6-8 hours (I have tree stands that could not be mowed if I wanted too!). I then have a tractor/front end loader to do some additional work around my place before I take it back. They ask that I top off the tank before return, but I would do that any way just out of courtesy. :)

    This at least gives you an opportunity to shop around and determine what your needs are....

    Good Luck!

    Mark
    North Central Texas
     
  12. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    how is your terrain? flat or hilly?

    the only advantage of an atv over a tractor is that it can go places my tractor can't...into woods and hills.

    the atv is a very valuable working machine to me, but if i had to choose i'd keep my tractor for the reasons already stated.

    jena
     
  13. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'll tell you that I went with an ATV. BUT I only have 5 acres, and I bought the new Agri Fab ATV equipment http://www.agri-fab.com/3pt45_0353.html

    The Agri Fab equipment is only just out and is great for us. We plow a 300' drive in Western NY with a ATV plow, winch on the front, can haul most anything around here. I didn't need a big diesel tractor when I can just jump on my ATV, I don't have haying equipment and cut very little grass (I own a ride on also). You will have to weigh up the pros and cons.

    Carol
     
  14. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Check the prices of used tractors under 45-50 hp; you'll find many tractors in good condition that can be had for between $2500-$3500, often even less. Think of the types of implements that you'd be most likely to use (3-pt and pto-driven things like a bushhog, finish mower, snow blade, etc. Often times, these used attachments are available for relatively low-cost.

    Now, look at the prices of ATVs-4-wheelers, either new or used. I think you'll get much more equipment, and more useful equipment, at lower dollar cost with a used tractor than ATV, and you'll have a much more powerful, useful machine.

    About the only way I could see the scales tipping in favor of the ATV is if riding around on your 4-wheeler is REALLY important to you.

    Personally, I can't think of anything more useful than a small utility tractor with 3-pt. hitch and live PTO. Keep in mind that many of these old tractors have hydraulics as well. When you can run an implement off the tractor PTO and/or hydraulics rather than a separate small engine, that lowers the purchase price of the attachment and means less maintenance on small engines. Now, I wouldn't compare a 1940's or 1950s era tractor with the newer compact utility tractors, which have front-wheel assist and much better hydraulics, but those tractors are often $20-$30k.

    I know lots of people who use Ford 9Ns and 2Ns, Farmall A,B,C,H and M, any of the old 2-cyl JD, etc. These tractors were often manufactured in the late 1930s or early 1940s, are used daily on both hobby and working farms, are easy to maintain, and frequently sell used for much more than their original purchase price, even when 50-60 years old. How many of the current crop of ATV 4-wheelers will be able to make the same claim in another 40-50 years?
     
  15. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    we have an atv, i use it for small jobs, and its great for checking fence,
    i have a trailer, and a chain drag ( for breaking up poo in the pasture), that its much better than the tractor for, to get the kids to do a job, i ask them to use the atv, but if i need big work done its the tractor , plus tractor is a famr deuction, and they wont buy an atv as a "farm implement", its considered recreation cehicle
    but, our diesel tractor is still more usefull , we have 37 acres, and option on 66 more, for a total of 102, so about the same amount

    atv is nice for some things, but for "big work" its the tractor, and thats without crop land !, all we have is our large garden , and i grow some corn for the animals ( about 1/2 acre)
     
  16. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think I'd die without the front end loader and the post hole digger :) An ATV belongs on 2-5 acres, not a 100.

    Some years back I bought a disc and plow for our Sears garden tractor, thinking it was just right for a little garden in the yard. What a joke, the disc just jumps over the surface and the plow, once it eventually manages to dig in, just gets the tractor stuck. I can't imagine an ATV being much different.

    Get a TRACTOR! LOL
     
  17. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    Another "Get a REAL tractor" voice here ...

    A front end loader is great ... especially with an interchangeable set of forks. I'd be lost without it. Front end forks + free pallets = LOTS of uses.

    While new tractors are "nice", it will be interesting to see how many are still working 50+ years from new. I'll stick with my "old iron".
    Our 1948 Ferguson TO20 + front end loader + 3-point backhoe unit cost sligfhtly less than $5,000.
     
  18. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Are you sure---you need either? There is a lot of difference between wanting something and needing something.

    For the garden a roto-tiller would be just the ticket. It could be on the back of a tractor, if the tractor is geared for one, or it could be a stand alone unit.

    Other than some paddock care I don't see that you have a lot of need for a tractor. As an example, in the short time it would take to put a post hole digger on a tractor, you can usually dig the holes by hand if only a few are needed.

    My view? Do you want to work, or play at working? If either, get a tractor in other words.
     
  19. danielbrown

    danielbrown Active Member

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    get real tractor, but if you're dead set on a atv. the honda Rubicon is 4WD, has low range, water cooled, auto/manual 5 speed. it surprised me on how well it can pull.
     
  20. Get a real tractor. You won't regret it. Tractors work harder, last longer, and have more resale value.