Need tractor buying advise

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SherrieC, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    About four years ago someone on here asked advise about buying your own haying equipment and it was explained to them how expensive that would be and that it would be far cheaper to hire it out. That is what we've done for the past 4 yrs, however this year we found out first hand the real Cost of not having your own equipment. We due to drought, and dishonesty, will not have any hay put up this winter. My 3 farm mules all sibs, are being sold, the pony is already gone, and hopefully I'll have enough $$ for hay for the 18yr+ broodmare, she doesn't deserve to be hamburger, but I doubt she'll sell. I have the mules to farm the place but didn't have haying equipment yet. I have just been Devasted by this set back, I imprinted the one mule at birth, She was born 6 days befor my daughter! So now I'll have to start all over again. This time Equipment first. I want the tractor just for baling, as I'll use a team to cut and rake. What kind of a tractor do I need I'm thinking old ford 8 or 9 n, and I know Nothing about balers.. What kind of a baler do I need, I know there are also small round balers you can pull by horse but those are few and far between. Lets get some ideas of what we should be looking for this fall so by next spring maybe we'll again have some way to get that alfalfa from back field to barn. Other than the currant method which has been daily walks with the goats to a pasture they'd not seen before. :D Shoot next I can see it in the future they'll remember right where the alfalfa field is, and be line for it.
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Make sure that your choice of tractor is well supported. DH's uncle has Ford (don't remember if it's 8 or 9N) and parts are an absolute pain in the drain to locate.

    Pony!
     

  3. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    698
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    Location:
    It's a secret
    1) Get a brand that has a dealership near you. It stinks having hay getting rained on because the tractor is broke and the part is two days away.

    2) Get something with a live PTO. Even if it costs more. A live PTO works separate from the tractors clutch, so you can stop the tractor from moving while the baler still runs. Sometimes you hit a heavy spot and the baler can't bale as fast as the tractor is moving.

    3) Be aware that the old Fords used an odd sized PTO coupling and will require either an adaptor, or for the PTO shaft to be changed to the more modern style.
     
  4. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,180
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    WI
    I find that my 9N is easy to work on, and parts are readily available from a local dealer, local farm store, and many, many internet and mail order dealers. I would prefer a tractor with live PTO and live hydraulics, though, for an only tractor. There are times when mowing with my 9N when live PTO would really be nice!

    Jim
     
  5. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Not true at all. Old Fords, esp. the 8N, 9N, and 2N are probably the easiest parts to find of any old tractor. I have an 8N. There are companies dedicated to the production and distribution of parts for these tractors. You can build one from scratch today if you wanted, very easily. Even the local Tractor Supply store will supply parts for them, but not for most other old tractors. There are several websites I could point you to that maintain complete catalogues for virtually every part.
     
  6. Bret F

    Bret F Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    655
    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    Location:
    Idaho
    My Dad has an 8N that we use for raking. He has a International-McCormick baler that runs off the PTO. The Ford doesn't have enough power to run it. He has an Allis Chalmers W-D to run the baler. It has the live PTO which is very important with the baler, as the others have said.

    My grandpa farmed with a 9N Ford. His baler had a gas engine to run the baler operation, so the tractor was only pulling it. I don't remember what type of paler he had.
     
  7. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,215
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    Hay balers usually require a tractor that can deliver up to 50 HP to the PTO, a level the 8N's and 9N's probably cannot reach. From personal experience, I can recommend a Massey 165, and they are usually available at good prices. You might also check the tractorbynet.com forum for suggestions. It contains a wealth of information about all things related to tractors. Good luck, and I'm sorry the drought has hit your family so hard. Much of the south has suffered through the opposite problem this year, flooding.

    Ramblin Wreck
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    A live PTO is essential if you are going to round bale and a major benefit for any baling effort. As stated, for a large round baler you will need 50 HP and for a conventional baler 40 HP is nice. I would elect to purchase a Ford in the following series, 3000 3600 3910 3930 to power a conventional baler.
     
  9. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    the round baler I was speaking of does 40 lb round bales and its horse drawn a friend of my husbands bales with it (Belgian power). I would only want a small square baler, we have an old barn with hay loft. Holds 700 + bales of hay/straw but No where to store big old round bales.
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,323
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Soapbox: If you can't buy a few bales of hay to get 4 critters through winter, how will you be able to buy a tractor & baler?????? I don't understand selling the livestock. In your neck of the woods you should have cornstalk bales or something to get the mules through a winter. Psture the hay feilds now if you can't et them cut. There must be more to the story, that you are selling off livestock........

    Sorry, had to get that out..... Back to your questions.

    A Ford N tractor was a terrific machine way ahead of it's time - 60 years ago. They sold a million of them, & parts & all are still very available.

    However they are a 'first edition' and sorly, totally lack any good features in today's world. They are also underpowered for baling. They also are _totally_ overpriced because there are so many people like you who don't know much about tractors, but want a Ford N..... You can buy a much better tractor from the mid to late 1950's for the same money.

    Now, many people do bale with a Ford N. but it is a poor tool for the job. It does not have enough power, and it does not have live pto. That makes for miserable baling.

    To run a square baler, you need about 30-35 hp and live pto. Then the baling is fun actually.

    With live pto, you can push in the clutch to stop the tractor moving, and the pto continues to turn - powering the baler. without live pto, as soon as you push in the clutch, _both_ the tranny & the pto stop moving.

    As you bale, you come across lumps of hay in the windrow, thin spots, fat spots, etc. A Ford N has only 3 or 4 speeds - 1st gear is kinda fast. It is _very_ hard to bale hay without plugging up the baler. You can't drive slow, you can;t push in the clutch & let the baler continue working on the thicker lumps, you don't have enough hp to start with.

    What dealers are near you? Case (Farmall, IHC, & Case), New Holland (Ford & New Holland), John Deere, Agco (Oliver, White, Allis Chalmers, and many others)

    I would go with a popular tractor in _your_ area so parts & knowlege are available. I would get one from the mid 50's or newer so it has live hydraulics, live pto, probably power steering, a 5 speed or more gears, and so forth. (Since folks like you don't 'know' about all these issues, those tractors actually often sell for less than a Ford N.....) I'd look for over 30 hp for baling. You can find the tractors I'm thinking of for $1500 - 3500.

    For a baler, New Holland or John Deere are the only ones to consider. Those 2 companies figured out how to make a good knotter first, and that is _the_ point of baling!!!!!!!! All the other brands are hit & miss, you might get one that works, but odds are you will get a lemon. They just are not dependable. Parts are an issue too. Yea you can get a cheap IHC or Massey baler, but what will you have?????? A headache.

    New Holland starting with the model 69 and going up through the model 271 are all very good smaller balers, $100 - 1000. Be careful to get one in good shape. Most any New Holland dealer will have any part you need for these popular balers in stock on the shelf. For John Deere, they made the 14T & 24T, I understand these are about the equivelent - very good old balers.

    There is a start, ask more questions. I've baled 2000 - 6000 bales a year, my folks did before me. That's over 45 years, still using the same tractor & baler to do it all that time, that NH 270 baler is low capacity but what a work horse. It misses tying about 2 out of 500 bales made - and one of those would be the twine ball change. For some of those other brand balers, I hear people are happy if they miss 'only' 5 out of 100 bales - yuk. Missed knots are a mess.

    --->Paul
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,323
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN

    Would that be a modified Allis Chalmers baler? Thought they were pto powered, but the Amish might have modified it with wheel drive. Anyhow that is an old baler that made small round bales.

    I'm not aware of an other models like that.

    Are you looking to make about 500-700 bales a year? How many acres do you have to bale?

    If you are dead set on the Ford N for a tractor, you can find balers with a Wisconsin engine on it. Does not use the tractor pto. however this makes the baler heavier, & a Ford N gets to be lighter than the baler to control it on hills; and you have a second temermental engine to maintain and get running. But, it gets around the live pto issue......

    --->Paul
     
  12. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    932
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Location:
    South West MI
    Check with the Amish they use bailers with a gas engine mounted on them so you could use your team to pull it.

    mikell
     
  13. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    932
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Location:
    South West MI
    Forgot to say our farms about 100 miles n of Detroit and we got more hay then ever 238 1500 lb bales off of 28 acres for the first cuttin and the second will be square and about 5500 if the output was ths same and we use about 1000. So it's a good year for us.

    mikell
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    Forget about cutting,raking and baling hay with an 8N and don't even consider a 2N or 9N. The cutting and raking is possible but the baler would have to be self powered to bale with an 8N.
    I've got a Ford 2600 which is about the smallest tractor for all around use. It pulls a square baler with no problem, it might have a hard time with a round baler on hills.
    Also remember that round bales are heavy and you would need a way to move them after baling.
     
  15. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    Soapbox: If you can't buy a few bales of hay to get 4 critters through winter, how will you be able to buy a tractor & baler?????? I don't understand selling the livestock. In your neck of the woods you should have cornstalk bales or something to get the mules through a winter. Psture the hay feilds now if you can't et them cut. There must be more to the story, that you are selling off livestock........

    I've never heard of Cornstalk bales "Yuck!"
    Well I'm not just feeding 4 animals thru the winter. I need Hay + pasture for the goats, and I really feel hay is going to go thru the roof this year, as all the hay I've located to buy for the dairy goats has been so discusting I'm not sure the cows would want it. Let alone the goats. So we are Hayless for the goats right NOW! with nothing of quality to buy. So I 've had to resort, since It's NOt going to get hayed, to grazing the goats on the alfalfa, & feeding them pellets, Come winter if I had to feed the cows, + 5 horse type animals + the goats on bought hay + the grain bill for the goats, thats just too much $$ I have usually spent like $500 a month the last few weeks of winter when no pasture was up yet for the combined feeding of goats, equine, cows.. and thats when hay is reasonable. Where as If I sell anybody that will sell I should be able to feed anbody not sold. ie the old mare.
    But Further more the lane to the Alfalfa Is not currently fenced in so as to be inaccessable to the mules, which will happily stomp the goats to death. So we've been having to put way too much TIME into stalling mules, shoveling stalls, escorting goats. To let them pasture for a few hours on the alfalfa , and then let the mules & horse back out to graze.. ay yi yi... It would be just easier to sell them at this time, then the goats would be safe to go unattended out to the hay field. I can't sell the goats because they bring $$ into the farm in the form of cash. In my part of the country its not going to be that hard to find another team. But First be able to put up our own hay for them without kissing Butt! O.K Hope that's enough explaination for ya. :sleep:
     
  16. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    Plus the fact that the * cows got thru the fence while we were gone at a weekend goat show, and grazed it reallllll well. So Maybe, if we keep getting rain, and it gets tall enough again, its currently 6-8'' tall, maybe I can find someone to bale it, but from talking to other people around I should only expect about 150 bale total, One guy I know only got 700 off of 20 acres! Last year we got that much off our 7 acres first cut.

    But the reason for this thread is what kind of tractor, & what kind of baler to buy for my small farm???
     
  17. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    698
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    Location:
    It's a secret
    Here would be my choices depending on the nearness of a parts supplier.

    If you're going to use a self powered baler.

    My first choice would be a Case VAC with a wide front end. The Case eagle claw hitch is a three point system and cat 1 implements will work on it. Slightly higher in HP than the fords. And a better hydraulic system. And most important when choosing, just like Ford, Case is still in business. The going rate around here is about half to 2/3 of what a N series Ford will cost.

    Second choice would be an Allis Chalmers WD45. Lots of power, separate clutching for the PTO, good hydraulics. Will need conversion to a 3pt hitch unless you get all the implements with it. Big disadvantage, AC has been out of business for a long time. Again about half to 2/3 what an N series Ford will cost.

    My third choice would be the Ford 8N. 3pt hitch, great parts availability, easy to work on. Weak hydraulic design. High price due to yuppy factor.

    Fourth would come the 2N and 9N Fords that don't have the wartime magneto ignition. (don't ask unless you want to see smoke come from my ears) Also included in this fourth bunch is the Ferguson TO20 and TO30.

    Now the main reason for my placing them in that order. Hydraulics, Hydraulics, hydraulics! If you have animals and live in snow country the handiest device ever made is the front end bucket. And to have that good hydraulics is a must.

    And for all you IH and Deere fans. Not dissing your brands, just don't have much experience with them.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,323
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Thanks for the explination. I missed out or you didn't mention the goats as well. Yup you got to concentrate on what makes money when the going gets tough. Hay must be quite high where you live. Good hay just sold last week at auction for $16 a medium large round bale, and $1.85 per small square. I thought that was pretty high for road ditch hay, usually you are lucky to get a buck per bale for that stuff. We would spend less than $500 to feed the 5 critters you listed for the whole year. But that is here, & you are there, so you have to do what you do.

    It sounds like you might benifit from a rotational grazing system in the long range plan. I know the movable wire & electric fencer costs money too, but it can really pay off. I am running 40 head of cattle on 9 acres of pasture, plus 7 acres of wasteland & such here in MN. I split the 9 acres into 3 seperate pastures a few years ago, and wow did it help improve my pasture. Much, much more grass, and almost no weeds now. And I'm a far ways from doing intensive grazing 'right'. But making those acres more usable is a cool thing.

    No one does cornstalk bales over there? Really took off around here, perhaps 1/5 of the corn stubble is baled these days. When I put a round alfalfa bale & a cornstalk bale in the cattle feeder, they crowd around the cornstalk 1/2 first. They prefer it to the alfalfa. The leaves are pretty good feed for them, you should look into it. It certainly is not 'yuk' to them, they need some supplimental energy with it, but terrific roughage & fiber for the beef cattle anyhow (as well as dry cows), don't know much about goats. Folks started baling it for straw bedding about 15 years ago 'here' and soon discovered the livestock was leaving the beef quality hay lay in the manger & eating up the bedding..... Humm..... :)

    Right now I have my cattle trimming around some buildings and part of the lawn & some parked machinery, all 40 in an electric tape. Took me 15 minutes to set up this morning, saving 1 day of pasture. If I can do that 10-20 times a year.....

    I do hope, in my defense, that I did answer some of your tractor questions in my first message? I did not want to side-track your thread, but your issue is getting best production out of a plot of land and/or feeding critters. Need to look at the whole picture too. If you are cronically short of hay, there are other ways to achieve part of what you need. $100 of frugal supplies would likely get a temp fence down your field lane, easier to herd the critters. I know what that is like, herding without fence guidlines.... :)

    Best of luck, and my tractor/ baler advice still stands.

    You can get more of the same at an antique tractor forum, www.ytmag.com . Lots of good folks with tractor/ machinery advise there.

    --->Paul
     
  19. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,441
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    SE Washington
    When I first got my cows, I couldn't afford to buy the best hay. I bought bluegrass straw, they ate it and did alright during the winter. I also fed a little grain every once in a while. Mule don't need that good of quality of hay to get by. My cows still eat quite a bit of wheat straw every year and it hasn't hurt them any.

    Bobg
     
  20. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana
    Rambler, thanks I did like your baler selection and reasons very much.... Thanks to every one I'm not set on a tractor type, just asking what I should get that my Hubby can keep running.. Banks will loan on tractors, more easily then hay. I usually at this time of year, am not buying hay at all, because ours is baled already and the 2nd cut is good enough quality for the goats. It's just the goats are looking THin right now, and we can't have that. It's my intention to finish subdiving better the 30 acres of pasture, and we have been working on the fence every day, but It can't be accomplished over night with all the other things I have to do plus having to spend more $$ buying hay/pellets already, and with the Heat, we have been heat sick every day. I don't have anyone to watch my little kids while I am in the field so that makes it harder too. Really If the goats could just get to the hay from the dairy barn without passing the trechorus mule zone, but we have to walk them clear up the lane past the driveway & yard then thru mule territory, somethings gotta change. Too many problems attacking at once :viking: