Tractor or Four wheeler

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by stanb999, May 12, 2005.

  1. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I have a question about which would be better cash wise or more usefull. I've been looking into Buying a machine to help me do the work around the homestead. What I have seen so far is a tractor is a much more expensive but with the three point hitch it can do alot of stuff. However you can do many of the same jobs with a fourwheeler. LIke you can tow things or get attachments to plow or seed. Has anyone purchased any of the tow behind tools from Northern tool? Does a tow behind mower work well?

    I guess it comes down to the fact that I want the best Bang for my Buck.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Thanks for bringing this up, 'cause I'd like to hear some opinions, as well. I drool over all the attachments you can get nowdays for four-wheelers, and they're so much more inexpensive than tractors and attachments!

    Yes, I know... mtman and I were just given that great little Kubota (with bush hog and flat blade) so our tractor problems are solved. But, I'm still very curious about how well people like the four-wheeler and various attachments.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Four wheelers are valuable tools on the farm. I have one and I would not like to be without it. On the other hand as far as using one for tillage purposes they are a joke. I see the same hunting programs that show planting food plots but a four wheeler is not a tractor and never will be. You can distribute seed with an electric drive seed slinger using a four wheeler but for seed bed preparation the answer is no. Buy a used old tractor.
     
  4. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Agmantoo,
    That's the kind of info I'm looking for. I was also thinking that a four-wheeler would be great for manure. Small enough to drive up to the stalls pulling that little manure spreader, and just shovel it in... drive it to the unused portion of the pasture and spread it. Do you know how well those small spreaders work?
     
  5. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    It all comes down to the issue of WHAT you want the machine to do. Evaluate what jobs you intend to do with the machine ...

    For example: Are you going to need a front-end loader for some jobs in the future? A loader can be added to a basic tractor at a later date, but I've never seen an effective one made for a 4-wheeler.

    For example: Will a 4-wheeler have the right power-to-weight ratio for many of the jobs ... or will it spin the tires?

    Another question: Repairs ... Are you going to do the inevitable repair work on the machine yourself ... or have to send it out?
    (I have a friend's 4-wheeler in the yard right now ... and I've literally got to take half the engine apart to change the starter! Changing the starter on my tractor is a simple 20-minute job.)

    One thing to be very aware of ... since 4-wheelers have become popular, the quality of many brands has slipped.

    Tractor or 4-wheeler?
    I'd recommend a tractor.
     
  6. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    I was originally wondering if the 4-wheeler could pull a decent-sized log out of the woods... but now that we have a tractor, of course we'd use that. The disadvantage there is size. The 4-wheeler can fit in smaller places and do less surface damage, wouldn't it? Back on the manure thing, the tractor might be more awkward to pull up in front of the stalls for cleaning.

    Hmmm. I know I don't need both. Maybe I'm just still drooling over all those cute attachments for 4-wheelers at Northern Tools! Hopefully it's just my infatuation with them, and will fade away as I get used to the tractor. :)
     
  7. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    True, the 4-wheeler will fit in smaller places than a tractor - but it's not necessarily true that it will cause less surface damage. Many people mistakenly believe the amount of surface damage caused by a machine is a direct result of its weight ... which is simply not true.
    It's hard to explain properly, but look at it like this ... take a 300-pound football player and put him in work boots. Then take a 100-pound housewife and put her in high heels.
    The 100-pound housewife is going to cause more surface damage because her weight is concentrated on a tiny area.

    Cleaning stalls with a tractor can be a problem. (I know I wouldn't try it with my 'no power steering' tractor.) I know one guy who uses a John Deere riding mower with a small "snow blade" on the front to clean his barn.

    As for attachments ... it's probably easier to modify old horse-drawn equipment to work with a tractor.
    (I just modified an 1891 disk harrow to work with the 3-point on my tractor. Works great!)
     
  8. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    Consider the process of pulling something. A tractor has gears low enough to pull larger objects that a 4 wheeler can. This is important if you are going to cut trees, do landscaping or till fields. Sometimes, the turtle does have it right.
     
  9. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Tractor, hands down.

    A tractor will hold it's value for a lifetime.
     
  10. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Thanks for that! The surface damage thing makes perfect sense.

    Now about that conversion... did you just weld the three bars on to line up with the holes and stick pins in?, or is there some tricky something that I should know about?
     
  11. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    Stanb, I'm SO sorry... I kinda hijacked your thread by asking questions!!
    I'll stand back now so you can jump back in! :eek:
     
  12. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    Not a difficult conversion at all ... a little bit of creative metalwork and welding, plus adding pins. Had to add 200-pounds of weight to the back of the harrow though ... to compensate for the weight of the man who used to sit on it while using it.
     
  13. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    No problem... I'll just have mtman sit back there while I drive! :p Oh, he'll have to hold a small pound of grain to make up the difference! :haha:
     
  14. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Personally I would get (and did) a tractor before getting a 4-wheeler. Our place is 47.5 acres (soon to be 55.5 acres) and a tractor is much more practical than a 4 wheeler for a lot of jobs. the other point is that most tractors are more robust than 4 wheelers.

    I would love to have a Polaris Ranger 4x6 but I look at the price tag on them and cringe.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  15. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    My four wheeler does lots of jobs I would not want to do with the tractor. Also, my 4 wheeler does significantly less surface damage because it has large wide tires, and is lighter. If the tires were smaller or more narrow, it might do more surface damage. It does not compact the ground nearly as much as the tractor. Both have their place. If your dirt was not real hard like my clay, my 4 wheeler could easily prepare the soil. It will pull a lot more than one might think at first look. Of course, I got the Kawasaki Prairie 650 Twin engine.
     
  16. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Another angle!!!! I drive my 4 wheeler slowly to the woods and the deer scatter. I drive my small diesel 4x4 tractor with loader to the woods and have to nearly push them out of the way. They also run from my electric golf cart but I think it's because I sneak up on them. MMMMMM venison!



    mikell
     
  17. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another alternative to the tractor vs 4-wheeler is a 4x4 truck. That's what I use. My tractor is for sale now, you want it?

    It comes down to what you need to do. Do you need a 3 point hitch and pto or not. I don't plow large fields, and I don't need a bush hog. My garden tiller and big riding mower are enough to do the job. For the big pulling jobs and such my pickup truck does just fine. In fact, it does better than my tractor (old Ford 8N) ever did.

    You can fit a 3 point hitch onto a pickup truck if you want to. It's really not hard to fit one onto a receiver hitch. Tapping the power steering pump provides the hydraulic lift.
     
  18. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I haul about 3 cords of firewood a year out of our woodlot with the atv. We also have a small sawmill and I drag logs out behind a homemade arch:
    [​IMG] We till the gardens with a troybilt tiller.

    I like the atv because I can also use it for recreation, mostly ice fishing. I do miss having a bucket with hydraulic lift though; and a tractor would probably be more durable, esp. a diesel.
     
  19. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We have a small manure spreader that we pull with our Honda Rancher or Foreman ATV's and it works very well. We also have a new JD tractor, and its NICE to have both! I love the ATV's to zip up to the hay barn and roll a big bale of alfalfa on it to take to the sheep pasture. The tractor is awesome...don't know how we did without it for so long.
     
  20. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I farm for a living with 7 tractors, so yea at the end I will say the tractor. Might as well be upfront. :)

    Anyhow, what do you need done? The tractor will pull all day, work hard, do many different things.

    The ATV will get you somewhere fast & quick, haul small light loads, and be more fun.

    If you need tillage, the ATV will struggle with it & burn out the clutch.

    If you need to maintain miles of fence, the tractor will take you a lot longer & not get through as much jungle....

    The little ATV implements from Northern & the like are, like, gag me with a spoon, weak. ;)

    You can buy a 40 year old 3pt Dearborn disk for less money and will do you much, much more work for the rest of your life, & your kids can sell it for the same money you paid for it. The New ATV tool is going to bend, crack, & not last.

    Same with an old tractor. You can get a nice IHC, Olliver, Ford, or other tractor with live pto, hydraulics, & 3pt for under $5000, under $3000 sometimes and work it all your life, it will likely be worth more when you are done with it than you paid for it. (Beware the Ford N series - these are so beloved that they are commanding double their real value, and lack many options you will get with a Ford 100 series; Ollie 55, IHC 300, or others. Many of these mid 50-60's tractors are priced the same, but offer a lot more options than a Ford N series....)

    The ATV will cost a ton new, and the motor & tranny are designed to move you, not designed for heavy pulling & work.....

    So, are you looking for some fun & need to travel your property? Think ATV. It can scrape by working on a garden or so. Can be real good for a livestock operation with not any crop land.

    Are you looking to do real dirt work, get a loader bucket, have slow speeds for a mower, planter, looking for pto equipment or hydraulics power? The tractor will be better for that. And if you don't get one of those China things it will likely be worth more as you own it.....

    --->Paul