Contributors to this thread:
Wishlist for Plotting/Land Management
Hi All - The rut must be underway (in some parts of the country) because it's been awfully quiet around here. Hope everyone is enjoying the woods and having some success out there! I'm 7 weeks into fathering boy #4, which explains why I'm spending time here talking about deer hunting and not actually doing it. Anyhow, since I'm not able to spend much time out there this fall, I'm instead spending time thinking about/planning for the seasons to come. I've discussed some of my ongoing plans with managing our property and future food plotting intents. Thank you to everyone for offering input and advice as it's been helpful in our journey. I've learned much in a short time, but there is still so much more to learn!
To date, we have met with multiple foresters and are close to locking in our plans for timber harvest and stand clearing for plots. As it stands, we are looking at late 2018/early 2019 for this work. I have also taken soil samples for plot locations and received results so I have an idea of what I'm working with. Next step is purchasing equipment for food plots....which brings me here. What is on the list of requirements to get going and maintaining everything? I am budgeting 12-15k for this, half of which I figure will go towards the tractor, leaving 5-7k for additional implements. As a reminder, we only have 94 acres, with some trails and plans for 4 1/2-ish acre plots. We are also in discussions of purchasing adjacent 50acres to expand to a total of nearly 150 acres which already has some smaller clearings for more plots. This is big woods and narrow trails so I am planning on a smaller tractor and implements for maneuverability. Thoughts?
How narrow are your trails? I would check out farm machinery auctions in your area. You can often get equipment at a very reasonable prices. As far as a tractor, you can get a lot of tractor for 6-7 thousand if you look at older models. A cultipacker is invaluable too, IMO.
Ok here goes.
Ford 8n/9n, or ferguson 35 $2200-3500 6' disc with notched 20" front blades less than $800 1x18/16 or 2 x 12 or 14" moldboard plow (if heavy soil) $400 (if sand disc will be fine for primary tillage) 6' bush hog $800-2500 6-10' cultipacker $800-1200 (very important piece if you want clover/alfalfa plots) atv sprayer, can be also pulled or used on tractor $300 cyclone 3pt fertilizer spreader (also works for broadcas seeding large cereal grains like rye $400-800 had seeder (for small seeds like clover/brassicas $45-80 Extra credit: Old 1950s-1970s 8' convential grain drill with small seed box. can be used for soybeans, all grains, and small seed legumes and brassicas in the small seed box, can rig the cultipacker for pull behind. $800
For $6-8000 you have everything you NEED. If you have more money, put it in the tractor. A nice 35 hp diesel with loader and MFWD (4wd) and a 6' back blade for plowing snow will be money well spent. (MY folks recently bought a 1734 massey (34 pto hp) with bigger loader new for $16,800 on 0% interest (Sauk City WI). That will never lose you money. An old sea/land cargo container can work for storage/security if you do not have a barn or live close by.
My 2 cents
T-Roy: Trails run 6ft-8ft for the most part. Some stretches will be widened down the road because of the timber equipment moving in and out, so that's TBD and will not encompass all trails.
Schwister: Good summary! Yes, I was leaning an older tractor in the 30hp range since I am operating on a small tract and subsequently small plots.
If possible, I would try and get something a bit bigger than 30hp. Better to have a bit too much than too little.
Forget to add a 8' drag harrow to pull behind the disc, really helps level and smooth the seedbed prior to planting
Anyone have experience with the Firminator or "like" implements? Since I'm working a small tract I wonder if this is a good option. Don't see too many used out there however.
In investigating this I noticed many pulled with ATV's/UTV's, of which, I thought most were in agreement that this was a foolish idea. Can anyone speak from experience on this?
A tractor is a much better option than an ATV is IMO. If you are really lugging an ATV hard by pulling any heavier equipment for any length of time, you stand a pretty high probability of burning the engine up eventually. They are simply not made for that purpose.
FWIW - I bought a JD 3038e several years ago. I use a 5' tiller and put in about 3 acres of food plots. Seed is broadcasted with an atv spreader, then run an old spike drag harrow over it. Plots are sprayed with an atv sprayer. Also have a 5' mower and box blade. The loader is handier than a pocket on a shirt. I don't know how I got along without the tractor and loader. I tried the disc behind the atv thing...no comparison. I will get a bigger tractor some day. But, for what I do, this setup works.
My cheap homemade drag
My cheap homemade drag
Michael pretty well nailed it, but I'm with Troy on the tractor hp. Mine is a 57 hp and I consider it minimum because it's two wheel drive. If it were four wheel drive, I could probably live with ten hp less. I do pretty well everything I need to do with the M5700 Kubota, a cyclone seeder/spreader, a 6' Land Pride disc, and a homemade tire drag. I did buy a cultipacker this year, and I like it, but got by without it for years.
Edit: My "wish list" would go like this, Drill drill drill drill cute young lady to lubricate and otherwise maintain said drill, fill said drill with seed, and provide an all around good experience.
Full disclosure, I run a kubota M6040 MFWD ROPS, and wish I would have bought a M8540. But, that is because I feed round bales to my horses and live up a very steep driveway. I have to underload the round bale wagon just to get it up the driveway to the barn, and M6040 is just barely enough. My first tractor was a L3130 with R1 tires, it was a hard core little mule, and enough for food plotting and much handier for bush hoggin. For minimum money a ford 8N is both cheap and enough to get by for most.
I do not see a scenario where you will regret a bigger/better tractor, as long as it will fit down your trails. A cab is awesome for some tasks (like moving snow, and mowing in the hot sun), but is a nightmare in the woods cutting trails. Every decision is a tradeoff