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?
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
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.
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?