what is a "good" farm tractor for a 12ish acre vineyard?

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TimTheWiner

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This may be better in the commercial vineyard section, but most of my postings are here so..... Any recommendations on a size/type of tractor that would be best for a 10-12 acre vineyard. It is still VERY early, but I want to propose an idea and some numbers to my cousin with property. I assume 4wd is ideal in case of larger scale projects. What about adequate hp rating, is mid PTO a necessity or good idea? Must have attachments? I really would prefer to be around the $10ish range (used) altough I'm sure I could finance if necessary. Just want to keep the startup costs relatively low, as a lot of capital will go into planting and eventual winery equipment. I'm sure the most important aspects would be something that can accommodate spray attachments, spreader attachments, an auger attachment, which I'm sure most can do.
 

drumlinridgewinery

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You are probably gonna need more of a utility tractor. Most of the major brands have a 18-35 Horsepower series. They come in 4x4 if needed. With or without full enclosed cabs with heat, AC, and am/fm . I would get Rear PTO to run tillers and pulltype mowers. I would upgrade for 2 hydraulic ports. Most come standard with 1. I would go cabless with a foldable ROPS. You need the rollover protection trust me I speak from experience. $10 grand with attachments will be very thin. think at least $16-25 for new. Used would be the way to go if on a budget and if you are a little handy.
 

TimTheWiner

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Sounds good. Initially I was looking around 80 hp but sure seems like overkill. Wondering if less than 40 hp would cut it though if I needed to remove tree stumps, etc. I think $15k used would get me something half decent with a couple attachments. I've read a few articles on vineyard specific tractors, but these are over $50k and seem more for dozens of acres.
 

garymc

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You'll need to plot out your trellis dimensions and distances between rows. Then make sure your tractor is narrow enough to go between the rows!

I use a really old Ford tractor (1970's or 80's) with a three point hitch and a regular farm hydraulic system. I'm thinking I measured the distance between the outside edges of the rear wheels once and it was less than 6 feet. We also have a 4020 John Deere from the 60's that is about 7.5' wide.
 
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WVMountaineerJack

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If you have stumps to remove you might be better off just renting a backhoe and taking them all out at once and get it done with and tailoring your tractor to what you are going to be using it for 99% of the time. We have a Deere compact, only 25 HP so it cant run the bigger attachments, but it has a bucket on the front which is a huge work saver and a tiller and underberry mower and fits anywhere, not sure if it has enough power to run a real sprayer but we got a 40 gal pull behind but we dont actually use it to spray the plants in the rows like berries, more for just roundup. I think if you got up into the 40 horsepower range there are a lot more options in attachments like the side movers, flail mowers, 3 point hitch sprayers etc. WVMJ
 

plowboy

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2x on the stumps. It takes a whole lot of tractor and a little know how to get things rolling.



 

TimTheWiner

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Got some pretty good info from a local tractor place today. They sell Kubota and New Holland and stock used tractors here and there as well. At first he recommended a smaller 27hp unit with grass tires and a bucket for $17,700 new although I liked the larger 33 hp model B3300 I think? With R2 tires and bucket for "only" $700 more ($18,400). I am NOT the type of person to buy a new car or certain other goods, however I would most likely be putting down around $5k and financing the rest. Brand new say $20k after tax would only be $250/month (with $5k down, 0% APR, and 5 yr term). Even a $15k used tractor with the same down payment would cost me $235/month (6% at 4 yrs), so would only cost me $15/month more for brand new with $900 total spent. So seems like a decent option. Of course the attachments are another story, but I think I could get by with just a mower and sprayer for now and would most likely rent the auger bit and other attachments as needed.
 

drumlinridgewinery

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sounds good Tim. We have a 60 horse Kubota that does everything we need. We do a little more farming with it. Its the small tractor on the farm. Great on fuel and really no mechanical problems. We have had it about 10 years.
 

WVMountaineerJack

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You really cant do without a front bucket, its a great force multiplier and time saver. WVMJ
 

kryptonitewine

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We started with an old farmall, then sold that for an old ford, now we have a Jd mid size with a bucket. We have 13 acres all hay. Must haves to me for any farm is a bucket and a mower. You can find cheaper used equipment. All 3 of ours came from farm auctions.
 

Turock

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I also have a Kubota--24 HP with a front end loader, belly mower,4 wheel drive. I don't have a vineyard, but am on 6 acres here with some hilly areas and it's a real work horse. I have a Curtis snowplow on it now and the tractor does a great job of keeping the 500 foot driveway clear even when there's 2 ft. of snow. It's a 1999 model and I've never replaced one part on it. Not even the mower belt!! You'll never go wrong with a Kubota because they have so many sizes of tractors, HP, and attachments for the 3 point hitch. If you have the money, you'll never go wrong with a Kubota.
 

kryptonitewine

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Those kubotas are nice. I couldn't spend that much money which is why we went used and just upgraded every few years. Nice thing is I never lost money on a tractor.
 

TimTheWiner

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So just an update and maybe a few more questions. There is a good chance that whatever land we end up purchasing for a future home residence and/or vineyard will probably need a fair amount of clearing, tree/stump/rock removal, so I am tending to wonder if it is best to look for a machine that is a bit heavier and can handle working out tree stumps and moving cut up trunks, etc. Any other recommendations on models that might better suit these needs, but yet small enough to use in everyday vineyard maintenance/spraying/mowing/earth auger attachments. I think my biggest concern is what is the max width that I should consider? Can a 72" wide tractor comfortable fit in an 8' spaced row, or should I stick with something more narrow. Or option C is just buy a mini excavator or something separately, but I am almost considering buying something NOW just so that I can have it paid off before we buy said property, and maybe can practice and make some extra $$ with excavating and stump removal?
 
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A 72" wide tractor will be too tight traveling 8' wide rows. 9' is tight even and 10' better. You would do better to get 2 seperate units each geared towards their appropriate job.
 

TimTheWiner

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But assuming I did end up with a single tractor for multi-uses (looking at some used units now for around $17k), what is the max width you would feel comfortable with and still 8' rows? Some I am looking at are around 60"-65"
 
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60" would work alright depending on how you train and prune. You will need enough horsepower and weight for the heavier work.
 

cygnus

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I was able to buy a 23 hp Kabota with frontend loader and backhoe new for 18500. We built our own house so dug foundations, waterline, septic system, etc which paid for a bunch of it. We bout 20 acres in WY that had a lot of trees and we got rid of hundreds of them and I dug the roots out with the backhoe. Unless you have something really big pulling stumps is almost impossible but you can always dig them out and if necessary cut the tap root down at 3-4ft under the ground. I could drag probably 2000 lb of trees and if it was too big just cut the logs in two and make another trip.
I was in a construction company with my dad and we had some big equipment and it takes a lot to pull a stump over.

The tractor is 48 in wide and our vine rows are 9 feet. I have a 5 ft tiller that I till the rows with to get rid of thistles and the 5 ft is about all I feel comfortable with. you go up the row about 6 in out from the vines and then come back the other side and it gives you some overlap but also the ability to keep away from accidentally running into the vines. Wife wasn't happy when I hit a couple one time :spm

I have a 5ft box grader to take care of our road and it handles that well. It doesn't dig but about 3/4 inch on a pass but for a road that all you need to smooth it out.

I always want a bigger tractor but my wife always asks "where you gonna turn that thing around?"

I think it is a B2320 Kabota and I love it. two days wide open on 6 gall of diesel. A lot of times kabota has a 4 year zero interest deal so look for that.

Larry
 

TimTheWiner

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Wow, sounds like it handles it well but after speaking to a few people and seeing what kind of beef I need, turns out I will be looking for around 50 hp. The best way to accomplish it and stay under $20k will be like a used MX5000 which I believe is 62" wide. But that's a bit scary thinking that you are 14" narrower and rows are spaced a foot father apart than I was planning.

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mmanto

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Thanks... Can i attach a portable or permanent enclosed cab to a 1999 John Deere 4x4 4100 as i spray chemicals on my vines? Also.. Any info on used tractors?
 

Dennis Griffith

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We have 2 Kubotas and they do all the work on our 30 acre plot. Both are B7500 series and are usually big enough, especially for vineyard maintenance. Just remember to buy implements sized to your tractor and not for a bigger one. Here's a shot of fence expansion for more vines!
IMG_4739.jpg
 

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