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I am trying to figure out how much tractor I should buy. When we lived on 11 acres I had a 35hp diesel that seemed near perfect for the land (some rolling hills) and about 10 acres was pasture land that was already cleared. The new farm in SEMO is around 90 +/- acres, is mostly flat with only one hill where the house will be and two creeks. We already have established pastures with the largest of them being right at 13 acres. I will be mostly mowing the pastures, hauling a carry-all, pulling small stumps, hauling hay rolls, grading the drive, etc. I have heard that for a place that size I should look close to the 75hp but, I think may 50hp or so would work. I do want diesel and prefer JD, MF, Ford, Kioti and Kubota since they are relatively easy to get parts for. That doesn't mean I'll thumb my nose at most any decent tractor, but my last one (TAFE 35DI) had a Simpson diesel the was very expensive when it came to parts, assuming I could find them!

o, if your place sounds like mine, what size tractor do you use?
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What brand and model of the 35Hp diesel? This way, looking up on the tractor sites, we'll know the top travel speed.

Some Japan made tractors have higher gears to cruise at while cutting along with a multi-speed PTO that can sweetly place 540rpms in various bands to setup.

That is a huge amount of mowing! Almost looks like 2 air strips. Near my location is a long grass airstrip too. A Ford 4000 (55hp) diesel with a multi-gang (wide area) mower group does that field.

Woods has a Wide Area setup
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Or if cost is an issue, then the Woods Batwing mower is a better option, but it's more like a brush cutter and not golf course perfect.

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In the Yanmar realm of tractors, the YM4300 aka JD1050 would do the job nicely. It's 43Hp diesel with TURBO boost. It will sip fuel better than the Ford 4000 diesel, but it depends on what you are using it for.

I only picked tractors that are non-computer, easy to maintain yourself without limp-mode to a dealer costing thousands.
 
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We probably have a very similar set up to yours with the exception that we have a lot of hills.....LOL.....Between the misses and myself and her one brother and her dad we have about 100 acres total. (No need to go into the breakdown of the land) Anyway, we square and round bale hay for cattle, sheep and horses. Probably about 50 to 75 round bales and about 1,000 square bales a year. The largest tractor that we have on the farm is a John Deere 4020 diesel but about the only thing it gets used for is the round baler and pulling out a smaller one that gets stuck if needed..

My father-in-law just bought a new primary tractor for him. It is a 2855 Massey which is 55 about 55 horse...
I have a 2020 John Deere, which is about 55 horse and my CK3510 Kioti, which is 35 horse....
Here brother just has an older 4300 John Deere, which is about 33 horse....

We have plenty of tractor for what ever we want/need to do.....

I think that you would be fine with a 50 or so horse, 4 wheel drive with a FEL.....
 

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I think that you would be fine with a 50 or so horse, 4 wheel drive with a FEL....
I don't for a number of reasons, mainly round bales.

Modern round bailers will require a minimum of 60 pto horsepower to roll a 4x5 round with average density which is what the NH 450 I just sold and my new Kubota 4x5 round bailer specifies as MINIMUM PTO power to run 4x5 bales and you'll need some serious pto power to efficiently run a bat wing chopper of any size where you won't be out there for days on end.

I would not run any tires but R1 and certainly not R4's or any industrial style flat tread tire and I would buy a cab tractor, not an open station, especially if you are running hay for 2 reasons. One the chaff factor when bailing and 2, rotary hay mowers require an enclosed cab tractor to mitigate aby chance of thrown (by the cutter heads) objects that can become missiles and hit your butt in the back when mowing and most disc mowers will also require at least 60 pto input power especially if the have crimp rolls.

Always buy LARGER than what you think will work because it's always better to have excess power, than not enough. Excess power means you aren't running the bags out of the tractor constantly and actually uses less fuel because you aren't pushing the engine's limits constantly and not pushing the engine also reduces down time and parts breakage.

Far as tractors go, any brand is fine. I happen to run Kubota Pre 4 units and I'm close to 100 acres but my fields aren't contiguous to each other so I spend some time on the road as well. I grow hay (alfalfa grass mix) and sell it all and all in rounds. Just sold my NH575 square bailer as I have no need for it anymore. I run net bales because one, it's quicker than twine and 2, net bales store better if left outside.

You will need at least 2 sets of remotes typically and 3 is ok as well. All disc mowers will require 2 sets, one for the swing cylinders and one for head lift cylinders and most round bailer also require 2, one set for the tailgate and another for the pickup if it's hydraulic.

I have 2 tractors, the open station does nothing but pull the rake (pictured) and pulls the bat wing mower. The other cab tractor, pulls the disc mower and the round bailer. Nothing worse that running dry hay with an open station unit. The chaff will make you itch for a week. On the subject of rakes, I only run a rotary, not a side delivery roper rake. A rotary cuts dry down time by at least a day, produces a fluffy windrow and is much easier to bale as it won't plug the pickup with a wad of roped hay.

540 pto is fine (but keep in mind that most larger disc mowers are 1000, 21 spline pto (mine isn't but I ordered it as a 540). My cab tractor has both 540 and 1000 pto if I need it.

Hay can be easy with the right equipment or it can be hell with the wrong equipment, especially an under powered tractor.

The issue with buying ANY pre 4 tractor will be finding one that isn't beat to shit and even the beat to shit ones command a high price because the bottom line is they aren't built any more and owners realize that so resale on a pre 4 unit in good condition will be high. Example, my 2002 open station is worth over 30 today and sold new for 38. My cab tractor cost 56 and is worth 49 today (optioned like it is). neither are for sale.

Even new post 4 units are hard to get today with the supply chain BS happening. Typical order to delivery is running 6 months, sometimes more. You would be real lucky to find one sitting at a dealer for sale today.

As an aside, last tractor I had was a 50 pto horse Kubota cab tractor (before my large frame units I now own and I was always running out of power when rolling round bales. 50 pto is just not enough. I'd find myself advancing the throttle to the stop trying to maintain 540 at the stub. That don't work well at all.

Whatever you get (used or new) buy one from either a local dealer, or buy a used one that has a local to you dealer. Buying a tractor with no local dealer support is asking for trouble if it breaks and you need professional help in repairs. people shop with their wallet foremost and buying a unit with no local dealer is asking for trouble down the road. I don't price, I buy on 'do I have a local dealer in case I have an issue that requires professional assistance.

One of the reasons I have 2, not one is because the one thing you don't want to have happen is a mechanical breakdown in the middle of harvesting hay. Hay has to come off in a timely manner because the longer it sits in a field, the more chance you have of it getting rained on and rained on hay is basically worthless. Sure you can re rake it or ted it out and rake it again, but the bottom line is, once it gets wet the the feed value (RFV) goes to shit and if it gets a heavy rain event on it, might as well rake it off the field into the ditch because it's worthless at that point.

When you sell it commercially, like I do, any buyer will be looking closely at it and they won't pay top dollar for shit hay. How it plays and how I roll. I probably run 1000 rounds a year on all cuts and it vanishes quickly. I have a reputation around here for quality forage and have no issue selling it and getting top buck.

Finally, I have preservative application on my bailer and a 50 gallon drum of Greensaver in the shop but I rarely, if ever use it. it works, it's expensive but cattle and especially horses don't like the smell of it.

been doing this about 15 years now and I know what works and what don't. Being a hobby farmer and rolling a few rounds or a hundred or so labor intensive squares, it don't really matter but, when you get a sizeable investment in equipment (I'd guess my investment in tractors an equipment is over 200 grand total, you get serious about what you are doing. For me, it's not a hobby. The farm makes money. Just like any business. If it don't make a profit, it's not worth doing.

When I square bailed and I did all the squares on contract, my typical bale run was 1000 squares and my best day bailing combined wheat straw for the local road commission was 2500 bales in one day from dawn to dark and no I didn't handle them. That was up to the landowner. I don't fiddle with idiot cubes, too much handling.

In closing, if the ground is basically flat, you don't need the added expense of front wheel assist, it costs more and is basically not needed but you do need a front end loader with an SSQA quick attach so you can exchange implements on the loader quickly, ie: go from a bucket to a hay spear.

Don't sell yourself short with a marginally powered tractor because you'll regret that decision every time you run out of power. Been there, did that and learned the hard way that excess power is a whole lot better than not enough. Have 2 disc mowers. The one pictured which is a side swing I use on odd shaped fields and a center swing I use on rectangular shaped fields.
 

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I might add that machines are inherently heavy, especially round bailers when the bale chamber is full so don't buy a lightweight tractor because the machine will be horsing you around all the time. A typical full round bailer will weigh in the excess of 7000 pounds and a disc machine weighs around 5000 pounds, that especially holds true with a 2 wheel drive unit, you don't want wheel spin as it destroys the plants. I rarely use front wheel assist but I have it if needed. FWA tractors always cost more to buy than a 2wd unit, but the resale is always more as well. Way back when I had my 50 horse cab tractor and pulling a John Deere 12-20 MoCo, my 50 horse unit was always squirrely. Still have that mower but only as a backup machine.

Don't take a gob of power to run a sickle bar mower conditioner but it does to run a disc machine. A disc machine is like a series of rotary lawnmowers with conditioning rolls to crimp the forage for faster drydown but I can mow any standing crop, no matter how thick at any speed I can stay in the seat at and it never plugs up unlike a sickle bar mower which is a constant PITA. In fact, a disc machine prefer a faster ground speed to keep it loaded with material.

All from experience and what works for me may not work for you. It's all a crapshoot anyway. I've spent years perfecting my method.
 

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I don't for a number of reasons, mainly round bales.

Modern round bailers will require a minimum of 60 pto horsepower to roll a 4x5 round with average density which is what the NH 450 I just sold and my new Kubota 4x5 round bailer specifies as MINIMUM PTO power to run 4x5 bales and you'll need some serious pto power to efficiently run a bat wing chopper of any size where you won't be out there for days on end.

I would not run any tires but R1 and certainly not R4's or any industrial style flat tread tire and I would buy a cab tractor, not an open station, especially if you are running hay for 2 reasons. One the chaff factor when bailing and 2, rotary hay mowers require an enclosed cab tractor to mitigate aby chance of thrown (by the cutter heads) objects that can become missiles and hit your butt in the back when mowing and most disc mowers will also require at least 60 pto input power especially if the have crimp rolls.

Always buy LARGER than what you think will work because it's always better to have excess power, than not enough. Excess power means you aren't running the bags out of the tractor constantly and actually uses less fuel because you aren't pushing the engine's limits constantly and not pushing the engine also reduces down time and parts breakage.

Far as tractors go, any brand is fine. I happen to run Kubota Pre 4 units and I'm close to 100 acres but my fields aren't contiguous to each other so I spend some time on the road as well. I grow hay (alfalfa grass mix) and sell it all and all in rounds. Just sold my NH575 square bailer as I have no need for it anymore. I run net bales because one, it's quicker than twine and 2, net bales store better if left outside.

You will need at least 2 sets of remotes typically and 3 is ok as well. All disc mowers will require 2 sets, one for the swing cylinders and one for head lift cylinders and most round bailer also require 2, one set for the tailgate and another for the pickup if it's hydraulic.

I have 2 tractors, the open station does nothing but pull the rake (pictured) and pulls the bat wing mower. The other cab tractor, pulls the disc mower and the round bailer. Nothing worse that running dry hay with an open station unit. The chaff will make you itch for a week. On the subject of rakes, I only run a rotary, not a side delivery roper rake. A rotary cuts dry down time by at least a day, produces a fluffy windrow and is much easier to bale as it won't plug the pickup with a wad of roped hay.

540 pto is fine (but keep in mind that most larger disc mowers are 1000, 21 spline pto (mine isn't but I ordered it as a 540). My cab tractor has both 540 and 1000 pto if I need it.

Hay can be easy with the right equipment or it can be hell with the wrong equipment, especially an under powered tractor.

The issue with buying ANY pre 4 tractor will be finding one that isn't beat to shit and even the beat to shit ones command a high price because the bottom line is they aren't built any more and owners realize that so resale on a pre 4 unit in good condition will be high. Example, my 2002 open station is worth over 30 today and sold new for 38. My cab tractor cost 56 and is worth 49 today (optioned like it is). neither are for sale.

Even new post 4 units are hard to get today with the supply chain BS happening. Typical order to delivery is running 6 months, sometimes more. You would be real lucky to find one sitting at a dealer for sale today.

As an aside, last tractor I had was a 50 pto horse Kubota cab tractor (before my large frame units I now own and I was always running out of power when rolling round bales. 50 pto is just not enough. I'd find myself advancing the throttle to the stop trying to maintain 540 at the stub. That don't work well at all.

Whatever you get (used or new) buy one from either a local dealer, or buy a used one that has a local to you dealer. Buying a tractor with no local dealer support is asking for trouble if it breaks and you need professional help in repairs. people shop with their wallet foremost and buying a unit with no local dealer is asking for trouble down the road. I don't price, I buy on 'do I have a local dealer in case I have an issue that requires professional assistance.

One of the reasons I have 2, not one is because the one thing you don't want to have happen is a mechanical breakdown in the middle of harvesting hay. Hay has to come off in a timely manner because the longer it sits in a field, the more chance you have of it getting rained on and rained on hay is basically worthless. Sure you can re rake it or ted it out and rake it again, but the bottom line is, once it gets wet the the feed value (RFV) goes to shit and if it gets a heavy rain event on it, might as well rake it off the field into the ditch because it's worthless at that point.

When you sell it commercially, like I do, any buyer will be looking closely at it and they won't pay top dollar for shit hay. How it plays and how I roll. I probably run 1000 rounds a year on all cuts and it vanishes quickly. I have a reputation around here for quality forage and have no issue selling it and getting top buck.

Finally, I have preservative application on my bailer and a 50 gallon drum of Greensaver in the shop but I rarely, if ever use it. it works, it's expensive but cattle and especially horses don't like the smell of it.

been doing this about 15 years now and I know what works and what don't. Being a hobby farmer and rolling a few rounds or a hundred or so labor intensive squares, it don't really matter but, when you get a sizeable investment in equipment (I'd guess my investment in tractors an equipment is over 200 grand total, you get serious about what you are doing. For me, it's not a hobby. The farm makes money. Just like any business. If it don't make a profit, it's not worth doing.

When I square bailed and I did all the squares on contract, my typical bale run was 1000 squares and my best day bailing combined wheat straw for the local road commission was 2500 bales in one day from dawn to dark and no I didn't handle them. That was up to the landowner. I don't fiddle with idiot cubes, too much handling.

In closing, if the ground is basically flat, you don't need the added expense of front wheel assist, it costs more and is basically not needed but you do need a front end loader with an SSQA quick attach so you can exchange implements on the loader quickly, ie: go from a bucket to a hay spear.

Don't sell yourself short with a marginally powered tractor because you'll regret that decision every time you run out of power. Been there, did that and learned the hard way that excess power is a whole lot better than not enough. Have 2 disc mowers. The one pictured which is a side swing I use on odd shaped fields and a center swing I use on rectangular shaped fields.

Hmmmmm....I reread his post and he said nothing about bailing hay so, not sure that he needs a 100 horse tractor for bailing.......
 

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He said 'hay rolls' so I would presume he's gonna roll his own at some point.

Well, hopefully he will come back on here and read our replies and figure out if he is going to roll his own or just have someone else roll it and him haul it.....

I know of several folks in my area that don't want to mess with rolling theirs....They will cut it and rake it and then hire someone to come in and roll it then they haul it out of the field......I have a friend that does a lot of this custom bailing every year.....

If he is planning on rolling his own ,then I agree with you that 50 horse is not going to cut it at all.....
 

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He said 'hay rolls' so I would presume he's gonna roll his own at some point.
And you would be correct! The only caveat at this point is that the neighbor to our south has offered us his tractor and bailer when that time comes. As much as I like the idea of using something for free, I also like the idea of just having it there when I need it. Round or square bails will be determined by how much we can spend. Up front it will be a tractor with FEL hay spike and forks, carry-all, boom pole, box blade and a brush hog as a minimum. I'll need a tiller, a spray rig and an auger, but those will be as they and the cash become available via craigslist/Marketplace, etc.
 

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And you would be correct! The only caveat at this point is that the neighbor to our south has offered us his tractor and bailer when that time comes. As much as I like the idea of using something for free, I also like the idea of just having it there when I need it. Round or square bails will be determined by how much we can spend. Up front it will be a tractor with FEL hay spike and forks, carry-all, boom pole, box blade and a brush hog as a minimum. I'll need a tiller, a spray rig and an auger, but those will be as they and the cash become available via craigslist/Marketplace, etc.

And a bigger then 35 horse tractor if you are going to do the 4X5 or larger round bales........
 

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And a bigger then 35 horse tractor if you are going to do the 4X5 or larger round bales........
Hmmm... Industry standard for maximum diameter on round bales is 5 foot. They don't come any larger unless you go to large squares and no 35 horse tractor can ever hope to run a large square bailer or a 4x5 round baler for that matter. Minimum pto power for a round baler capable of running max diameter bales will be no less than 50 pto.

NH sells a round baler with a 45 horse minimum pto power requirement but it's special order and has special discs in the bale chamber to reduce input power. and you won't be rolling very dense bales either. Density equals weight equals input power.

You could get by with less but bale diameter will decrease as well plus, you don't want to be jerking around any bailer that weighs more than the tractor powering it. Recipe for disaster.
 

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Hmmm... Industry standard for maximum diameter on round bales is 5 foot. They don't come any larger unless you go to large squares and no 35 horse tractor can ever hope to run a large square bailer or a 4x5 round baler for that matter. Minimum pto power for a round baler capable of running max diameter bales will be no less than 50 pto.
Wrong.......................New Holland and John Deere both have round baler models that will go to a 6 foot diameter round bale.......I am sure that others do also......

Look up a John Deere 460 series for an example.......
 

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You are correct, I stand corrected but not New Holland, just JD. Not gonna work with a 35 horse tractor anyway. I know very little about green stuff anyway.
 

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You are correct, I stand corrected but not New Holland, just JD. Not gonna work with a 35 horse tractor anyway. I know very little about green stuff anyway.

New Holland Roll Belt 560 will do a 72 inch diameter round bale according to their website....

 

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Lets not.... Oklahoma is 1000 miles from here. First off, a 72" diameter round bale with any kind of density (weight) would be impossible for most people to handle. Too heavy to move around. My customer specifies 5 foot diameter bales so that is what I run. 60" is what he's geared for so that is what I do.

Reminds me of the guy down the road with a 5 foot wide JD round baler. He found out the hard way that transporting them on a public road on a flat rack is a no no when he got fined for a non permitted over width load. 5 wide bales side by side is overwidth.

Same applies to a 72" diameter bail. You cannot double stack them on a conventional flat bed trailer, they would be over 13'6" on a standard height flat bed which is what my customer hauls them on.

Just sold a Roll Belt NH bailer.

Don't much care as a 35 horsepower tractor still don't work, 5 foot or 6 foot, makes no difference.
 

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Lets not.... Oklahoma is 1000 miles from here. First off, a 72" diameter round bale with any kind of density (weight) would be impossible for most people to handle. Too heavy to move around. My customer specifies 5 foot diameter bales so that is what I run. 60" is what he's geared for so that is what I do.

Reminds me of the guy down the road with a 5 foot wide JD round baler. He found out the hard way that transporting them on a public road on a flat rack is a no no when he got fined for a non permitted over width load. 5 wide bales side by side is overwidth.

Same applies to a 72" diameter bail. You cannot double stack them on a conventional flat bed trailer, they would be over 13'6" on a standard height flat bed which is what my customer hauls them on.

Just sold a Roll Belt NH bailer.

Don't much care as a 35 horsepower tractor still don't work, 5 foot or 6 foot, makes no difference.

OK............We will not drop the issue then...............If you would go back and read my original reply you would find that what I said is true..............I said that a 35 horse tractor would not work to run a round baler that did 4 X 5 or larger round bales.......You then had to jump in and try to point out that I didn't know what I was talking about with the "or larger" part of my post. Now, I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the USA you can buy a round baler that will make a round bale that is larger then a 4 x 5......The issue was never the horse power of the tractor or if a round bale larger then 4 x 5 was practical, useful or anything else..........You made the issue all about the size of a bale that a round baler could produce.......So, care to add anymore to this drawn out, BS issue?
 

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If I implied you didn't know what you were commenting about, I apologize but a 35 horse tractor won't do the job none the less.
 
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