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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day to all. New to the forum here, but loving all the info. Also, new to the hay scene, though I grew up working on a row crop farm. I just purchased 30 acres in South Texas with established jiggs on part of it, and plan to play around with small squares, as much as anything to give my three boys some farming experience. I'm looking for advice on tractors. I've been scouring Craigslist and TractorHouse as well as talking with dealers in the area. The baler I am looking at is a used 2017 new holland 5070 (any advice on this baler would be appreciated as well). My understanding is that I need at least 75 pto horsepower for this baler. I would be using the same tractor to mow, rake, and bale. My budget would be up to $70,000 for a tractor. I'm open to all suggestions, ranging from old open cab John Deeres to brand new, any brand. We have John Deere, Case IH, and Kubota dealers in town. Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome to HayTalk
IMHO $70,00 for a tractor to hay 30 acres is excessive $$$$$ but it's you that has to justify that high amount not me.

If you desire to stay away from electronics & newer type fuel controls the JD 40,50 & 55 series tractor are normally very dependable except the model 2840 which weren't very good when they were new. I've read good reviews on JD 6000 series tractors & I personally don't like the JD 5XXXE series tractors.

My JD 4255 although larger than you need has 11,504 hrs showing on the speed/hr meter & is only worth about $25,00-$30,000 & has baled way over 150,000 rd bales since I purchased it used in '93. I also own a Kubota M7040(64 pto hp) that has been trouble free with 1700 hrs on speed/hr meter that's only worth about $35,000. I also own a Ford 6700 with over 13,000 hrs on speed/hr meter that's raked many 1000's of acres since I purchased it used 10 yrs ago that's worth less than $10,000. & I think the older(80's-90's) 6XXX & 7XXX Ford tractors are very good. All my tractors have cabs with operating air conditioners.

I've read good reviews on NH sq balers such as the 5070. I prefer JD sq balers due to my having operated/repaired them since the mid 1960's & JD balers are easier for me to diagnose/repair if needed. JD 348 are very dependable balers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. I certainly agree with it being hard to justify 70k! I put the number that high so as not to rule any option out. I am in a unique situation in that I sold a business this year, and unless I spend a little money, I will have a tax problem. That's not a big reason to overspend, but it does play into the reason I would be willing to spend that much if necessary. Also, though I would like this venture to cash flow at some point, I have another business that puts the food on the table, so not so much pressure to get by for bottom dollar.

I grew up running 30 and 40 series John Deeres, and would be happy to go that route, if that's the advice I receive. Just wasn't sure if those tractors are getting old enough that they will need constant maintenance and repairs?

What's the heaviest tractor you would feel comfortable with in a hay field? Is a 4440 too heavy? Sorry for the newbie questions. Just trying to get educated. Thanks in advance!
 

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That's a lot of money for not a lot of acres that you likely might not ever recoup. I square bale 40 acres all on older used equipment, I'm talking 80's and 90's vintage). Unless you want a brand new tractor and a newer baler that size, it doesn't make sense for a small operation like that.

If you're wanting to farm with your boys, you'd probably want to be looking at a cab tractor so they can ride along safely. You can find decent used MFWD loader tractors in the $30-40k range with a buddy seat and that would have a lot of practical uses for the other demands of acreage. Having a loader gives you the option to run a grapple if you want to upgrade your bale handling. If you don't anticipate the need for much loader work than you wouldn't need the 4 wheel drive. My ears always perk up whenever I hear a local 55 series JD for sale.

I'd also recommend a smaller tractor for raking, but has enough power that could also run all of your equipment in case you have a tractor breakdown. Having a raking tractor out ahead of the baler will help get your hay in significantly faster. A 50-60 hp range tractor would be perfect. I'm impartial to Ford tractors because they're easy on fuel, reliable, and inexpensive to purchase and own. This smaller tractor would be more nimble for other uses such as brush hogging.

//edit: just saw your reply post at the same time as mine. For square baling, 4440 is way too big. Sweet tractor, I'd love to have one---even a 4430 for nostalgic reasons--but hard to pencil out. They drink a lot of diesel. A lot of those tractors still in regular use today though and are still bringing top dollar.
 

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Travis
I've never experienced the need to spend $$$$ such as you but I now understand what you desire so as to avoid paying taxes. I would recommend you getting a cab tractor. I've never considered my JD 4255 as packing dry soil when baling. Although higher HP of a 125 + isn't required for sq baling the larger engine doesn't allow sq baler to rock tractor similar to smaller displacement engines. As I stated I recommend avoiding tractors with Tier lll & lV fuel systems. Although some people get along fine with the newer fuel systems they just aren't my cup of tea!
 

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Josh
Baling hay in Texas is different than baling hay in Northern USA. I very rarely rake hay in order for it to dry but do rake just in front of my baler. Several custom rd balers in my area have rake/rd baler/tractor combinations
 

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I would not consider a 4440 to big. Gives you many future options by not being under powered, has the weight if needed, and as for drinking fuel it is something I don’t consider. If powershift I would consider passing due to lack of gears. It would really all come down to price, condition, history of tractor if known.

As a test for those worried about fuel. JD 4040 pulling 9.9 ft. Discbine and 4430 pulling 9.9 ft. Discbine. Which uses more fuel?

JD 4040 pulling 12 ft. JD 215 disk and IH 1586 pulling 12 ft. JD 215 disk. Which uses more fuel?
 

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4040 being naturally aspirated will burn more fuel than a 4430 that came from factory with a turbocharger. 4040 burns more fuel per hr than IHC 1586

My JD 4255 uses 3.2 gph & my Kubota M7040 uses 2.5 gph pulling my JD 467 rd baler making 4X5.5 bales. My JD 4255 is more economical on fuel than JD 30 or 40 tractors of similar size due to different style cylinder head
 

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A jd 5075m would seem to work for you. They’re fine machines. The 5xxxE are good tractors but you need to modify them up a bit.
 

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Josh
Baling hay in Texas is different than baling hay in Northern USA. I very rarely rake hay in order for it to dry but do rake just in front of my baler. Several custom rd balers in my area have rake/rd baler/tractor combinations
I never rake hay to dry because it will never dry as well in a windrow as it does out flat, but with only a single tractor, on baling day you have to wait to get it raked before you can start baling, so it limits the time I can spend running a baler through the field, which limits the acreage I can do in a single day. That being said, in my northern climate I have to wait until dew is gone and then have to stop baling before dew sets in the evening, and I don't know how that dynamic changes in S. Texas.

As for the fuel debate, remember this is 30 acres. If a guy wants a discbine for 30 acres...I guess, but it's hard to pencil that out. I'm still using a haybine on 40 acres and they require very little power or fuel. Also for the same amount of land, it's cheaper for me to hire out the infrequent custom tillage than owning the equipment necessary to do so. I'm looking at all of this from the perspective of a very small producer and what makes the most financial sense. Square baling my 40 acres just doesn't have big power requirements.
 

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As already said, sometimes it is easier with multiple tractors of different sizes. I have a 2240 with a loader for miscellaneous chores, a 5400 for raking and rotary mowing and a 5100E with a loader and cab for everything else. I spend a cumulative 200-250 hours on the tractor per year taking care of 28 acres. A drop in the bucket compared to most, but it isn’t my day job either. Buy what works best for your needs, but a tractor that is physically larger than needed will make life difficult when getting in smaller spaces and connecting implements. I am not looking forward to fixing the 5100 when it breaks, but I am enjoying the cab and it isn’t the only tractor I can use with all but one implement I own.

Bottom line, figure out what you will be doing, what implements you need to do it and what tractor fits best. There are a ton of 5070s made and for good reason. Within reason, you can use a smaller tractor than what it is rated for, just need to go slower to get the job done. The M series has some nice stuff, but I can’t afford or justify the added $10K. The E works just fine for me.
 

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My advice would be to buy popular good quality used equipment that with good maintenance will maintain its value and be easy to sell should things not work out....I run equipment that based on some of the above posts would be considered too large and to expensive...but I was careful buying and can recover 100% or more than what I purchased for it.....if your small square baling your largest hp retirement will be a discbine.....my main hay tractor is a jd5105m cab and its far more than I need size wise and certainly didn't cost close to 70k
 

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As already said, sometimes it is easier with multiple tractors of different sizes. I have a 2240 with a loader for miscellaneous chores, a 5400 for raking and rotary mowing and a 5100E with a loader and cab for everything else. I spend a cumulative 200-250 hours on the tractor per year taking care of 28 acres. A drop in the bucket compared to most, but it isn’t my day job either. Buy what works best for your needs, but a tractor that is physically larger than needed will make life difficult when getting in smaller spaces and connecting implements. I am not looking forward to fixing the 5100 when it breaks, but I am enjoying the cab and it isn’t the only tractor I can use with all but one implement I own.

Bottom line, figure out what you will be doing, what implements you need to do it and what tractor fits best. There are a ton of 5070s made and for good reason. Within reason, you can use a smaller tractor than what it is rated for, just need to go slower to get the job done. The M series has some nice stuff, but I can’t afford or justify the added $10K. The E works just fine for me.
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Completely agree other than you couldn’t get me to give up my “M‘s” for “ E’s”. My 5075 is a perfect size chore tractor and is used daily. I have used a 2240, a 2640, a 2755, a 6100 and now a 6115for square baling. The 6100 and 2755 (both 2wd and 38 rears) were the best compromise of size power and maneuverability. If I could just get the 2755 back with a partial power shift, wet clutch, today’s wiring and ac, I would be in seventh heaven 👍
 

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Travis
Here's a '83-'88 94 pto HP tractor with 6 cylinder engine/16 speed trans that would be good to pull hay cutter/sq baler. I have no connections to this tractor rather just saw it on CL. If you're interested in it be sure to check operation of hyd's at engine operating temperature & also check operation of hyd hi-lo & pto at operating temp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Travis
Here's a '83-'88 94 pto HP tractor with 6 cylinder engine/16 speed trans that would be good to pull hay cutter/sq baler. I have no connections to this tractor rather just saw it on CL. If you're interested in it be sure to check operation of hyd's at engine operating temperature & also check operation of hyd hi-lo & pto at operating temp.
Good morning. Thank you for that link. I had actually just saw that tractor on Craigslist last night and was going to contact them about it this morning. How do you check these things out when looking at a tractor?
 

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Travis,
You stated you bought land in South Texas; as you know it gets HOT and DRY! I too have land in South Texas, La Salle county, and I can promise you that you will be happier with a cab tractor. I had open station tractors for years and finally came to the conclusion about noon one June day that there was no need for me to keep dealing with the heat and dust. it only gets hotter and dryer and the summer goes on. Best decision I ever made regarding tractor choices. My opinion is go with a John Deere, I now have two; but opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one. 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I said South Texas, but actual Gulf Coast would be more accurate. Wharton County to be exact. I agree on the cab idea except for one point. Part of this whole endeavor is to teach my boys about good, old fashioned, hard work. I grew up digging post holes by hand, and would like to pass on the experience of sweating to them!
 

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I said South Texas, but actual Gulf Coast would be more accurate. Wharton County to be exact. I agree on the cab idea except for one point. Part of this whole endeavor is to teach my boys about good, old fashioned, hard work. I grew up digging post holes by hand, and would like to pass on the experience of sweating to them!
The boys will be able to ride in the cab much more safely with you though. They will have plenty of opportunity to sweat on the hay wagon.

If you're running a discbine, a cab will be much safer too.
 
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