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Thread: compact tractor use vs skid steers

  1. #1
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    compact tractor use vs skid steers

    im thinking about buying a 40-50 hp 4x4 tractor instead of a skid steer for brush hogging, pushing or blowing snow, and finishing topsoil for seed. does anyone use tractors instead of skid steers? they seem to have less wear and tear and seem cheaper to run and maintain. ive also seen them with fecon type clearing heads on the rear for clearing lots. has anyone used tractors for clearing much?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Monte1255's Avatar
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    compact tractors with tires will get you through worse conditions than say a 40 to 50 hp skid loader. but in drier conditions a skid loader will move a lot of material, level, and finish very effectively......they tend to get to seem like an extension of yourself after just a few hrs. of operations.

    Putting tracks on the machine or buying a compact track loader will level the playing field as far as getting around in mud and working on sidehills, downside?.........cost.
    www.grunexlandclearing.com
    Maintaining America's Heartland one acre at a time

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    I have both and they are two totally different animals in my opinion. I own a tracked skidsteer and a 4X4 tractor. One can't replace the other for my intended usage. For what you describe, a JD 4700 MFWD w/Loader would be the ticket in my humble opinion. Nothing in your list of tasks justifies the use of a CTL.....Good luck.

    Semper Fi

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    A SS is a great machine if conditions are right, a CUT is a great all around machine. I have owned both and moved a lot of material with each. If your only able to have one then go with a CUT. Don't worry about brand so much, there are many machines out there, do reseach and find what meets your needs. Also if your not mechanically inclined make sure you find a respectable dealer with a good maintenace dept.

  5. #5
    Junior Member imtools's Avatar
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    It seems to me that one big difference has been left out. A CUT with a FEL is not rigid enough for penetrating undisturbed soil while a SS is (the arms bank up against the frame of the machine to allow heavy forward force without bending the arms). That being said, both machines have their benefits-attachments to do just about anything can be had for both but I suspect these attachments are less expensive for CUTs. I have both and they each have their purpose.

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    For a general purpose machine and clearing woods /brush like you want to a skid steer will do way more work then the cut. Cut is good for light duty applications but if you want to do some work get a skid steer. If mud is a problem buy a set of over the tire steel tracks. With those you can go places the cut couldn't dream of. If you buy a cut you may find yourself having to rent a skidsteer but if you buy a skidsteer you won't ever have to rent a cut.

  7. #7
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    An other big difference is that you can't get 115-125 HP and high-flow hydraulics in a compact farm tractor. If you need the power, you'll need to get a SS.

  8. #8
    Founder Steve Frazier's Avatar
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    I've run both and for the work you've listed a tractor would be the better choice. I reclaimed a 30 acre field that had been abandoned for 5 to 10 years with a 50hp tractor and 6' Brush Hog taking down very thick brush and saplings up to 3" diameter. It had an OROPS and the brush was so thick I shredded a pair of Levis. For pushing snow I'd choose the tractor as well, the tractor has better traction in poor conditions. For blowing snow however, the skid steer would be my choice. The majority of tractor blowers are PTO driven and rear mounted while the skid units are out in front driven by high flow. Visibility is better. For finishing topsoil a tractor with a Harley Rake out back and 4 way bucket up front is tough to beat. With the skid steer you're constantly changing attachments. The tractor is better for general mowing too, leaving less turf damage and having the ability to handle large folding mower decks out back. I've mowed fields with a 50hp tractor and 14' bat wing style mower that can really put down some acreage!

    As has been mentioned, the skid steer will run circles around the tractor moving material and digging. Versatility in attachments is endless with the skid making it the better choice for many jobs. Lift capacity is higher as is loading height. I harvest firewood with mine using a grapple rake for carrying log lengths. I'm able to maneuver through the trees quicker than would be possible with a tractor. For heavier work the skid steer is a good choice.

    I've been impressed with New Holland tractors for reliability. I still think Caterpillar skid steers have the best controls and hydraulics but I would definitely stay away from early versions with Perkins engines. They seem to be a ticking time bomb just waiting to implode.

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    I run a skid steer for all the property upkeep tasks, firewood harvesting etc. and have found it to be more versatile and efficient than my brother's tractor. The only exception is for bush hogging the fields and discing - if that kind of work will be the majority of your tasks then go with the tractor with FEL, otherwise skid steer all the way.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwiley View Post
    I run a skid steer for all the property upkeep tasks, firewood harvesting etc. and have found it to be more versatile and efficient than my brother's tractor. The only exception is for bush hogging the fields and discing - if that kind of work will be the majority of your tasks then go with the tractor with FEL, otherwise skid steer all the way.
    I have run Unimogs and any number of wheel tractors with shredders. For general usage I have found the wheels to be more convenient... what I can't reach up to I can tear down with the grapple... in the urban forest they can do so many more jobs than the SS and then fly down the road to the next job. They are more comfortable, don't heat up so bad, use a third of the fuel, way more power to the tool, are easier to work on, better on sidehill, climbs better without rolling over backwards, higher loadout, and more lift capacity (large 65HP+)... 3-pt fits 1000 tools...

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