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Small farm tractor similar to a NorCar?  RSS feed

 
Roland Deschain
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Hi all,

So I'm new to the forum but my wife and I have spent the last year researching all we can about starting our own hobby farm (5-10 acres, hopefully partially-wooded). I'll be done with college in another year and we're starting to look at property around our area. We'll be doing mostly gardening and won't have any livestock bigger than a goat or 2 - mostly chickens. We live near Spokane, WA and things here are pretty rocky. Anyway, I'm considering getting a small tractor for snow removal, post hole digging, plowing, and just plain digging holes because I can. Beyond that and hooking up a mower and maybe a chipper/shredder, that's about all I plan to use it for. Since I don't know anything about tractors, I'm going to want to buy one from a dealer - so either new or gently used.

I've seen a few small articulating tractors and they look pretty fun to use. I was looking at one by a company called NorCar that looks pretty slick but it doesn't look like they're in the US - at least in my neck of the woods. It's a nice, compact articulating tractor and has some nice attachments. I'm wondering if this is something that would be the right size for what I plan on doing or if I need to be considering something bigger/smaller - and is an articulating tractor worth the extra $$ it might cost if there's even an equivalent in the US, and is the wheelbase wide enough for rocky terrain?

Thanks for any input - I know I might not have a lot to go off of yet, but that's why I'm asking ahead of time. I don't want to be dreaming about the wrong kind of tractor for the next year

Here's the NorCar I was talking about:


Thanks all
 
Gary Lewis
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Location: Maine, USA
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Hi Roland - I am also looking for a small tractor...and this looks great.

However, my concern is that the tools (mover, bucker, post hole digger etc) would have to be bought all from the same company i.e. you can't just get any attachement. That scares me, cause that would mean they are very expensive and/or difficult to get serviced.

Gaz
 
Roland Deschain
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Gaz,

I agree - from what I've read it comes down to the quality of the local dealer. I liked the reach of the NorCar, but it doesn't look like any of the local guys have a similar type of tractor. The Yanmar 2450 and the Kubota BX25 are similar in size and it sounds like they run about $16k. I haven't looked too closely at either of them just yet, but it looks like the Yanmar will take a mid-mounted mower... I think that will be a good selling point for convincing the wife at least
 
R Scott
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closest thing I have seen in the US is the ventrac, and it still is rare.
 
Amos Burkey
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Here is an interesting machine.....mini loader
A lot of attachments.
 
R Scott
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Amos Burkey wrote:Here is an interesting machine.....mini loader
A lot of attachments.


That is really similar to the OP! Sort of a micro telehandler.

Personally, I think any of these machines need to use a standard skid loader quick tach plate. Then you have access to thousands of accessories, including the USED market.

The big problem I see with these machines is the tires are too small. Those are fine for around the place--gravel, concrete, hardpack--but not as a field machine. 3000 lbs plus load on those small tires is a lot of compaction. You want the tallest tire you can on a tractor to make a large contact patch (better traction and lower compaction).

 
Roland Deschain
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Good points! I love the look of them, including that Avant, but I see what you mean about them not being the best option for field work. The more I look at options like Kubota's BX, the more I realize that there probably isn't any reason why I'd need the tight turning radius of a tractor that articulates. Mostly I just want a small machine that I can plow snow with, till, and move compost and dirt around. From what I've been reading, a subcompact should be plenty for what I want to do. Even though a bigger 30+ hp tractor would be fun, it might be overkill for my "needs" I'll have to talk to a few dealers around here and maybe some small hobby farmers and see what their experiences are with the 20-25hp machines in our rocky terrain. It looks like an enclosed cab adds quite a bit to the price tag too... I may just have to rely on a heavier coat and gloves during the winter!

The 18k price tag of the subcompacts is starting to look a lot better than the 30k I was initially looking at. Wife ran across a nice listing for a house on 10 acres the other day and it was hard to talk her out of it - all east-facing and shaded most of the day, but a great mountain view that overlooked the city.
 
R Scott
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There is the bobcat toolcat. It only lifts to 7 feet, but does pretty much everything else, plus can be used like a UTV. But it is crazy expensive.
 
Walter Jeffries
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I would be concerned about the narrow wheel base. Don't tip over. Keep your seat belt on tight.
 
Paul Ewing
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Location: Boyd, Texas
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Walter Jeffries wrote:I would be concerned about the narrow wheel base. Don't tip over. Keep your seat belt on tight.


I was thinking about that too. Also I would be very worried about using the front end loader for much. We have a 6000+ pound 43hp full size Zetor and even with a very heavy 8 foot chisel plow on the back for counter weight it is always and interesting experience unloading one ton pallets of feed or large 1600 pound square bales of hay from the delivery trailer. That much weight on the front makes it bounce way too much for my taste even carried a foot or so above ground.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Paul Ewing wrote:
Walter Jeffries wrote:I would be concerned about the narrow wheel base. Don't tip over. Keep your seat belt on tight.


I was thinking about that too. Also I would be very worried about using the front end loader for much. We have a 6000+ pound 43hp full size Zetor and even with a very heavy 8 foot chisel plow on the back for counter weight it is always and interesting experience unloading one ton pallets of feed or large 1600 pound square bales of hay from the delivery trailer. That much weight on the front makes it bounce way too much for my taste even carried a foot or so above ground.


That is exactly my experience with our tractors. I have to unload trucks time to time with our forks, a ton at truck bed height is iffy. We have 48hp and 65hp John Deere tractors with the rear tires filled and set out at maximum width and implements on the back for extra weight (box scraper, backhoe, etc). I googled for photos of the NorCar and saw one with the bucket lifted way up. Looking at the narrow wheel base it looked rather scary. Always carry the weight low if you're moving about.

Question for the original poster: is cost the issue? I saw a note about $16K. For that you may be able to get a used larger tractor that still has plenty of good use left on it which will do a better job. I'm not a fan of big iron but my wife correctly encouraged me to get the biggest tractor in its class that we could afford years ago and she was right. We use them right up to their maximum capacity. If I had a smaller tractor there would be a lot of things we couldn't do and many things that would be unsafe as well as more expensive to do. John Deere, and many vendors, often have 0% down / 0% interest / 5 year financing available, especially in this economy - they're desperate to make sales. You can talk them down on price by about 20% to 30% on top of that if you negotiate slowly and carefully. I got $55K of tractor and implements for $35K with 0% financing. Considering that inflation is at about 3.5% they are paying me and I get to use the tractor (e.g., the principle ends up even lower). Lots of other dealers are offering similar terms - nothing special about JD.

The point is get a tool that is going to safely do the work.
 
R Scott
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Walter makes an excellent point about being a buyer's market. They all have "free money" financing right now--I don't advocate going into debt, but even if you have the money to pay for it you might as well leave it in your slush fund and use their money for the next few years.

I bought too small of a tractor. It does 90+% of what I need, and does it on half the fuel of a bigger tractor, but there are things I just can't do or do safely with it. I will need something bigger or have to hire some work done when I get to bigger earthworks projects.
 
Garrison Smith
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I doubt you will have any problems with the turning radius of a subcompact tractor; so, an articulated tractor will not be at all necessary. I've owned a BX23 and currently have a B3200HSD. You will be very surprised at how agile and sharp-turning a small tractor is. They're intentionally made that way for the very jobs you listed. The BX will do a lot more than you expect given its size. If you're patient and go at a slower pace, you can accomplish the same jobs that a much larger tractor does (within reason, it won't pull a combine or huge tiller). If you get the one with the backhoe, you'll always have access to a trenching machine for future projects (run electricity to the shop, new waterline, etc, etc). You and I probably have the same reasons for owning a tractor: snow removal, road maintenance, material handling, digging, mowing. That being said, the BX is a great tractor that will last you forever. I've also heard good things about Yanmar and Kioti if you'd like to spend less.
 
Ardilla Esch
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The main advantage I see of the Norcar is that the loader lifting capacity is significantly higher than normal small tractors. So if you needed to lift heavy pallets or totes with forks it would be nice.

With that wheel base and tire size, I wouldn't lift heavy loads too high with it unless it was on pavement or firm ground though.

I have a Kubota L3200 (w/ loader and backhoe) that has worked well. However, the occaisonal heavy pallet has to be broken down and split onto a second pallet. The few times this has come up wouldn't justify the cost of a bigger machine though. Also, delivery fees for a truck with piggyback forklift just aren't that high.
 
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