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Walking tractors David Bradley, why they are not used more? and other discussions.  RSS feed

 
brian hanford
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Location: Washington State
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I found some david bradley walking tractors a few months ago. this sent me down researching these tractors, and how they were used. So i got 7 tractors and 11 implements for 300$, all needed work but one was running. gave one to my great neighbor, how has fallen in love with it. so just so we get the setting i have two properties 40 acres and 1.5, both are hill sides and make moving stuff hard. we burned up two riding mowers just pullin carts around we don't mow anything. so i was looking for something easier to work on and more durable. welcome the david bradley this thing is just so simple and easy to deal with. bought a predator motor and it bolted right on and a pulley and belt im done. we will be doing a mixed grain crop this year of about 2 acres. had drainage problems on the road used the plow to cut channels. skidded logs into hugel culture mounds, each log was over 500 lbs. going to use it for cultivating and pulling carts we are a no till csa market garden. so the plow is rel-ligated to mostly drainage and ground breaking or terracing. its geared really slow and is so quiet with the new motor that its a joy to use and i stretched fence with it. the motor platform with pulley and belt idea is so versatile. we have been using it for about a week and still have not topped up the fuel in it.

the big question is why more people are not using these? build a electric solar charged replacement motor, how with what? what attachments could you build? really want to look at electric options. what other ideas are there?
 
allen lumley
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- Jessie james used a gun ! congratulations on a great score ! Personally I find the older and heavier Troybuilts to be for the money a slightly better product,

but not as easily D.I.Y.reparable , especially when it comes to the Troybuilts transmission seals !

as long as you can get parts for them you should continue to get years and years of service out of you $300.oo investment ! Big AL
 
brian hanford
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Location: Washington State
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Don't see them and they are a lot more complicated, harder engine swap. Plus the only ones I see are rototillers. Just adding useless equipment, I have a 1948 transmission that's just fine just needed new oil. Only thing you can't get is case gaskets just about anything else can be made or bought.
 
Travis Johnson
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You can still get walk behind tractors; I see them on display at the local agricultural fairs to this day. BCS comes to mind with some amazing attachments.

I see the pros and cons of them however. In many ways I see people with only a few acres go out and way-overspend for a tractor simply because they are trying to overcome skill with horsepower. Yet there is something about the return on investment of a tractor too. The Kubota I bought in 1999 is worth as much today as I paid for it then...and that is not considering all the work that has been done with it. And the tractor before that was sold for more than my Grandfather paid for it. Tractors...the 4 wheel kind are great investments no matter how you look at it, and I don't see that return on investment so much with walk-behind tractors.

But capable? You won't get any arguments from me there. Really more people should consider a two wheel tractor in my opinion.

 
John Polk
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the big question is why more people are not using these?

These tractors are no longer easily available here in the US.
The USDA's "Get bigger, or get out." philosophy has changed farming forever in this country.
Most successful farms are large chunks of (relatively) flat land. Big tractors are needed for those parcels.
(And most farmers would rather sit in a tractor all day than walk behind one all day.)
Tractor dealers cater to those farmers who are willing to go into long term debt to acquire a big, powerful machine.
Unfortunately, money drives the market of the choices available to us.

The walk-behind tractors are still very popular in parts of Europe, especially in hilly, and/or rocky regions.
There are many of them in use in Italy (where both the BCS, and Grillo are built) and the regions of the former Yugoslavia. Many of those farmers are dealing with small holdings in rocky, mountainous regions. Those walk-behind tractors are ideal for such settings.

In this country, a brand new BCS or Grillo with an assortment of implements represents a substantial investment.
These smaller units are seldom advertised or promoted.
Many owners of small holdings are not even aware that such tools are available.
There are only a handful of dealers nationwide who sell new walk-behind tractors.

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yeah, they are too rare in the US. There used to be lots of them.

They have BIG ones in Asia, big enough to pull a full size wagon and run through the rice paddies.
 
brian hanford
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well i was not posting to address the usda or big ag cause in my area western wa when i was looking at tractors there are tons of people on less than 5 acres using full and compact tractors. i know one guy on 1 acre that has a compact tractor and has more space so he can use the tractor than he has for his garden. this mind set that to do anything you need a tractor is crazy. oh and my family still runs a conventional apple orchard and the tractor doesn't come out all that much. and the tractor dealer i deal with is all about smaller tractors and he is in eastern wa. they also help us with my grandfathers vintage mf 30. but all thaT ASIDE I HAVE GOTTEN 3 OTHERS IN TO USING THESE STYLE OF TRACTORS. and have been helping them to get there's going. all of them are just amazed they ever got on with out them.

i am getting ready to do some timber stand improvement and using this machine to pull the logs is going to let me get 2-3x the work done. and now we will double the size of our garden. i use it to disc garden, seed, cultivate, pull carts, plow snow, road grading, stall mucking, log skidding, ditch and drainage maintenance, fence stretching, and me and the neighbor are coming up with more things to do and build. next is an air compressor fitted to the front. the list never seems to end. these days we seem to over complicate things the cheaper bcs just seem more complicated compared with the david bradley, i would love to have one of the bigger ones with a differential and reverse but if anything goes wrong i am waiting for ever on parts. i got a bunch of useful parts at the scrap yard that put a another tractor back in to work.

thank you
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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when i looked into getting a walk behind, swather and baler for the properties i manage, the costs were to high.
it was cheaper to buy decent used equipment and older tractors - plus parts are available readily.

sad really, i think a walk behind would be perfect for my 5 acres. we graze half and hay half. i have a hard time getting the custom hay people in town to put me high enough in their rotation because its such a small field (and my hay quality reflects that). with a walk behind i would be able to cut/bale even with working a regular job exactly whent he forage is ready. we bale ~ 750 bales per 5 acres (we manage 10acres total) but only graze our property - i wouldnt need a huge truck/trailer to move it between farms either.

the little 40lbs bales these walk behinds make would would easier to move too.

 
R Scott
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There are areas you could make a real good business baling hay along the edges where the big machines can't reach. I know people that would give you the hay just so they don't have to burn or brush hog it.
 
brian hanford
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I get free hay every year cause of that. And I built a loft just for it. You should see the looks I get with my rake and pitch fork loading the truck, but that cuts the hay I buy in half.
 
Travis Johnson
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Sounds like you and I are a lot alike Brian H!

I looked into mini round balers and other costs and it was just too high, for the same money I could go out a buy a full size baler...that is crazy.

As for tractors everywhere, you should come here. Guys own 2 acres and have 60 hp tractors! This one guy who only owns 27 acres asked me how in the world I got by with a 25 hp Kubota when he had to have 80 hp? We both pulled out wood with them, but to me it is pretty simple; the ability to fell a tree where you want it to fall helps the most, followed by skill and experience. It really starts with not using a tractor at all, but the winch it is hooked too. That in itself is half the battle in the woods. Traction helps as well and no amount of HP is going to overcome any of the shortfalls previously listed.

The funny thing is I have had everything on my woodlot, from horses to feller-bunchers, but right now my little Kubota makes the most money. Granted it has to be good going and I can't go with lots of trees behind me, but I can get out 6 cord per day. Yes it takes 2 days to get a load where as a cable skidder can get out a load in a single day; it burns 5 gallons of diesel PER HOUR where as my little Kubota on 3.5 gallons per day. That is a huge difference when calculating costs. Again I can't take half the forest with me on a single twitch, and my Kubota cannot slog through four feet of mud, but then again do I really want to?

I would at some point, like to get a small bulldozer so that I can go through wet areas of my woodlot and deep snow with a lot less effort.
 
brian hanford
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I have looked at both the walking tractor bailer and full size bailers and the problem is 45 pto horse power to run a full size. And used square bailers in good condition go for more than the walking tractor dose new. And I haven't seen too many 50 hp tractors used for less than 5000$ and those need alot of work. It was 14000$ for the package for a walking tractor, bailer, and sickle bar, and a few other tools.

And don't get me wrong I love tractors. I own 3 farmall cub's, and we want to get a bigger tractor but it will be the walking tractors that get used daily. We have 2.5 miles of dirt road in Eastern wa, just can't care for that with a walking tractor.
 
R Scott
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I have an older square baler, it only needs about 20 HP to run. It is not as fast as a newer one, but it makes them fast enough.

Sometimes I think a small round baler would be nice but it would probably be better to buy a square bale accumulator/stacker, pay the amish to load them for me when I can't, or just buy round bales.

The smallest round baler I can find is around 45 hp, and probably needs more weight than that to be safe in the fields I cut.
 
Travis Johnson
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I'll be honest with you guys, I HATE hay. It takes days to dry, if you got 60 acres of hay down and your baler breaks you just lost all that winter feed, you have to buy all that string every year...oh the list goes on and on. But silage...now that I like. No storage issues, just a bunker and plastic, its an all mechanical type feeding system, the sheep do far better on it then hay, and if the flail chopper breaks down, you don't have feed at the whim of the weather. Oh yes, there is a solid reason why the dairy farmers all go with silage and my plan is to do the same. Like you though I had an issue, how do I get a smallish tractor (25 hp) to power a flail chopper?

the answer for me may be the same for you, and that is a separate engine driving the flail chopper/baler. In that way you are only using your smallish tractor for pulling. There would be the pain of hooking up the pony motor, and its ensuing cost; but it would be far less than buying a bigger size tractor.

That is my plan anyway. No mower, no rake, no tedder, no baler; just a flail chopper, a dump wagon and some plastic.
 
Andrew Ray
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Location: Slovakia
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Two years ago we applied for subsidies on grass here (Slovakia-- yes, the EU pays you to cut grass, they don't even care if you make hay, graze it or even just pile it somewhere to rot/burn!). I thought we would get fences done and cows, but things came up that put that off, and my father in law and I started cutting grass with a scythe. Which is fine, if you have nothing else to do. So I bought a Czech sickle-bar mower with a detachable engine that can go on either a small transmission for the mower (and other PTO driven things) as well as a large transmission for pulling plows, carts, etc. Later that year I got a larger trailer for it and a used large transmission. It is cool for what it is-- Honda 190GSV lawnmowerish engine can do a lot. But we have steep hills and I wasn't able to take anything up hill-- I had to drive about a kilometer around our village to go on a really shallow gradient.

So last fall I drove to Italy and bought a Goldoni, with a rotavator, rotary plow and powered (i.e. 4wd) trailer. It is great. 11HP diesel engine, can carry 2 cubic meters of wood. The engine and transmission are thirty years old but still in great shape!

Someone should try importing used ones from Italy and Germany to the US. I got the powered trailer, walk behind tractor and rotovator for 1900€.
 
john mcginnis
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Has anyone tried importing the chinese walk behinds?
 
Ron Duft
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We have two of the "pony" series one with hiller furrower attachment second motor replacement on the one unit 40+ years old. Second unit is less than 15 years old. we have almost 2 acres of garden plot and orchard.
I cut 3 - 10 acres of hay with 17hp Kubota 7 foot sickle bar john deer mower converted to pull with the tph. Pull the 16 foot side delivery rake but have to use the Massy 88 with the #10 baler. Do about 250+ square bales.
Renter does 100+ acres of hay with the big round baler. I feed cows all winter with the kubota pushing and pulling the 1100lb bales, Front blade, rear blade, rotovator, 60" mower, 9" post hole auger, run a 100 year old grain mill and a 50 year old grain roller. rear fork lift attachment i built for hauling pallets and barrels etc. Never under estimate what a few horse power can do.
 
Hans Quistorff
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For those that have not seen one before this is what they look like. The original motor was very small so that is why the transmission is geared so low.
tractor.jpg
[Thumbnail for tractor.jpg]
Qberry Farm tractor been in family since 1954
 
Richard Cleaver
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Location: Pyrenees (2,500 ft), France
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After 2 years of 'pondering' we decided to buy a new BCS 2-wheeler and a few implements: Scythe cutter, Hay rake, Buck rake, Wheel barrow.

We looked at the bailer but it was just too expensive. We have 6 acres ourselves and about 18 acres of neighbours land that we use. We bought the tractor last year and mainly make hay for our horses and donkeys, but also we use a lot of hay for mulch. We've found a great way to collect the hay without a bailer. Cut and turn the hay as normal while trying to make straight rows Then use the buck rake to push and gather all the rows to one end of the field. The buck rake is amazing. With a board across it you can push a very large pile of hay across a 2 acre field. The only problem is, if your barn is not in the same field, you have to pitch fork it all into a large trailer and move it to your storage. For us at least, it is much easier than doing the whole thing by hand. It takes us about 8 hours to cut 2 acres and uses about 1 gal of diesel.

What has surprised us is how much we use the wheel barrow. We cut and processed a whole year's wood in less than a week. The tractor has an extra set of wheels. This really helps getting in and out of the steep wooded areas where we couldn't get wood before.
BCS-740.jpg
[Thumbnail for BCS-740.jpg]
Double-Scythe.jpg
[Thumbnail for Double-Scythe.jpg]
Hay-Rake.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hay-Rake.jpg]
 
Richard Cleaver
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Location: Pyrenees (2,500 ft), France
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Buck rake and wheel barrow.
Buck-Rake.jpg
[Thumbnail for Buck-Rake.jpg]
Wheel-Barrow.jpg
[Thumbnail for Wheel-Barrow.jpg]
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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