lawn/garden tractor or ZeroTurn for hauling stuff?

behaviorkelton(7-ish)June 18, 2011

I often get myself into situation in which I am hauling heavy clay or gravel... or railroad ties across a half acre or more of yard.

Now I'm about to buy a home on 8 acres. I'd love to buy a subcompact tractor, but would rather avoid such a huge purchase until I am certain that I am going to take the real-deal plunge into mini-farming.

(side note: Only 2.5 acres are cleared... so I really only have a 2.5 acre "yard")

Mowing will be 95% of the job. For that, I understand that good zero turns are optimal for speed....which is important.

However, I'm wondering about whether it would be better for me to get a lawn tractor (garden tractor?) for my application. My heaviest load would be possibly dragging an 8' rail road tie across the property behind the mower. Those things are 200 pounds.

Is there something about a lawn tractor that makes it more suitable for this work?... or is a zero turn up to the job, too?

I'm thinking of a John Deere X300 or maybe X500 lawn tractor vs. the John Deere EZtrack z600 zero turn mower.

The John Deere dealer is very close to my property, so it might be more convenient to go with a Deere for that reason.

So is there something about a zero turn that makes them weaker hauling machines?

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Every RR tie I've drug around seems to weight more than 200 pounds.

Among the choices you listed there is only one intelligent choice and the others are lessons waiting to be learned while paying considerable tuition to learn them...

If you are going to haul anything of substantial weight, and we both know that we all haul heavier stuff than we're supposed to... right?, then the X500 is the only choice. It is a GARDEN tractor and rated for ground engaging and will haul most things within reason.

You'll beat the K46 trans in the X300 to death... it is a LAWN tractor.

I'd never haul anything heavy with a Zero Turn... they handle odd and stop odd.

You can go to the JD web site and click to the operator manuals for any model you like and read the towing limitations.

Read the manuals and go to the JD dealer. Find a salesperson who knows what they are talking about and test ride everything that interests you... oh yea, buy the sub compact and be done with it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:23PM
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So any one of the x500's will do the job?

The lowest of the x500's retails for $5,800... so, with a little dealing, I would probably end up paying that much with tax included.

Do the make a trailer that can possibly handle a rail tie lay'd across it?... that can hook to the x500?

Thanks... and thanks for pointing to the difference between lawn and garden tractor.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:49PM
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IIRC a JD 17P cart will haul 1000 lbs BUT... "The loaded weight of utility cart should not exceed the weight of the tractor and operator"

click for 17P cart

Go to the dealer and ask your questions. Have them show you he answers in tech books, manuals and literature.

You can come back here and post their recommendations and I'm sure we all will have our opinions..

FYI, JD has a 30 day promise where you can return a tractor and accessories or attachments bought on the same invoice for full credit towards a different product or a FULL CASH REFUND with no questions asked.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:10PM
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If you just drag the occasional cross tie you can simply drag it behind the X 500.
But if you are planning to move a bunch of them, and would prefer not to create a logging trail effect from your efforts, you might want to explore the idea of using a two wheeled, pneumatic tired dolly for the rear end of the cross tie with a hitch plate/tongue plate on the front end to link to the tractor draw bar.
Both the rear dolly and the hitch plate would be configured to fit the dimensional profile of the cross tie and securing each to the tie is done using one or two 8" C-clamps to secure them to the tie.
Advantages of using a dolly and hitch plate are:
Rolling pneumatic tires do little damage compared to simple dragging (skidding).
With the dolly and hitch plate you can back up with the tie to facilitate tight turns or to back it into place near where it will reside permanently.
This idea came to mind when I remembered a friend of mine who made a heavy duty version to transport up to 30 foot steel I-beams as a towed unit behind his 1-ton service truck.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:20PM
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Shucks..... and now I'm reverting to thoughts of the 2000 series tractors with front loader and underbelly mower.

We're talking something in the $19,000 range for 2520 version with those attachments. 0% financing puts it at $330 or so a month with insurance. I can certainly handle that, but 19g is a lot of commitment!

The only reason I hesitate on the *real* tractor, is that I want to be sure that I want to jump into the tractor-owning, "mini-farm" type of life. I think I need to live on the newly acquired land (my first experience with lots of land) and really consider how involved I want to get with actually working the land.... before committing to a tractor.

In the mean time, I will certainly need a mower for the place.

There is no perfect plan. If get a mower and then decide on a tractor, well, that's quite the investment with mower+tractor.

In looking at other threads here, I can see that this isn't the first time someone has struggled with this problem!


    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 5:38PM
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John Deere 2305 or Kubota BX series for less $$$

JD has the new 1 series but if they are really here it might be smart to give the new series a year or two to mellow.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 6:16PM
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My dealer has the new 1 series on the lot as well as a used 2305 with frontloader and BACKHOE! for $16,000.... for another $1,600 I would get the underbelly mower.... so $17,600 plus tax and such.

It has only 130 hours on it. That doesn't sound bad for a "retail" sale. I think they have it on consignment from a very recent customer who decided to get a bigger higher horsepower tractor.

Regarding the 1 series (they have a 1023e in stock): The dealer said that the improvements mostly involve moving the levers around in accordance with customer requests.

If I just go with the x500, I'm wondering what I could get for it on the used market if I keep it for only two years. (wondering what kind of loss I'll have to eat if I decide to jump up to the tractor)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:04PM
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The used 2305 should have the balance of the warranty transferable to the subsequent owner.

There are more changes between the 2305 and the new 1 series than you dealer is telling you. I'd give JD a couple years to sort the new model out but that's just me... I hate being a paying beta tester.

I'd rather have the used 2305 with FEL and MMM and money in my hand then the backhoe. NEGOTIATE.

Depending on area used X5xx seem to rarely come up on the used market and when they do they sell quickly. If you live in an are where you can buy them right new then you
ll lose more when you go to sell it used.

Don't overlook a Kubota BX if you have a good dealer around... nice machine.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:34PM
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I have an out front ZTR Grasshopper mower. It works great for hauling heavy loads and towing large trailers. The out front deck can carry over 200 pounds. Check out used commercial Grasshopper mowers at the dealer. It will be the last mower you will buy.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 6:51PM
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