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Author Topic: bobcat vs tractor  (Read 8050 times)

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Offline Davemr

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bobcat vs tractor
« on: January 24, 2015, 01:12:41 PM »
Looking for used equipment to move rocks, scrape dirt down to 6 inches, plow through trees. I bought 40 acres of land that used to be a quarry but found out it was also used as an unofficial dump. I would like something that I can use to scrape up the garbage that has sunk into the dirt and move it to a work station where I can extract the garbage from the dirt. I would also like to move rocks up to a ton, either by dragging/ pushing, or lifting the smaller ones. I would also like to build trails through dense saplings and small trees and move dirt and rock to make walking, cart trails; building up slopes. I will also be mucking out a pond and restoring it. I will also be clearing out a section for an eventual home. I will also be dragging out many small (6"-10") trees. The terrain is rocky and sloped but navigable with a standard SUV. This is a long term project and warrants buying over renting. I can rent equipment to supplement this purchase but would like to own something I can use for the majority of the work. I do not foresee needing to mow. I have rented skid steers for some of the bigger digging projects and will rent a tractor to try it out. Do you have any recommendations on things to consider?

Offline beenthere

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 02:26:33 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum.
I see a couple pics in your gallery, but don't see them in a post.

Also, nothing in your bio to where you are located... like general area in what country, or part of... 

Consider your age for crawling in and out of whatever machine or machines you are thinking of getting. A skidsteer when crawling in and out can get old fast. Once in, they are great.

But sounds like maybe three machines should cover most of the bases for you... rent for the rest.  ;D
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 03:06:42 PM »
to me there is only one choice and thats a skidsteer :) hands down but,i also know how to get max performance out of them
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline millwright

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 03:15:59 PM »
I use a skid steer around the mill and put steel tracks on it when in the woods, it can handle most any job.

Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 03:16:57 PM »
Having been faced with the same conundrum years ago, I bought a Bobcat. I've had several of them since, each more capable than the previous one. A Bobcat will work circles around any tractor. Attachments are cheap enough and readily available on the used market, making them far more productive than a tractor.

Consider the simple task of loading material from a pile into a truck. With a tractor you have to drive into the pile, and pick up the material. Back into a spot, shift to forward gear and drive forward. With a skidsteer, there is no shifting, and rather than back you simply spin on the fly.

If you find one with a cab and ACS controls, you get the choice of hands or feet control, and A/C on a hot day can't be beat. Nothing better than clearing trails in the woods with the brushCat mower attachment on a hot and steamy day, while you ride along in air conditioned comfort. Oh, and when you inadvertently plow through a wasps nest, you get to sit in air conditioned comfort inside a HEPA filtered cab knowing those little buggers can't get to you as you wipe out their nest. Ha, payback for the 47 stings suffered in the open cab of a cat a few years back...

I have a tracked T320 Bobcat coming just next week with high flow. It should make even shorter work of the brush mowing and stump grinding chores.
Stuart Caruk
Wood-Mizer LX450 Diesel w/ debarker and home brewed extension, live log deck and outfeed rolls. Woodmizer twin blade edger, Barko 450 log loader, Clark 666 Grapple Skidder w/ 200' of mainline. Bobcats and forklifts.

Offline Davemr

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 03:24:42 PM »
Thanks, I am in South East Missouri. Not much luck attaching the pics to the post. And they don't really do the ground justice. Lots of 12" drop offs, 2" to 4" cedar, and plenty of rocks. No problem getting into skid steers, a bit of a challenge getting out of them. but I do like the protection against snapping branches and falling limbs. I don't like how unstable they feel, especially crawling over rocks. I thought a tractor would be more stable front to back, but not sure about side to side. Also not sure if a tractor has the pushing capability to plow through thick saplings and brush. On the other hand, I doubt you could get a good grader attachment for a skid steer.   Any differences in Maintenance between the two? Also, I have seen several skid steers in the 10-13K range. Is that a reasonable price range for a machine I intend to put a lot of time into?

PS I like the idea of sealing in the cab to keep hornets out.

Offline samandothers

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 03:37:52 PM »
IMO, I too think skid steer.  Tractors or good for 3 point hitch stuff like bush hogs etc.  Depending on size of tractor the skid steer would do better with a grapple and the work it shoulds like you do.   I have a 40 hp tractor with grapple and do push or pop out of the ground small 2 or so inch saplings.  Bigger I consider using the back hoe.   The loader is made to lift a certain amount.  I don't think the tractor front end loader is really designed to push what it sounds like you want to push over.   

Offline Holmes

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2015, 04:05:25 PM »
 I have a tracked skid steer. It is a lot better than my tractors for the work you describe and much more stable on uneven ground.  With snow on the ground I do not like taking the tractor into the woods because of my side hill trails, not as much of a problem with the skid-stee.r
Think like a farmer.

Offline pine

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2015, 04:53:19 PM »
I have a tractor with many attachments. 
I am getting a compact track loader (think skidsteer with tracks) for the things that the tractor just can't do.  Previously rented one for a week to verify my needs.
They both have their place but with high flow hydraulics you can get a much better mulching head for the skid-steer than the tractor.
Neither will do all you describe better than the other. Each will do some of what you want better and some not as well. 
If you rent something similar to what you are looking at you can try them out and figure out the better option if you can only get one.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2015, 05:17:58 PM »
i don't think for 10 -13 grand you'll be very happy in a skidsteer :)
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline thecfarm

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 06:34:05 PM »
Davemr,welcome to the forum. I have no idea about a skid steer. I only have a tractor. You say garbage? Any hunks of metal in it? That will do a job on tractor tires. Tractor will have a VERY hard time on the "scrape dirt down to 6 inches",if there are any good size rocks in that 6 inches.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Randy88

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2015, 07:01:52 PM »
Get yourself a good used crawler loader, get a clam bucket for it, along with a regular bucket and there's not much you can't do with it once you get it figured out, far cheaper than any tractor or skid steer as an all around machine to use.     

Your going to spend a whole lot more money on a descent skid steer worth taking home, especially in the size to do what your wanting to do.   

Not matter what you end up with, you'll probably want another machine before long, as they say, its addictive to have toy's.   

Offline StimW

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2015, 07:04:36 PM »
Thanks, I am in South East Missouri. Not much luck attaching the pics to the post. And they don't really do the ground justice. Lots of 12" drop offs, 2" to 4" cedar, and plenty of rocks. No problem getting into skid steers, a bit of a challenge getting out of them. but I do like the protection against snapping branches and falling limbs. I don't like how unstable they feel, especially crawling over rocks. I thought a tractor would be more stable front to back, but not sure about side to side. Also not sure if a tractor has the pushing capability to plow through thick saplings and brush. On the other hand, I doubt you could get a good grader attachment for a skid steer.   Any differences in Maintenance between the two? Also, I have seen several skid steers in the 10-13K range. Is that a reasonable price range for a machine I intend to put a lot of time into?

PS I like the idea of sealing in the cab to keep hornets out.

When you get to the pic in your gallery  scroll down and you will find the post button. Once I figured that out it was easy.
New HF Band Mill
Branson 35 hp 4 WD Diesel Tractor W/Attachments- Backhoe, FEL W/ Bucket or Forks, 4' Tiller
4000# Clark Forklift W/24" Tires
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Offline North River Energy

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2015, 07:20:28 PM »
What Randy88 said ^.

Track loaders w/clam aren't the 'go to' machine they once were, so you should be able to find one for a lot less than a skiddy or tractor. 
Think 'scrap value'.
The Bobcat excels at some things, the tractor at others.  I've got one of each (old and beat) and wouldn't care to do without either.

Offline bill m

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2015, 08:03:43 PM »
They do sell tractors with cabs, heat and air conditioning on them. I don't think a skidsteer will have the necessary ground clearance for working on rocky ground. Also they don't do very well in mud. I guess you may need to rent one of each for a couple of weeks and see which one works best for your ground.
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Offline Small Slick

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2015, 10:41:07 PM »
A good skidsteer with a cab, tracks, attachments and high flow sounds like exactly what you need. However one with all that and decent HP will set you back a lot more than 10-12 K. John.

Offline Davemr

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2015, 07:08:29 PM »
Thanks everyone!
I rented a small, not compact, John Deere tractor with backhoe. ~40 HP with 4wd. Glad I did!
The thing had no power compared to the small bobcats I usually rent. The thing couldn't even scoop up small rocks and it couldn't cut into the ground, the blade skimmed the top of the ground and the front wheels lifted up. going through the woods, it didn't knock down midsize trees but the big problem is that the hydraulic lines are all exposed underneath. As a result the steering line broke, probably on a twig. then I tried to use the bucket to push it out of the mud and the bucket did not have enough power to push it back out of the mud.

Then on top of all, the tractor controls were not as intuitive as a bobcat. 

Offline GDinMaine

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2015, 09:25:01 PM »
The tractor you rented is simply not made for what you are trying to do.
What you describe would be more so a job for something like a Case 580 backhoe.
It's the going that counts not the distance!

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Offline THUNDER BEAST

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 04:18:19 PM »
I had struggled with this decision for quite awhile, I wanted to buy a agricultural tractor with all the attachments and do my own land clearing. I figured since I needed the tractor for ground work and sowing, harvesting/haying  etc. and only have less than enough for one machine, that the tractor was going to have to do it. After much research I have come to the conclusion that I will tear the tractor up with type of land clearing I will have to do. I still am buying a 115 horse power 4x4 tractor with loader a bucket and grapple/root rake and it will suit most chores but I will rent/hire out a track loader and track excavator to do the job that they where meant for, like digging out stumps and moving large amounts of earth. My brother kept telling me to buy a Bobcat like he has, but my peg leg dose not bend enough to sit comfortably in the machine, plus no draw bar or 3 point in the back of a skid steer. To sum this all up, there is no one machine that dose it all, expect to need a few different ones and rent/hire out what you can not get done with the machine you ultimately buy. John

Offline Windy_Acres

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Re: bobcat vs tractor
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2015, 07:13:24 PM »
I own a 60hp New Holland Skid Steer ( 7k pounds, flows 30gpm, runs 12.5mph), with allot of attachments, a Case 380B industrial tractor (same as a case 485 ag tractor but different color), and a John Deere 790 4x4 compact (yanmar). You can have both tractors. If I didnt hobby farm, I would not own a tractor. Im on my 4th skid steer, progressively larger each time. My machine will lift about 3500lbs of the ground, but not more than a foot or two high, it will lift about a ton to full lift. I can get done with the skid loader and bucket about 10 times the work, maybe more than you can get done with the same size tractor weight/bucket size at the same time.

Tractors blow, unless your pulling an implement through the ground. Just my opinion, otherwise, I seem them as teats on a bull. Only speaking from 30+ years experience.

Ive brought this up before when someone was talking about adding forks to an FEL, and was ostracized for it (by a 14 year old no less, LOL! ), surely only by guys that have never run or owned a loader (skid or articulated). There is a reason, its called a loader...

The case tractor is a 53hp, and the John Deere is a 30hp. Great for pulling a disc, box blade, hiller/bedder, finish mower, and the like, otherwise pretty much worthless off the farm.

Id almost give up my pickup before Id part with my skid loader, and Ive done ground remediation work with as well. When it comes to getting work done, its worth its weight in about 60 laborers ?


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