Don wrote a very descriptive note listing his needs, wants and limitations. Here it is:
I am looking at a sub-compact tractor and grapple, but I have 10 heavily wooded acres to clean up after Hurricane Michael (lots of large oaks and pines down and in need of removal. Normal years limb falls and downed trees are always in need of removal. I am a wood turner and sculptor and like to have medium sized pieces of larger logs to deal with (8 to10′ x 20″dia ). The land has many ruts and hills and eventually ends in a live stream, so I think I am going to have to step up to a more $$$ compact tractor to get the ground clearance and stability necessary. I am looking for a JD 3032 or 3038 used or new if the $$$ work out (not sure the 3025 would have the power needed)… any suggestions ? I am pretty much sold on JD because we have a local dealer with a good rep for service here. Lots of other dealers within a 50 mi. radius, but I don’t have the inclination to make a 100 mile round trip for service and parts etc.Don
First, Don has done an outstanding job of thinking through his needs. This is a very important step. I would recommend that other readers would take time to make a bullet list of potential uses of their tractor, as well as thoughts about the local dealers, budget, etc.
Don has already settled on John Deere. He has stated that if necessary, he can afford to spend a bit more to get a larger tractor. These two points give us some flexibility.
Ruts, hills, streams, does indeed indicate the need to step up from a sub-compact. So, the 1025r does not look like a good fit. I would also say that the 2025r does not fit very well either. It is quite narrow, and with this type of terrain, I do not believe it would be suitable for Don.
So, let’s step up to the next size that Don is considering. The ‘3e’ series. Each of these machines uses the same loader, so even though there is a significant difference in horsepower, they will all perform similarly with the front end loader (FEL). I would encourage Don (and other readers) needing a bit more loader ‘umph’ to take a close look at the specs of the 300e loader as compared to the 120r and 220r loaders.
Lift those Logs!
|120r on 1025r||120r on 2025r||220r||300e|
|Lift Capacity to Max Height (500mm in front of pin)||520lb||553lb||803lb||845lb|
|Boom Break out force (500mm in front of pivot)||1320lbf||1335lbf||1360lbf||1204lbf|
|Bucket rollback force at ground level||1807lbf||1659lbf||2138lbf||1422lbf|
|Max lift height||72 inches||72 inches||85 inches||84 inches|
Notice that in each category other than ‘max lift capacity at full height’, the 220r loader on the 2032r and 2038r is ‘stronger’ than the 300e loader (on any 3e tractor). One would think that the ‘3’ series would be more capable than the ‘2’ series. However, in this case, the 2r appears to be the more capable machine.
I got to use a 3032e for several hours early this spring. Now, I have had a 2038r for several months. I can confidently say that the 2038r is significantly more tractor than the 3032e. I do not believe my opinion is due to horsepower. I’m sure a 2032r would impress me just as much.
Just for completeness, we should consider the 3033r. The 320r loader capacity far exceeds those listed above. This tractor will feel much more powerful and capable than the 2r (or 3e). Further, it is about the same physical size (length and width) as the 2032r/2038r, so it should be just as maneuverable.
The 3r tractors have the option of a wonderfully designed factory cab. This cab is cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and quiet all year! However, there are 3 potential negatives.
- It is tall, and will interfere with the brush in some scenarios.
- Makes the tractor more tipsy on hills,
The 3r tractors are not quite as refined as the (much newer) large frame 2r series. This makes sense as the 3r hasn’t changed much for many years. It is very similar to the 3320-3720 from 10-15 years ago. The levers are not as comfortable to control (ergonomics improved on the new 2r), and the engine is much louder than the large frame 2r.
Don’t misunderstand me, Deere did an amazing job on the 3r design. It has obviously stood the test of time, since it hasn’t seen a major update in over 10 years.
No matter which tractor you choose, to lift those heavy logs and transport on uneven terrain, you MUST have lots of rear ballast. I would recommend a ballast box, or Heavy Hitch with a complete set of weights, matching the recommendations in your loader manual. This often seems like an extreme amount of ballast but it really IS required.
Additionally, I would recommend getting RimGuard tire fluid added to the rear tires for additional stability.
Quite frankly, I’m not a fan of the Deere 3e series. I like having the option of a mid mount mower, removable loader, auto-throttle, more comfortable seat, and more powerful loader.
Therefore, I would narrow my choices to the large frame 2r (2032r/2038r) or 3r (3033r/3039r/3046r) tractors.
I suspect the 2032r / 2038r would lift the logs you are describing. However, you may not have much capacity to spare. This tractor is the most refined tractor in the Deere compact tractor lineup.
If you are worried about being able to comfortably lift those largest ’rounds’, I would step on up to the 3033r (or 3039r). This tractor packs an enormous punch in a small package.
I believe you would be happy with either of these tractors.
For the rest of our readers, what do YOU think? Which tractor would YOU recommend for Don?