Pictured here is our new tractor! We've been on the farm now for 5 years and have managed so far by begging and borrowing time from neighbors and friends when tractor work was needed. It's nice to have folks to help out but it's even better to be able to do things on your own.
The photo above is from right after it was unloaded. It's a DK40SE made by Kioti. I did my homework including my usual spreadsheet analysis and learned you get more features, more power, more weight, and more lifting capacity for the money than the other orange tractor brand (or any other compact utility tractor). Plus it comes with a 4 year/unlimited hour warranty, an important feature for a first time tractor owner. We had a very pleasurable sales experience through S&H Farm Supply and salesman Mark will be seeing us again the future for sure!
In the short few weeks we've already tackled several projects with the tractor. It's primary use most days is moving round bales as Jennifer is doing in the photo above. I do find it necessary to counterbalance the load on the front end loader (FEL) with the box blade on the rear.
The box blade too has been put through it's paces. I finally got the guts to work on the drive and I was very pleased with the results. I was timid at first as I thought I would make it worse, to which a neighbor replied that it couldn't possibly get worse (that's how badly rutted it was). I just took the advice of a more experienced neighbor and just went slow. It took several passes up and down the 1/4 mile drive but it's a huge improvement. I didn't even need to add additional material to get a nice smooth finish.
We've mowed the pasture with the rotary cutter and moved mulch with the FEL bucket. I've even used it to pull against to stretch some fence. I plan on welding some grab hooks on to the bucket to make it easier to lift things with a chain. All in all I'm very pleased with the tractor. It's been a long time coming and theres a huge list of projects that will be easier to complete now that we aren't burdening our neighbors for tractor time!