In all the research, reading, and discussions I’ve had with farmers and ranchers who are doing something similar to what we envision, several common threads have surfaced. One example goes like this: “If I had to do it all over again, I would have waited to buy a tractor. I wish I had purchased our side-by-side UTV first… I use it every single day of the year!” I always try to gain as much insight as possible from those who are further along this path than we are, and make smarter decisions because of that insight. Hopefully that will keep me out of any major pitfalls, and assist the farm in becoming profitable sooner. With that in mind (even though I already own 2 tractors, one newly restored and the other I bought for a great deal), I’m ecstatic to reveal my two most recent farm purchases… a Kubota RTV 900 UTV and a 16′ goose-neck stock trailer!
Kubota is a well known and highly sought after brand of UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle), recognized as a work horse in the industry. They are well made, last a long time, and don’t have one iota of “sport” in them… perfect for what we need. The Kubota RTV 900 comes stock with a ton of features that are important to us, including but not limited to:
- 3 cylinder diesel engine, 22 horsepower and 1300 lbs towing capacity
- Power steering
- Hydro-static transmission with 3 speed ranges
- Hydraulic dump cargo bed with 1100 lbs capacity
- Glass windshield (vs plastic that comes stock)
Needless to say, it is a monster in terms of power, dainty when it comes to fuel mileage, and fully capable of covering our farming needs. I bought this one used, it is a 2007 model but only has 120 hours on it, which is barely out of the wear-in period for that engine. Kubotas are a lot more expensive than some of the other UTV options out there, but we approached this as a lifetime investment, plus we got a great price from the guy! We were patient in our search, and absolutely were rewarded.
The other recently purchased piece of equipment that will be indispensable for Pastured Providence Farmstead is our livestock trailer. On the recommendation of several of my animal-hauling friends, we narrowed our search to a goose-neck (vs bumper pull) trailer somewhere between 16-20 feet long. Any shorter would have mostly negated the weight carrying benefit of the goose-neck, any longer would have been tough to handle in tight spaces and would likely be too big for the scale of our farm. We would have loved to get an aluminum trailer, but they are way more money than we could justify spending. In the end, we bought a trailer with the following specs:
- 16 feet long (carrying area, doesn’t include the neck or hitch)
- Rear swing gate with sliding half door
- Escape door at right front
- Solid cut gate that can separate the carrying area in half
- Electric brakes
Because I didn’t have a goose-neck hitch on my truck, I had to buy and install that as well. I bought a B&W “Turnover Ball” that can be taken out and stored upside down in the hitch, flush with the truck bed to allow full usage of the bed when not hitched up. It was a pretty simple install, and I saved several hundred dollars by doing it myself. The trailer pulls very nicely behind my truck now, and I’m very pleased with the whole setup. The rig looks custom made, even the paint color almost matches between my truck and the trailer! Again, we were patient in our search, and absolutely were rewarded.
I mentioned our patience in searching for these critical pieces of equipment only to address one question we’ve heard from several folks: “Why now”? It may not seem like it, but we really did take our time and think things through! We wanted to buy the trailer in MS for several reasons: Things are generally a little cheaper here, vehicle undercarriages are in better shape due to the lack of salt on any roads, and purchasing here would allow me to use the trailer to haul some large items up to the farm (which the Air Force will pay me for).
I was very careful not to put any pressure on myself to buy a UTV now, knowing that we likely won’t need one right away and that there should be plenty in OH to purchase if need be. However, the price I got for this machine was an extremely good deal, especially considering the minimal hours on the engine. So good a deal in fact, that it put the power and reliability of a Kubota into reach for the first (and potentially only) time… so I jumped on it! I’m super excited about these two purchases, mostly because I think they will be so crucial to the success and day-to-day operation of our farm. Does anyone out there have any experience to share regarding the level of importance of this type of machinery on their farm?