Which to choose? Compact utility tractor VS Mini Skid VS Gehl

Treebot

New Member
Hey,

Ive read a few threads comparing the Mini skids and others comparing the front end mini loaders. However i have yet to see a discussion regarding the compact farm tractors thrown into the mix.

Our family business is based in eastern Canada where tree size / wood volume per job is not quite as much compared to the west coast. Average trees will grow up-to 80' with a crown radius of 40' (Similar to Mass / Maine). Now there is certainly a demand (my lower back) to increase wood / brush handling efficiency by placing a machine into the mix however I'm at a slight cross roads between the three.

I have been considering purchasing the John Deere 4066R mini tractor for the higher HP and light weight. Equipping the rear with a Farmi log winch and front with a Branch manager grapple. Pro Light weight and high HP, minimal turf damage with proper tires. multi use PTO attachment for rear mounted Miller stump grinder (anyone have experience with the PTO grinders?) or Wagon / trailer for cart a load of wood out. Cons - width of machine too large for gates, largest foot print of all machines

Or

Mini skid SK 800 -SK1000 with branch manager setup. Pro - smaller, fits through gates easily and lightweight. Cons - lacks versatility with attachments and overall HP

Or

Gehl 300/400 series Pro - Branch manager and winch setup. Highest lift capacity and tipping load of all three machines. Con - Similar output can be had by skid steer. gate setup might allow for width but not height? slightly overkill for eastern canada wood size

As you can see I am leaning heavily towards the tractor setup however I want to ask the question to the community -
Does anyone have experience with a Utility tractor setup which they swapped to a Mini or Gehl and why?

Should I consider a Skidsteer (Cat MTL 297d2 xhp or Terex PT75) ?

So many questions :)
 

DETreeMan

New Member
Hey,

Ive read a few threads comparing the Mini skids and others comparing the front end mini loaders. However i have yet to see a discussion regarding the compact farm tractors thrown into the mix.

Our family business is based in eastern Canada where tree size / wood volume per job is not quite as much compared to the west coast. Average trees will grow up-to 80' with a crown radius of 40' (Similar to Mass / Maine). Now there is certainly a demand (my lower back) to increase wood / brush handling efficiency by placing a machine into the mix however I'm at a slight cross roads between the three.

I have been considering purchasing the John Deere 4066R mini tractor for the higher HP and light weight. Equipping the rear with a Farmi log winch and front with a Branch manager grapple. Pro Light weight and high HP, minimal turf damage with proper tires. multi use PTO attachment for rear mounted Miller stump grinder (anyone have experience with the PTO grinders?) or Wagon / trailer for cart a load of wood out. Cons - width of machine too large for gates, largest foot print of all machines

Or

Mini skid SK 800 -SK1000 with branch manager setup. Pro - smaller, fits through gates easily and lightweight. Cons - lacks versatility with attachments and overall HP

Or

Gehl 300/400 series Pro - Branch manager and winch setup. Highest lift capacity and tipping load of all three machines. Con - Similar output can be had by skid steer. gate setup might allow for width but not height? slightly overkill for eastern canada wood size

As you can see I am leaning heavily towards the tractor setup however I want to ask the question to the community -
Does anyone have experience with a Utility tractor setup which they swapped to a Mini or Gehl and why?

Should I consider a Skidsteer (Cat MTL 297d2 xhp or Terex PT75) ?

So many questions :)
I know this is an old post but did you ever get any responses. If not what machine did you end up getting? I have a vermeer S600 wheel mini and an old Belarus 31hp tractor with no front end loader. Wanting another tractor with a loader for use around the house and curious how much I would use it on my jobs instead of the mini. Are there guys using tractors on the job? What advantages are you guys seeing? PTO grinders/choppers etc? Thanks
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
A tractor with a BMG is different. I was able to move things my friend couldn't with his root grapple on his 45 hp tractor, with Backhoe.

I could not work with a tractor, personally. Different market.

My mini will spin on 4'x4' plywood.

A good operator takes a lot of the damage out of a skid steer. A bad operator can screw up anything.




I moved and piled basically all of this...2680 pound machine plus BMG.



Consider a hydraulic capstan or winch on the BMG.

IMG_20200220_135745266.jpg
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
I know this is an old post but did you ever get any responses. If not what machine did you end up getting? I have a vermeer S600 wheel mini and an old Belarus 31hp tractor with no front end loader. Wanting another tractor with a loader for use around the house and curious how much I would use it on my jobs instead of the mini. Are there guys using tractors on the job? What advantages are you guys seeing? PTO grinders/choppers etc? Thanks
I run the same mini on my jobs and have kicked around the idea of a bigger loader with faster ground speed for at the house. As it is it'd take me a week to straighten up wood piles with the mini once the ground hardens and I can access the areas that I want the wood to be at. For now I rent a full size skid steer and just use the smooth bucket that it comes with to push and roll logs and to move wood chips.

As for tractors that is the main loader of choice in my hometown, typically with a root grapple or pallet forks and a couple of companies with a full size skid steer with the same attachments. We have roughly 40 licensed tree services here and I only know of two others besides myself who use a mini skid and then there are several who hand load everything. At least a couple of the tractor crews are heavily dependent on cranes and bucket trucks, if they can access the tree with that equipment then the tractor can too.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
I know this is an old post but did you ever get any responses. If not what machine did you end up getting? I have a vermeer S600 wheel mini and an old Belarus 31hp tractor with no front end loader. Wanting another tractor with a loader for use around the house and curious how much I would use it on my jobs instead of the mini. Are there guys using tractors on the job? What advantages are you guys seeing? PTO grinders/choppers etc? Thanks
I like the minis better, as they’re far more maneuverable. A friend of mine has a fleet of tractors, and we can out run him all day with a mini, and do no more lawn damage. A bigger tractor will lift more and pull more than a mini, but only because it’s bigger. PTO attachments are great for some things, never run a PTO stump grinder, but I would think you would need a big tractor to make it worthwhile; we run a 65 hp grinder, so that would require us to have about an 80 hp tractor to be comparable. At that point, the tractor is just too big to be useful, and a little tractor with its 25 hp is too small to turn a stump grinder or chipper effectively, in my opinion.
 

DETreeMan

New Member
Thanks for the opinion. I agree. I love the mini for most jobs I do but I put a ton of hours on it at home moving logs and cleaning up. I Would also like something with a higher lift than the mini for big jobs so I can stack higher on dump trailer. Not trying to replace the mini just curious if a tractor would ever be more advantageous on some jobs. I could look into a full size skid steer but I currently have a bush hog blade and forks for 3 point hitch. I also think I could get a tractor a good bit cheaper than full size skid steer
 

MA Arborist

Active Member
Thanks for the opinion. I agree. I love the mini for most jobs I do but I put a ton of hours on it at home moving logs and cleaning up. I Would also like something with a higher lift than the mini for big jobs so I can stack higher on dump trailer. Not trying to replace the mini just curious if a tractor would ever be more advantageous on some jobs. I could look into a full size skid steer but I currently have a bush hog blade and forks for 3 point hitch. I also think I could get a tractor a good bit cheaper than full size skid steer
I wish ditch witch would make a larger version of the “Zahn.” I think it would be the ultimate mini for finished properties

More capacity with a higher hinge pin height would be perfect!
 

Serf Life

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the opinion. I agree. I love the mini for most jobs I do but I put a ton of hours on it at home moving logs and cleaning up. I Would also like something with a higher lift than the mini for big jobs so I can stack higher on dump trailer. Not trying to replace the mini just curious if a tractor would ever be more advantageous on some jobs. I could look into a full size skid steer but I currently have a bush hog blade and forks for 3 point hitch. I also think I could get a tractor a good bit cheaper than full size skid steer
The times it would be advantageous for us is steep properties where a skidding winch saves time and effort (currently use a portable winch which is slow but works).
Chains on a 4wd tractor in the winter can easily go where other machines can’t.
Not tons of money brush hogging etc but some companies sell “full package” services with landscaping etc. If you want one at home and a tax write off then go for it.
@hseII posted some pics a while back of a mini and a larger tractor on a job site maybe he’ll weigh in.
 

Edi

Member
Mini loader Giant great on the lawn no need to lay mats or plywood if you are using the turf tires.
 

Dead Cottonwood

New Member
I have a John Deere 3005 27hp compact tractor with root grapple. It has a 60” wheelbase, can lift/dump ~1000# over 89” walls, weighs under 3000#, and doesn’t damage lawns. Side panels around engine compartment detach too for easy access to engine for maintenance Bought used at a price comparable to a mini skid with same amount of hours. I am a truck and dump trailer company that uses 20 and 30 yard dumpsters regularly for large jobs so the lifting height to get over the dumpster was the deal sealer for me. Just haul the tractor in the dump trailer to the job, load up the dumpster, haul the tractor back in the dump trailer. Its not perfect but it was the best option for me in my situation.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Just watched a ditch witch 3000 pass by about 5 times, I think it was a demo that was lost
 

DTS

Well-Known Member
I have a mini skid just got an Avant yesterday used it all day today love not having to lay mats out and the speed and lift capacity over my mini is incredible. 55602D9C-3B54-4F59-AC15-2B848BDA3011.jpeg 03AB8567-6B28-45A1-94A8-5424CE4317D3.jpeg
 

VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
View attachment 65971
good size ash log, mini Vermeer 725 wouldn’t even budge that
We demo an Avant and then a SK1550
I gues we’re skid steer people ended up with the Ditch Witch
We were grading stump grindings with both (trying at least) when the Avant was getting stuck(even with the wheel lock) and leaving ruts

The sk was easier on the lawn matter of fact it doesn’t impact the lawn no more than our Vermeer 650tx because the undercarriage is so much bigger

depending on operator (It’s all on the hips)

just another opinion
 

VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
We demo an Avant and then a SK1550
I gues we’re skid steer people ended up with the Ditch Witch
We were grading stump grindings with both (trying at least) when the Avant was getting stuck(even with the wheel lock) and leaving ruts

The sk was easier on the lawn matter of fact it doesn’t impact the lawn no more than our Vermeer 650tx because the undercarriage is so much bigger

depending on operator (It’s all on the hips)

just another opinion
 

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