In Japan, that is a BIG tractor. Here, it is a tiny tractor. Yanmar and satoh (and kubota) are pretty well made. Unfortunately, the kubota is 95% 'merkinized, with lotsa advertising and marketing overhead. (and prices reflecting that) Yanmars are now almost all painted green, also with big advertising and marketing overhead. Satoh seems to have disappeared. I's love to have a real little Japanese tractor, with the plates still in Japanese, not one made for the "merkun market with 3 point hitch to use as a garden tractor (not a lawnmower)

Some of the IH and MF diesel garden tractors from the 70s are great little japanese tractors, but a lot of them don't have 3 pt hitch or PTO. Once in a while I see a little kubota garden tractor for sale, but most of the sellers want silly money. Most of the used "garden tractors" for sale now, are not; They are just glorified lawnmowers. If you really want a lawnmower, the zero turns are best, or the really old one like Curt has is good.


A little 10-15 hp japanese 2 cyl diesel garden tractor with a tiller, disk, harrow and planter makes gardening for a family easy. The 3 pt bushhog is a good thing too, especially if you don't have a 40 to 125 HP tractor to do that stuff.

If I were looking for something more recent, I'd look at Mahindra. Mahindra is the former International Harvester India. Their 15-40 hp tractors have much in common with the old IH A, B, C, H and M tractors, with quite a few parts still interchangeable.

I ran a 45 HP kubota pulling a PTO air sprayer for a day. The fan alone takes 45 HP at the PTO, so the poor thing was overworked. I ran the engine full bore all the time and drove it with the hydrostatic trans lever and the brakes and steering wheel. For being so underpowered (30 GPM pump takes another 10-15 HP, plus a couple HP to move all the weight over the ground) I was impressed with how well it did. On a downhill run I could get full RPM on everything, on the level it was maybe 90-95% rpm, and doing uphill, because it was a Diesel, it was maybe 80% rpm. '

Most of the time we ran that sprayer with a 1530 JD that was also underpowered (45 HP) but most of the time we could keep the fan speed at 100% with the JD. I pulled the same sprayer with a MF 275 one year (75 HP and it was great, except for going downhill was scary. It had the equivalent of a TA, so the tractor would run away going downhill, unless you could hold it back with the brakes. (No engine braking) Most of the time I kept under a half tank for the hilly part, and if you remember to do it before starting downhill, there was a lever to lock the TA, so you would have engine braking. One time the ground was really wet and I remembered to lock up the TA. I started down the hill, and the engine was braking. Then the RR tire started spinning in reverse due to the open differential as we peeled off the sod and slid downhill. I was really busy trying to make sure the thing did not jackknife and roll the tractor. To keep it from jackknifing and rolling, I finally quit trying to hold it back, pushed the clutch and let the whole thing run away to the bottom of the hill, where I was able to get control again. That was a scarier ride than when I rolled a tractor.

The next year I pulled the same sprayer with the yanmar (JD 5500) (80 HP, with MFD). It was a much lighter tractor with much smaller tires, and in place of being 7 ft wide, it was barely over 4' at 50" wide. I was amazed at how it pulled the sprayer uphill and down in conditions so squishy that the tires pushed the sod down 4", but never broke the sod like the MF did. It was a wonderful tractor. It took half the fuel of either the MF or the JD 1530. With $5.50/gal fuel, I really appreciated that fuel economy. The MFD was a pain at row ends, because it would not turn tight enough to turn into the next row, so I had to turn partway, then back up and go at the turn again to get into the next row. That wasted a lot of time, but all in all the benefits outweighed the pain of not being able to turn tight enough. In some blocks, I could develop a pattern of skip a row or 2, then pick up the skipped rows by skipping 3 or 2 at the other end.
Peter Frederick via Mercedes <mailto:mercedes@okiebenz.com>
February 22, 2018 at 8:17 PM
I think a lot of Japanese farms use those little tractors, so they are like the old John Deeres -- tough as all getout and reliable as rain.

If I were rich.....

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