The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homestead Blog


Homesteading Tags

Recent Comments

Blog Archive

User Pages


About Us

Submission guidelines


Tractor vs. UTV

Tractor dealership

While the majority opinion among our readers seems to be that a tractor would be a better choice for on-farm hauling, our gut feeling is that a UTV is still a more appropriate vehicle. We've seen tractors in our swamp before, and the result was lots of very deep ruts and farmers who were leery of ever setting foot on our land again.

Unfortunately, we haven't seen UTVs in the same scenario, so we can't compare the two types of vehicle side by side. But when we dropped by a dealership that sells both tractors and UTVs, the salesman agreed with my analysis. He mostly sells to farmers and they tend to use UTVs even in really mucky terrain where cows have been fed in the same spot all winter.

Kubota UTV

In fact, the salesman told us about a farmer who accidentally let a wagon roll down into a sinkhole...and ended up with a tractor down in the same wet, mucky hole. The tractor couldn't handle the mud, but the farmer's UTV could. Here's hoping our guess is right and a utility task vehicle can handle our swamp.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

I haven't tried these, but they sound like something you might find useful.

Comment by Maggie Turner Wed Aug 3 08:07:13 2016
We live on swampy ground, and would definately recommend a UTV. We have both,a tractor and UTV, the tractor always gets stuck and is a big pain to get unstuck. The UTV has rarely got stuck however.
Comment by Helen Wed Aug 3 08:45:17 2016
If the priority is transportation, the UTV probably is the best choice. Tractors are just so appealing because of their versatility (implements) and strength for pulling and lifting. I'm sure that tractors have much more weight per area of tire contact than a UTV, which means more sinking.
Comment by Chris Wed Aug 3 13:36:41 2016
I would buy a second hand 4wheel drive tractor, the utv are not built to last, they are a toy for rich farmers and are way too expensive. The dealers recommend them because they make a higher commission and sell more spare parts.
Comment by beau Wed Aug 3 20:24:27 2016

We have both, and we also feed cows in the winter, and regularly cross creeks in the middle of snow storms in order to find lost cows/calves. We have a new 4 wheel drive John Deere 6210, a 2WD John Deere 7210, and a 4x4 John Deere side-by-side (That's what we call UTV's here in KY lol). These are my experiences/ramblings: -2WD tractor slides everywhere in mud, and this thing is huge. The back tires are as tall as a grown man. 2 winters ago it was very wet and not very cold, so we had lots and lots of mud. We were using a hay mulcher at the time to mulch the hay before feeding to our cows. This requires backing up perfectly, in order to position two small bars under the hay bale...there was little room for error, or the hay bale would roll off the side, or slip through the middle tearing the hay apart. The mid got so bad that it would take us 20-30 tries of trying to get the tractor to back up without sliding left or right. -4WD 6210 is a beast. It also has a front loader, and the front tires are almost as big as that back. This tractor can go anywhere it will fit (which can sometimes be an issue). Nothing has ever stopped this tractor from going where we need it too. We love that there is a tool for any farm job that you can get for a tractor. That is the main reason for having them. Mowing a field doesn't take very long when your mower is making an 18' path. -UTV...we love this guy most of all. You needn't learn all of the ins and outs of tractor safety, and how to drive them safely (as they behave different than any vehicle you have ever driven). Tractors are also expensive to repair, and usually have to be taken to a dealer. Very little service is allowed to be done by the owner. The UTV is the opposite. Ours also has a dump bed, which makes hauling chicken coop muck to the compost pile very easy. We've pulled full size trailers with it, hauled harvests from the field back to the house, etc.. Ours have a switch to change from 2wd to 4wd, and that is very important to us. The ones that stay in 4wd at all times are really hard to steer, especially if you've got a cup of coffee in one hand :-). We've never gotten it stuck in 4WD. In fact, I've used it regularly to pull out our zero turn mower out of the ditch. It just goes anywhere, is a pleasure to drive, has a thousand uses, and is very fuel efficient. I would choose it for your situation. Your farm is not of the size to warrant the increased costs of purchasing and maintaining a tractor...I just don't think you would get the full value. Not to mention, a tractor is not purchased for the vehicle component, but mainly as an after thought, based on the size of system required to run particular implements. Farmers choose implements first, and then the tractor. This isn't the case on your homestead, and illustrates why you should choose the UTV. Best of luck in your search!

Comment by Robert Sat Aug 6 09:23:26 2016

I was searching for information comparing UTV and tractor not knowing what we are going to get into around this new mini farm. And up pops your link, third from the top. Anyway, good information. Didn't know there was a difference between an ATV and a UTV.
Hope all is well.

Comment by Richard Sat Jan 27 11:08:49 2018

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime