Hydro or gear


5 year old buck +
I'm thinking of breaking down and saving to get a tractor. If you were going to get one would you go gear or hydro? I'm sure I know which way I'm going but wanted to throw it out there. The tractor will be in the 35-40 HP range with a loader.
I like my hydro, but I also use my tractor for snow removal at home in addition to my small plots. Makes the forward\backward changes very easy.

Mine is a lot smaller though 23 HP JD1023E. No saving up for me, I got it zero down 0% for 72 months, though the "interest" in this case is most likely baked into the initial price...i.e. if I would have paid cash I'm sure I could have got it cheaper.
Today's lightweight tractors are more designed for PTO work than for pulling plows and heavy ground engaging stuff. Therefore a Hydro is a much better tranny IMO. By using the PTO you won't need the aggressive ag-type tires and can get along nicely with durable industrial tires (less prone to puncture).

For loader work.....hard to position yourself better than with a hydro tranny - same goes for positioning with a stump grinder or tree spade, etc. Then for snow plowing a hydro lets you adjust your speed to maximize the load into the blower. Same goes for a tiller.....you can set the speed to maximize the engine load on tiller.....and slow or speed according to conditions.....all at the touch of your toe. Instant stop, start and reversing just via the touch of your toe. NICE :D

Reliable too. No clutch to wear out and you have an independent PTO to boot. Better for resale too. Easier for a novice to operate. What's not to like?

OTOH....if your bent on a plow and disk.....and don't do much loader work......maybe a gear tranny will save you a few bucks.

That's my story....and I'm sticking to it. ;)
I like my hydro. Get as much jpeg as you can. My 30 was under powered. Four wheel drive is a must especially this year with all the rain.
Loader = hydro
Anyone ever hear of Branson tractors. They have a dealer near me but I have never heard of them before.
Anyone ever hear of Branson tractors. They have a dealer near me but I have never heard of them before.
I have heard of them, but don't know much about them.

A quick search turned this up:

Branson is a trade name for compact tractors built by the Kukje Machinery Company of South Korea. Kukje has been building agricultural machinery since 1968, and has supplied components for Yanmar, John Deere and engines for Cummins.
I don't know much about the brand either. You could check the forums on tractorbynet.com They typically list about a dozen (or more) brands on the forum and folks discuss and review them. Lots of good product is being made....but not all are well supported by a dealer and parts network.

There are a number of companies in asian countries that make parts for Yanmar, Kubota and such. Kioti is a brand that got started by making parts and engines for Kubota....then started making their own brand. They also private labeled the Bobcat tractors for a time, until Bobcat imploded. Same with so many other factories over there......so many are trying to market a tractor in the USA but few seem able to achieve the numbers needed....so far.

It's easy to trade around in the popular brands.....not so much in the lesser-known brands. That is not to say they are bad stuff tho.
i'd be leery about going with a brand like branson myself. it's going to be harder to sell, harder to find parts, and harder to get information about. what if your local dealer quits selling them? then where's the next closest dealer? I bought a deere but I think if i did it over again I'd take a serious look at new holland. they're quite a bit cheaper and have a pretty solid dealer network. Like foggy said, there's lots of good options out there.

as far as hydro vs. gear goes - gear is great if you're pulling something in a straight line for a long time. hydro is better for tight quarters (food plots!). The main reason i sold my gear tractor was to get a hydro.
I also had a gear tractor before buying my current one. I owned a 790 John Deere. It was a very good small tractor and had the same PTO horse-power as my current tractor: a JD 3320. I thought I could "live' with a gear tractor due to the lower price tag......and I suppose I could if not for all my trees and stumps. But I grew weary of the clutch and shifting during loader work especially.....and the tractor was a little light in its ability to lift at the three point and the loader just didnt cut it. Not enough hydraulic capacity or weight to quite get the jobs done for my needs.

When I decided I needed a grapple to handle the brush and trees.....and reviewed some other things I wanted (stump grinder) I decided to make a change. I sold my 790 for the same price I paid and shopped for a 3320 until I found the right one (used cream puff) with the right options on the tractor (hydraulic lines and bigger tires, etc). The 3320 fixed all those shortcomings and was about 30% heavier. No regrets....other than I suppose one can always wish for more power or size on some applications. (My stump grinder would go faster with more power :D)

However I get along just fine now....with no tractor envy for a bigger tractor.....nor wishing I had a hyrdo tractor when doing lots of loader work or precision driving applications. (stump grinder and grapple work)
foggy - we have very similar tractor backgrounds. i used to have a 950 and upgraded to the 3032e w/ a grapple. wish i would have held on to the 950 for a few more years and then got into the 40hp range though.
love those 3320's, a buddy of mine has one. it's funny how similar in size they are but different they are in weight and capability.
I have found out a few things about Branson. They weigh about 1k more than a CUT of the same HP from other manufactures. The seat is has the best suspension on a tractor that I have ever sat on. They have 2 hyd pumps one for steering and one for loader. They look good and appear to be well made. These are all good features. The biggest drawback is about anyone came become a dealer and a dealer does not need to know how to service them. That is the killer right there. Foggy mentions TBN site and I have been checking there and not much talk about them. A good tractor doesn't mean much if you can't get it serviced or have to run far for parts.
They do have a Branson Forum Listing over on TBN. http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/century-branson

I read a few posts and some guys grumbled about parts and service support. Read on this before you make a decision. They may have a good price....but don't expect good support - from what little I read.
Thanks Foggy, I missed that on TBN. I was never really considering a Branson but just put the question out there to see why kind of replies I'd get back.
I bought a Mahindra 4035 last year with a shuttle shift transmission easy to shift form forward to reverse. If you are going to do a lot of loader work I would go with the hydro.