John Deere 3038E tractor

*Hawaii5joe*

5 year old buck +
Went to the JD dealership to look at my options on a new tractor. I currently have a IH 656 hydro, 710 3 bottom plow, 8 foot 3 point disc and I am looking to get into some newer equipment. I do about 10 acres of food plots a year and need to mow about 5 acres of ATV trails. Salesman wants to get me in a 3038E, loader, brush mower, and rear tiller. I'm nervous about the rear tiller and the rocks. He said a good tiller will handle it just fine especially only going down 2-3". Also a little nervous about the size of the tractor. I just don't know much about equipment and have had some bad advice in the past.
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
This size tractor (the JD 3038) is considerably lighter and has less pulling power than your IH tractor. You won't pull that plow or that disk with the JD tractor. You may handle a six foot cutter.....but not if you go too heavy. Depending on your soils.....a five to six foot disk is the size you want. I'm not sure if I would go with a five food or a six foot tiller......but you may have a faster ground speed with a fiver.....and save some money on tiller size.

Ten acres is allot of tilling.....but the 3038 can handle that tiller nicely. The hydro will allow you to match the ground speed to the power available. I'd guess it will take you one hour / acre to shallow till.....depending on lots of variables.

Given a choice.....the twenty series tractors have more weight and more features. Also, significantly better loaders and higher lifting capacities at the loader and the 3 point. They also cost about 25% more.

There's always bigger tractors......and its easy to keep selling yourself up. You also don't want to sell yourself short. I nearly bought a 3038.....but held out for a used 3320 at a lower price. I am glad for the choice I made with my equipment needs (grapple and stump grinder.....as well as ground engaging stuff). My SIL has a 3032 and is quite happy with his.....but he does not do the tillage you speak about.

Not sure of your budget or wants and needs. Compare stuff. Drive models of interest. Sit in the seat. Read, Read, Read. Go to tractor by net and read the model reviews.
 

*Hawaii5joe*

5 year old buck +
This size tractor (the JD 3038) is considerably lighter and has less pulling power than your IH tractor. You won't pull that plow or that disk with the JD tractor. You may handle a six foot cutter.....but not if you go too heavy. Depending on your soils.....a five to six foot disk is the size you want. I'm not sure if I would go with a five food or a six foot tiller......but you may have a faster ground speed with a fiver.....and save some money on tiller size.

Ten acres is allot of tilling.....but the 3038 can handle that tiller nicely. The hydro will allow you to match the ground speed to the power available. I'd guess it will take you one hour / acre to shallow till.....depending on lots of variables.

Given a choice.....the twenty series tractors have more weight and more features. Also, significantly better loaders and higher lifting capacities at the loader and the 3 point. They also cost about 25% more.

There's always bigger tractors......and its easy to keep selling yourself up. You also don't want to sell yourself short. I nearly bought a 3038.....but held out for a used 3320 at a lower price. I am glad for the choice I made with my equipment needs (grapple and stump grinder.....as well as ground engaging stuff). My SIL has a 3032 and is quite happy with his.....but he does not do the tillage you speak about.

Not sure of your budget or wants and needs. Compare stuff. Drive models of interest. Sit in the seat. Read, Read, Read. Go to tractor by net and read the model reviews.
Is shallow tilling considered 1-3" or so? Is this good enough for brassica and rye food plots?
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
To me, shallow tilling is about 3". This is adequate on my land to cover the trash and makes a good seed bed. My soils are sandy-loam. Deep tillage does little to improve my situation. If I had hard pan or clay....then deep tillage may improve that soil. Also, I am not dealing with things like cornstalks. I don't know what you have for soil conditions.

One thing I learned quickly about my soil. I have about 5" of better black dirt on top of sand. If I moldboard plow this land, I turn the sand up and the black dirt goes down. That serves little purpose. Light tilling the topsoil has been my best solution. When doing so.....I can increase my tractors ground speed by as much as 50% and still get a nice seed bed. (now that I have the rooks and stumps out of my food plots)
 

*Hawaii5joe*

5 year old buck +
F
To me, shallow tilling is about 3". This is adequate on my land to cover the trash and makes a good seed bed. My soils are sandy-loam. Deep tillage does little to improve my situation. If I had hard pan or clay....then deep tillage may improve that soil. Also, I am not dealing with things like cornstalks. I don't know what you have for soil conditions.

One thing I learned quickly about my soil. I have about 5" of better black dirt on top of sand. If I moldboard plow this land, I turn the sand up and the black dirt goes down. That serves little purpose. Light tilling the topsoil has been my best solution. When doing so.....I can increase my tractors ground speed by as much as 50% and still get a nice seed bed. (now that I have the rooks and stumps out of my food plots)
Foggy- great advice! I definitely want to hit the 1 acre per hour mark if possible or better. It appears I could step it up to the 40 hp model (4105 I think) and get a 6-7' tiller on it if you think 10+ acres is a little big for a 3038. I just will not be able to put the loader on it right away. Have you ever had rocks wedged between tines? How about fuel consumption per acre on yours?Specs show around 2.5 gallons per 1 hour of running???
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
F

Foggy- great advice! I definitely want to hit the 1 acre per hour mark if possible or better. It appears I could step it up to the 40 hp model (4105 I think) and get a 6-7' tiller on it if you think 10+ acres is a little big for a 3038. I just will not be able to put the loader on it right away. Have you ever had rocks wedged between tines? How about fuel consumption per acre on yours?Specs show around 2.5 gallons per 1 hour of running???

A JD 4105 is a geared drive tractor. One of the last things I would give up would be a hydro tranny on a tractor. Also a loader......not gonna happen for me. If you don't do much HD pulling with a plow or a disk... and don't need HD loader specs.....then these lighter tractors (like the 3038) seem to be a fair choice for plotting needs.

(IMO......Don't go the route of adding a loader at a later date.....as it's gonna cost more and most guys never get it done. The loader is one of the best things you could have......and you need the weight on the front end....etc, etc. )

Conversely.....if you want / need the great loader specs and three point specs.....and lots of hydraulic capacity for other purposes.......and want to pull disks and plows......then these may not be the right tractor for you.

I'm not really sure if I'd go with a six or a five foot tiller on a 3038. I'd have to read a bit and ask lots of questions to know. But I'd bet I'd do similar work with either......just by altering the ground speed due to the load. Again, I don't know what kinda ground you have(?). Either a five or six would cover your wheel tracks....which is a big consideration.

Most guys doing food plot work won't put 100 hours a year on a tractor. Likely more like 50 hours. The fuel consumption is not a huge deal. I have three 5 gallon cans for diesel fuel.....and I get along just fine. A full days work is about six gallons of fuel. A gallon an hour under load is my best guess (With my 30 PTO HP unit.). I'd guess most of these little tractors are similar.

I can't recall having a rock wedged into my tiller tines.....but I suppose it could have happened. Mostly the tiller just rides up and over the bigger rocks. No big deal. I've had LOTS of stumps wedged tight in the tiller. I keep a 4' crow bar attached to my tiller for just such an occasion. Some are tough to get out. Also have wrapped lots of wire fence in the tiller and lots of sticks and vegetation. A bolt cutter takes care of wire......and a lopper or a sawzall take the wrapped vegetation out....along with a little cussing.

For me it's hard to "justify" spending more on a tractor for food plotting. I'm already over "budget".....lol.
 
Last edited:
Top