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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Implement advice?

    I was just preparing my very first post in anticipation of my very first tractor, when I realized I could use some advice from you all right now. I think I have a line on a used L-series kubota in the 25hp range, with loader and box scraper. I will also need a few more implements to handle my particular tasks, but never having owned a tractor before I fear that I am not thinking like a tractor owner yet. In other words, I'm not sure if I know how to make the transition from doing-it-by-hand to doing-it-by-tractor.

    In a nutshell, I will be maintaining 42 acres in the Sierra foothills here in California. My first concern will be to control the tall grass, weeds and brush that surround the home structures at least to the point of fire safety. I have been doing this by hand for the last several years using a backpack sprayer, a DR Trimmer-Mower and a hand rake. It's been a losing battle. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

    From what I have learned by following this message board, the first implement I should try to get is a brush hog. I figure my tractor would handle a 5-footer, but I could easily get by with a 4-footer. Does this sound like the first-strike weapon of choice?

    Like I said, I have been using a backpack sprayer, and spraying with Roundup is quite effective, except I could only spray a couple of acres in a day (a lousy, backbreaking day, I might add [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]). The question here is, should I transfer my spraying operation to the tractor by putting, say, a 50-gallon PTO-driven boom sprayer on the back? Or will brush-hogging render the whole idea of spraying moot?

    Then there's the yard or landscape rake. Again, I'm probably still thinking like foot soldier, but it sounds like a handy tool for cleaning up loose rocks before weed-whacking, and maybe tidying up certain areas after weeds are down. Does the mulching action of a brush hog make this step unnecessary, too? Will a box scraper do just as well as a cleaner-upper?

    I will defer questions about carryalls, forks and other stuff for a later post. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    I make my living developing web-based systems, and this is one of the best sites I have ever seen.

    Congratulations to you all.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img][img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img][img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    - Harv



  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    6,416
    Location
    central New York
    Tractor
    all makes and models

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Harv a 5 foot bush-hog will work fine and do the job you need of keeping those tall weeds down. You should be able to knock down 10 acres in the time it takes you to walk 2 acres and you will feel a lot better doing it. Play with the loader some and you will find you might not need much more for attachments than you are getting.


  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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    39,413
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    Texas

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Harv, brush hogs are almost indispensable. As far as spraying, there are many options; PTO powered, 12 volt powered, and separate motor powered. Some are on their own wheels to be towed, some can just be set in the front end loader bucket, and some are made to hook up to the 3-point. When my brother bought a Kawasaki Mule, he also bought a 50 gallon, 12 volt spray rig w/trailer hitch on its own wheels; both boom and hose nozzle, of course, and I've used it behind my kubota also. Then a neighbor gave me a ragged old 25 gallon pressure sprayer/washer with its own 3.5 hp Briggs & Stratton on 4 wheels and I rebuilt it so I can roll it around by hand or tow it behind the tractor. And another neighbor has a 500 gallon PTO powered rig. You might want to look at some of the spray rigs at http://www.northerntool.com and http://www.tractorsupply.com

    Bird

  4. #4
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,681
    Location
    Syracuse NY
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT w/FEL

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    How much do you spend on Roundup???? I use it just to do under the fence for 1600 ft of horse fence and that costs me $20 per time. The tractor you mentioned will probably handle a 6ft bush hog max but the cost goes up a lot from a 5ft to a 6ft. (I use a 5ft and have a 27hp). just clean up the big rocks the first time and you'll be good to go! I can cut 3ft grass/weeds etc with no problem as long as you either go slow or cut high.


  5. #5
    Veteran Member wen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,513
    Location
    Central Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Harv,

    Good first post! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    How much of that land is flat and how much is small, moderate, and steep slopes or in 8 ft high brush? A five or six foot Bush Hog will mow a lot of flat and small sloped land, but it still takes about an hour per acre of accessible land. A tiller or disc is probably required if you are going to make a fire break. Most new mowers have a pretty good mulching action when set level or slightly higher in front. There will be little to rake in most cases. For most brush bigger than 1 inch, a tractor is probably not the right tool, although the medium duty Bush Hog will handle larger brush, you have to back over it or it may tear up your tractor when it goes underneath. Some of the large brush in California is Bull Dozer quality if it hasn't been cut in many years. I lived in Southern California for 15 years and the land had burned completely about 5 years before I bought it, but the brush was over 8 feet tall and had trunks just about the size of small trees.

    A box blade is also very handy, but it will not clean up much of anything. It will level ground and move some dirt to do that. The scarfiers will dig out rocks and loosen the soil.

    The rake will help in clean up and I find it very useful to rake small rocks, etc.

    I have never owned a tractor pulled sprayer, but if I had a lot of fenceline I would own one. I use a back back sprayer for maintaining about 1/2 mile of perimeter fence.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Bird -
    Thanks for the reply. According to what you and others have said, it sounds like I should start shopping for a 5' brush hog right now. Near as I can tell from other posts I should expect to shell out somewhere around $600, if I shop hard enough.
    As for the sprayers, thanks also for sharing your experience and tips. It occurs to me now that I won't really need a sprayer until spring, so I should have time to learn how to use the tractor itself and hopefully try some brush-hogging before I make the final decision. I'll post excerpts of my learning experiences for your amusement.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]
    - Harv


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Gerard -
    Wow! Something's out of whack here.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/shocked.gif[/img] Roundup ain't cheap, but a little goes a long way. I pay about $120 for a five gallon jug of the concentrate, which I dilute at the rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water -- that's 320 gallons of pretty potent spray solution.
    By my best estimates, I use about 8 gallons of mixed spray per acre. Let's see... that would be 320 gallons / 8 = 40 acres per 5 gallons of concentrate. $120 / 40 = $3.00 per acre. If you sprayed your 1600 feet of fence in a 10 foot wide strip, that would be 16,000 square feet, or a little more than a third of an acre, which should cost about a buck. Ouch! My head is starting to hurt.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/crazy.gif[/img]

    Either my math is totally wrong (possible), or you may be applying WAYmore Roundup than you need to do the job.
    I admit I used to spray it on pretty heavy, not being satisfied unless I could see the foliage glistening wet. Then I noticed areas that I barely touched with overspray died out, too. I experimented and eventually cut way back on how much I applied. I now use a very fine spray and try not to cover the same ground twice any more than I could help. After a couple of weeks, when I can see where I missed, I go back and do a touchup, catching any new growth that may have appeared at the same time. After 4 or 5 weeks the sprayed area looks like I took a flame-thrower to it. Very satisfying [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img].
    I'm still using the same 5-gallon jug I bought 3 years ago and it's not even half gone, so I consider it a trivial expense. I hope this helps and maybe saves you some money in the future. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

    - Harv


  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    765
    Location
    Central Mississippi, USA
    Tractor
    Case-International 385, Kubota L5450 w/LA1150A loader

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Harv, What is the strength of the concentrate you are using?
    I use the 41%, and 2.5 oz/gal is the weakest I've mixed. 2.5 oz works pretty well for grass, but it takes 5 oz/gal to knock down some of the bushes and briars on my fences.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    Wen -
    Good to hear from you! I've been reading this forum long enough that I feel like I already know you. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    The land is pretty hilly for the most part, but there's about 10 acres of relatively flat area and maybe a few more of moderate slopes. I will be concentrating almost entirely on these flat areas for weed and brush control. Eventually I would like to establish a tractor path to some of the more remote areas for the purpose of clearing fallen timber and such. There are existing fire roads that are completely overgrown now, but they will serve as a starting point for my own paths. Experience (both mine and this board's) will dictate how much I do myself and how much I contract out.

    I believe you're right about the tiller. I think fire code in this area says that cut grass and weeds must be turned under in order to constitute a fire break. One of the locals has offered to loan me one when the time comes.

    It sounds like I may need to prep some areas before I can even brush hog them. I have a "Beaver Blade" attachment for my DR Trimmer-Mower which can handle saplings up to 5 inches in diameter. It's basically a 12-inch horizontal circular saw -- a heavy metal disc with a chain saw blade wrapped around it. You can actually mow small forests with the thing, but the trick is to keep the trees from falling on your head after you cut them.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/blush.gif[/img]

    Thanks for the tips on the box blade and the rake. I'm starting to feel pretty experienced already, considering I have yet to sit in a tractor seat. I will undoubtedly have many more questions coming up soon, but I promise to consult the archives before I toss in my posts.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    - Harv


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Implement advice?

    GeneP -

    That's interesting about your Roundup mixtures. I also start with the 41%, but I mix it at about half the strength you do. I find I can kill grass with as little as 1 ounce per gallon, and 2.5 oz/gal kills just about everything else I have. Since I'm usually spraying a mix of weeds, brush and grass at the same time, I generally use 2 oz/gal and follow up a couple of weeks later to nail any survivors. I use the same strength the second time around, but I really soak 'em.

    Possible differences -- I try to catch the weeds early in the spring when they're about six inches tall. Sometimes this takes split-second timing 'cuz they sprout so fast, and of course they don't all germinate at the same time. Two passes, a couple of weeks apart, usually wipes 'em out.

    Another difference could be the type of growth you are dealing with and the climate. Roundup is very effective in warm, sunny, dry weather. It has to do with the rate of photosynthesis, or something like that.

    The frustrating part for me is that this property is 2-1/2 hours from where I live, so I'm only there a couple of weekends a month. I usually win the battle with the first couple of acres but then the rest gets so tall I just break out the DR Trimmer-Mower and have at it mano y mano.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/mad.gif[/img] Overall I win a couple of battles but lose the war, so I feel that I'm forced to buy a kubota.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a fascinating forum.

    - Harv

    P.S. What's your take on Gerard's post? Does $20 for 1600 feet of fence line seem a little excessive to you?


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