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  1. #1
    Bronze Member tmac196's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Temperance, MI
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    1951 Ford 8N, 1965 Ford 2000, 2010 Simplicity Legacy XL, Grasshopper 325D, JD 5065M

    Default Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    We are about to take possession of a 30-acre horse farm we recently purchased in Michigan. Approximately 12 acres of the property is fenced pasture and maybe 8 acres are currently Á*•nhusbanded grass hay with some fairly low yields because of it.
    Approximately 4.5 acres have been sitting fallow for the last 15-20 years and are overgrown. I have included an satellite view of this segment of the property and some pictures of the growth for all to see. I would like to turn this acreage into useable hay field and am seeking some opinions on the best way to do it. I would like to do this project myself if at all possible.
    Pictures of the property can be viewed below:









    Some of the brush has stems that are approximately 3 inches in diameter. The ground is sandy and gently slopes from north to south where a creek easily seen in the satellite photo marks the southern border of this field. The drainage is excellent. I have not yet had the soil tested, as I am not yet the property owner.

    The questions that come to mind are:
    What equipment would you recommend I rent to clear out the underbrush completely? It appears some of the brush may be too heavy for a rotary cutter, or is it not?
    Should I remove the roots now or later?
    Could the roots, if left in the ground, prevent me from having the field ploughed up and prepared for hay next season?
    Should the field even be ploughed up or is there a better option to prepare the ground for seeding?
    I would like to keep this topic open and report my progress as the project evolves. As someone new to this I will appreciate all of the advice that you all can give me.

    tmac196

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Dec 2007
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    481

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    I am the new guy so lets see if I know anything or not. Before you go renting equiptment wait for some more answers.

    If you want that for a hay field then the roots need to be ripped up. If you just clear it off and dont get rid of the roots you are going to have regroth issues in your hay (and may anyway with ripping the roots).

    Rotary cutter is fine but leaves the roots. Alot of the smaller stuff comes up better still attached to the root ball. All of the bigger stuff does cause it gives you something to push on.

    When I get done with grubbing this kind of stuff out and level the soil back out is is ready for planting, especially if I use the root rake in it. Hay seeds are not intended to be plannted deep, as long as the top inch of soil is disturbed you can roll or drag it in.

    Now recomedations on equiptment...

    Were it I, I would do it all less the big pines with my CTL60 (big tracked skid steer) and a root grapple. If however I did not have that and was going to rent something, I would likely rent a 16000 pound class dozer and push it all out into big bonfires.

    I think if you are wanting this for hay field if you dont get the roots out or kill them you will fight them for years to come in your hay.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Piston's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    2,412
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    Central MA, Lakes Region NH
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    Wish I could give you some good advice, but my suggestions all include leaving the roots in the ground, which really isn't an option for you as far as I know. I'll be interested to watch your project progress, as I'm also trying to figure out a way to get rid of all the 'brush roots' that I have.

    I was thinking of mowing down everything I could with the brush mower, knocking down all the larger saplings with the grapple on the FEL, and using the grapple to rip out the stump in the process, then going over the land with a subsoiler or some type of ripper or something. I figure that will loosen the ground quite a bit and hopefully rip up the roots, then rent a power rake to rake everything into windrows to collect later.
    Only thing is, I have no idea how well a power rake works with roots/small stumps, it may get all clogged up with them, it will be interesting to see what the more experienced people recommend.

    By the way, congratulations on your land purchase
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  4. #4
    Gold Member tonyoz's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    Location
    Queensland & Far South Coast NSW Australia
    Tractor
    Rayco

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    The attachment on an excavator that is used for clearing Mesquite (see Clearing Mesquite thread here) to my mind would be the go. By taking out the whole tree/bush soil disturbance could be kept to a minimum, then mulch or burn, mulch preferably, the remains
    CTC Mulching
    Made a silk purse out of a Sows ear

  5. #5
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2011
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    276
    Location
    Pontotoc Ms
    Tractor
    jd 4610

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    cheapest way
    Bale the pasture and hay field put your livestock on the overgrown and let them eat it down for a few years.

    Or Have your forestry service spray this area for planting trees like they do cutover timber. Then burn it out , the left overs will be short work for a dozer with a ripper.
    Or you could probably push the rest up with your loader. Then have a local farmer with a big tractor go over it with a v-ripper. Then chisel plow/disk/plant

    Or get a excavator. pile n burn

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Nov 2006
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    Georgia

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    My answer will not be the cheapest, but you can push,pull,pile,rake,burn,dig, OR... hire a mulcher that can turn the debri fairly deep into the ground, or someone with a Gyrotrac GT-25 that can leave small chips, or someone with a "subsoiler" that can mulch the material and till it into the ground. This is the only way to get ground you can "farm" the quickest and with least ground disturbance. A subsoiler is the only attachment I have seen that can take overgrown areas and turn them into plantable, safe ground for animals.
    Robbie Hegwood
    404-379-5897

  7. #7
    Super Star Member
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    Missouri
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    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    Yes, it is "possible" to do it on your own, but my assumption is and pardon me if I'm wrong, you are not experienced in this type of equipment operation. If you are not a good operator, you will spend about as much money on equipment rental and fuel as you would by paying someone to do it.

    If you have the money to buy a good piece of used equipment then sell it when you're done that could be an option.

    I have cleared a enough land in my youth to know I now just pay to have it done if it's that overgrown.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Piston's Avatar
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    Central MA, Lakes Region NH
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    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie Hegwood View Post
    My answer will not be the cheapest, but you can push,pull,pile,rake,burn,dig, OR... hire a mulcher that can turn the debri fairly deep into the ground, or someone with a Gyrotrac GT-25 that can leave small chips, or someone with a "subsoiler" that can mulch the material and till it into the ground. This is the only way to get ground you can "farm" the quickest and with least ground disturbance. A subsoiler is the only attachment I have seen that can take overgrown areas and turn them into plantable, safe ground for animals.
    Would the mulcher be able to mulch the stumps/roots low enough so that they wouldn't be a problem?

    I like the mulcher idea the best and that's the route I am taking with my own property, but I'm interested in how deep they can efficiently mulch the roots/stumps.
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Georgia

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    I'm not certain about carbide heads, atleast 4-5", maybe one of the guys with one can answer. I have always dealt with blade equipped heads so we try and stay out of the dirt. That's why I suggested a "subsoiler", they are mulchers made to go deeper, 10-12" if need be. The problem there is there are not that many out there. You would probably have to contact a FAE or Fecon rep and find out if anyone near near you is running one. Maybe call your local mulcher and ask how deep he can get below grade. You could maybe even haul in some top soil and put a couple on inches over the larger tree stumps to make sure you wouldn't hit them mowing.
    Robbie Hegwood
    404-379-5897

  10. #10
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2012
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    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    Kioti DK45SE Hst

    Default Re: Land clearing newbie needs help-pics. included

    How fast do you need it cleared? Ever thought of a herd of goats? Do you already have fences? The goats will make short work of the brushy stuff. We only have 2 goats and they have cleared 3 acres of brush completely over the past year.

    There are many people w/ goats that are looking for places like this. Look on Craigslist. Mutually beneficial arrangements can be made.

    I like a good tractor/power equipment heyday as well as the next guy, but it's just another option.

    Marcus
    Kioti DK45SE HST w/ backhoe, forks, PHD, box blade, chipper. Living off-grid, Listeroid 6/1 backup, masonry stove, thermal mass H2O storage
    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temp Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Ben Franklin, 1775
    "The 2nd Amendment is the RESET button of the US Constitution"

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