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  1. #1
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
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    Default Mulcher vs. Dozer

    I need to clear 10’ wide right of ways. We have contracted out a lot of dozers usually D6 size as well as the big rubber tire mulchers. The dozers are much faster though they leave a mess behind. If they had to rake and stack afterwards I am sure the mulchers would be quicker.

    I am looking to buy a machine to do some of the clearing myself. We usually contract out around 500 miles a year of 10’ wide right of way. The bigger jobs we usually put 3-4 machines on but the smaller ones we want to do ourselves as we often find it costly and difficult to get someone to come clear a mile here or there.

    I have a 100hp tracked skid steer. What I am wondering is how a mulcher on it or maybe a Rayco 100 smaller mulcher would compare to a smaller dozer like a D4 or Deere 550? Interested in how fast they could clear compared to each other and anticipated maintenance costs.
    Last edited by bdog; 02-02-2018 at 09:42 AM.
    1980 John Deere 4440
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  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Why don't you just rent an Excavator with a mulching head on it? The cost of such a machine is $10,000 per month not counting fuel and an operator, but is 100% deductible on your taxes, any major breakdowns is upon their dime, and production would be a lot higher and at your mercy instead of a contractor?

    Renting equipment would make the most sense in this case I would think. The key is getting the seat time as I typically run out of rented days instead of the hours. If a person can get the seat time in so the machines uses 100% of the days/hours rented for, it is a sweet deal.

    Most of my land clearing is done with rented equipment, just so I can avoid downtime, cost of repairs, and the cost of the equipment.

    If you liked the machine and what it does, you could always buy a similar machine; scaling up or down as needed next year.

    Edited to Say:
    I have a few bulldozers, but I think you are right, in right of way clearing, mulching makes more sense. This is in contrast to what I typically do, which is in land clearing; the turning of forest into field.

  3. #3
    Elite Member nybirdman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    The problem with a dozer is ;they remove a lot of top soil,you have piles of brush/trees to deal with afterwards.I have had both used on my property and prefer the Skid Steer with the FECON head for sure.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Interesting. I have been in this line of work since 1994 and I have never once seen someone use an excavator with a mulching head to clear right of way. I wonder why. I could see them being good in big trees or if trying to clear around a pond or something but not sure how they would be faster going in a straight line where most trees are 10-15’ tall. Mesquite brush mainly.

    When we work clearing we are out of town staying in motels and work 7 days a week and 12-14 hours a day. The problem we have encountered with renting is a week rental only allows you 40 hours and a month rental only 160. We can hit 40 hours in three days and 160 in 12 days so their advertised weekly or monthly rental rates end up being more than doubled due to the hours we run.
    1980 John Deere 4440
    2006 John Deere 550 J dozer
    2016 John Deere 333E compact track loader
    2018 John Deere 35G excavator

  5. #5
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Quote Originally Posted by nybirdman View Post
    The problem with a dozer is ;they remove a lot of top soil,you have piles of brush/trees to deal with afterwards.I have had both used on my property and prefer the Skid Steer with the FECON head for sure.
    You are definitely correct on that. However in our scenario it isn’t our property and the landowners are typically compensated an amount that lets them hire someone to clean up/reclaim the damages after we are done and gone. Most of this work is on large ranches and they don’t care and just pocket the clean up money but others do use it to tidy things up after the work is done. From our point of view we just need to get the right of ways passable as quickly as possible.
    1980 John Deere 4440
    2006 John Deere 550 J dozer
    2016 John Deere 333E compact track loader
    2018 John Deere 35G excavator

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    I’m not a big mulcher person but for ROW they are hard to beat. No piles to burn, no raking to keep it clean and they are point and shoot. I would however, recommend on getting a purpose built machine. They have all the shielding, aux cooling, some have fire suppression systems and get the metal tracks. For what you’re doing I wouldn’t try to adapt yours, you’ll have much more downtime and less productivity

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    I am amused how regional differences affect exposure to different ways of doing stuff. Brush rakes on big Cats can do a heck of a job, reasonably clean piles. But the excavators with flail packages really can do such a more sanitary job, and in the long run more environmentally friendly. I like to see people and contractors moving away from the stack and burn standard operating procedure of the past. The short nickel often goes for the pile and burn but the long dime goes to mulch.


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  8. #8
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Well I bought a dozer today. A 2006 Deere 550J LT. It is in good shape with a known history and I got a really good deal on it. I am going to try it out and if it doesn’t work well I think I can sell or trade it and come out even. I ran it a little bit at the sellers place pushing brush and while it ain’t a huge dozer it seems capable.
    1980 John Deere 4440
    2006 John Deere 550 J dozer
    2016 John Deere 333E compact track loader
    2018 John Deere 35G excavator

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Quote Originally Posted by hslogger View Post
    I am amused how regional differences affect exposure to different ways of doing stuff. Brush rakes on big Cats can do a heck of a job, reasonably clean piles. But the excavators with flail packages really can do such a more sanitary job, and in the long run more environmentally friendly. I like to see people and contractors moving away from the stack and burn standard operating procedure of the past. The short nickel often goes for the pile and burn but the long dime goes to mulch.
    I agree.

    For where I live, with often thin soil to bedrock, mulching just allows the farmer (because I land clear for fields) to maintain some of that soil. Depending on the use of the field, even leaving the stump to rot may be possible, stumping it 5 years later since a stump rots from the ground up, and leaves a lot smaller root ball to get rid of.

    Mulchers have come such a long ways. I cannot really imagine a bulldozer being faster than a mulcher on an excavator when the trees are only 15 feet high. Holy crap...I wished I dealt with trees that small! A mulcher on an excavator would be the equivalent of bushogging an overgrown lawn in that ratio! :-)

    ...

    I like John Deere Bulldozer's and have owned a few. BDog are right, the 550J is a bit small and known for brake problems, but for pushing brush would work well. I had a John Deere 700 for awhile, but it just was not big enough for what I needed. It was also on the weak side; snapping tracks (which is where I got my user name), and shattering a rear sprocket before I finally sent it down the road on a lowbed. Now the John Deere 850...I like them and cleared a lot of land with them over the years.

  10. #10
    Gold Member Todd727's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mulcher vs. Dozer

    Quote Originally Posted by bdog View Post
    Well I bought a dozer today. A 2006 Deere 550J LT. It is in good shape with a known history and I got a really good deal on it. I am going to try it out and if it doesn’t work well I think I can sell or trade it and come out even. I ran it a little bit at the sellers place pushing brush and while it ain’t a huge dozer it seems capable.
    If it doesn't work out, contact the guys down at Rowmec. They are near Conroe. They should be able to explain all you options.

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