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  1. #1
    Member
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    May 2008
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    25
    Location
    Southern Alberta Canada
    Tractor
    IH 784

    Default Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Hi everyone, I have been following every thread here as I have been in the shopping/comparison mode for a couple of months now, have been to all the local dealers, sat on many different tractors and read more literature than is probably good for me. (I am sure you all know what I'm talking about ) This is my second post and am in search of some experience from all you good folks.

    A little history and bio:
    A few years ago I sold most of the farm but kept the 15 acres of flat (mostly) open land that used to be my farmstead. I also maintained the rights of usage to 80 acres of river front land that went with the sale of the farm. I keep about 7-8 acres of the 15 mowed around a lot of trees that were planted 40 years ago, and have now become a forest out on the prairies AND need to clear and mow trails in the river land occasionally.

    Last fall my mower died during the last mow of the season (21 yr old JD front mount) and that put me into a mower shopping mode. After looking at all the great new ZTR's etc, I just have a hard time spending $5-8 thousand on a mowing machine that ONLY mows and will be parked all winter. That got me looking into other avenues to be able to still do my mowing but also give me the ability to landscape, move all our Canadian snow, mow trails through the river front land, till garden plots, maintain gravel drives and so on.

    As I was doing my research I was approached by the village that I live next to doing pasture mowing for the residents who have vacant lots and so my looking went form SCUT's to CUT's. I had been considering such a thing anyway and so I will be doing this and offering my services of small landscaping jobs and tilling to these neighbors of mine.

    I have been looking at tractors from JD, kubota, MF, Mahindra, Kioti, Montana in that 25-30 hp range.

    So far things were good and I was getting close to pulling the trigger and then another fly-in-the-ointment came along. My mother's (she lives out on the 15 acres in her own house) septic field went south and needs to be replaced. That forest that was planted 40 years ago have grown roots through the field lines and plugged her run. Her tank is still in excellent condition and only the field needs replaced.

    Now my question........ Can one of these small 25-30 hp CUT's with a backhoe handle such a job in a fairly manageable fashion?

    Or would it pay just to hire it out? I am very adept at running equipment as I have farmed my whole life. I have run a backhoe, but would not call myself a pro by any means. Would this size of CUT/Backhoe handle the roots that thread through the land from the trees. The field passes near this (planned) forest (it is all planted in rows with new trees sprouting up from the cones here an there) and will be dealing with roots of evergreens that are 20-30 ft away and will need to go right through some lilac trees to get to where the field will be. I don't have any idea of what I can expect from a small backhoe setup. It would be a nice way to help pay for the hoe. Now if not feasible, I will probably not get a hoe at this time.

    As a note, I still have a small ag tractor (65 pto hp) w/fel that is now way too big/heavy/awkward for maintaining this small acreage and I will be able to sell it to help finance this new purchase.

    Well, thanks for those of you that made it through this rambling post. I would appreciate any feedback and thoughts on the ability, usefulness, sanity of using a small CUT/BH for this purpose.

    Pax

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Rest in Peace
    frank_f15's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
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    6,033
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    BUFFALO ,NEW YORK AREA
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    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    IMHO HIRE IT OUT. your cut MIGHT be able to dig it out but there are so many variables when doing a septic system. alot will depend on your local specs. best done by somone that knows all the rules, I.E HOW MUCH SAND,STONE, HOW MANY RUNS OF PIPE, WHAT SIZE ETC. check with your county and see if ou can do it.
    FRANK

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    207
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Tractor
    JD 2320 w/200cx loader w/53" bucket

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Assuming you're going to get a permit, the cost of hiring a consultant and buying a backhoe to do the job is going to cost way more than just contracting the whole job. That way when it doesn't pass inspection, someone else has to fix it for free. Even the pros make mistakes, as just happened to my nieghbor. Not worth the headache of doing it yourself if the inspector is involved.

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    165
    Location
    Mendocino County, CA
    Tractor
    JD 3320

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Pax:

    I have a JD 3320 (slightly larger than what you are talking about) with the smaller 447 backhoe. I have been digging water line trenches (350 ft the other day, 3,500 ft to go) and several fairly large excavations for hillside terraced gardens. I live in the northern California coastal range in redwood, doug fir, and tanoak forest. I have been able to dig through roots on log skid trails through the woods with only occasionally having to get off the tractor with my battery powered Bosch "Sawzall" to cut roots (limbing blade). You can do your job with a CUT.

    If it were me, I would go ahead and add some leachfield to the old system, but would also cut a deep trench between the trees and the old lines to kill the roots. They may slowly rot out and return function to the old leach lines. This is not rocket science, and most of the information you need is on the web.

    In addition, I have found the backhoe to be very helpful to this old fogey for a multitude of uses. The wife wants some trees planted, I need to pick up some small logs over the edge of the hill, the neighbor needs to unload his new diesel generator and put it throught a narrow door in his shed-- no problem.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    2,945
    Location
    Mid Atlantic
    Tractor
    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Hiring it out would be the most economical. But, can a small CUT do it? I think so. Some are better diggers than others because they are heavier and have higher hydraulic pump capacity. However, this quality is contrary to what makes a better mower: light weight. If you go the do-it-yourself route, then I would prioritize my selection, at least in part, by weight and hydraulic pump.

    I have a Kioti CK25 with a Rhino 7.5' backhoe. I replaced my septic lines. But, I did not install a new field. My lines went right under a 30" Dia. Norway maple. So, I had to cut down the maple and dig up the stump. My tractor handled it very well, even without cleats on my outriggers. The stump was a heavy bugger though. I broke a 3000 lb chain dragging it out of the hole. Had to buy a 5000 lb chain to pull it. If you have a tremendous amount of roots to dig through, you might want to think about a special root attachment for the backhoe.

    I chose the Kioti over other brands in part because of its weight and hydraulics. With loaded tires, loader, and backhoe I'm at about 5300 lbs. Branson is the only tractor that is heavier, I think. Total hydraulic flow: just shy of 13 gpm, about 7.5 for implements. However, I would have probably compromised on weight and bought something a little lighter if I were mowing a finished lawn with it.

    Again, unless you need a backhoe for other things, best route is to hire it out. But, I love my backhoe. Best toy I own..... and one of the most expensive too.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    344
    Location
    Lapeer County, Michigan
    Tractor
    Ford 860, 861, Bolens GT2000, Eliminator 1700, Cub LT2180

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Can't say for sure either way. It depends on the septic. Around here, pulling a permit for a new field will result in a whole new raised field with tons of sand hauled in. This means all kinds of heavy equipment. If you're in pure sand already, the digging can be tricky from all the cave-ins. If you're digging in good soil and only have roots to worry about, that'd be close to best case scenario for me, and save a lot of money over contracting it out. (
    "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together."

  7. #7
    Elite Member sandman2234's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    4,110
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Tractor
    JD2555 and a few Allis Chalmers

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    If your mother is willing to foot the bill for the hoe over paying somebody else to do it, and you have the extra time to actually do the work, I would say go for it. I wish I had the option of getting someone to help pay for me a hoe or a loader in trade for some work. The small hoes don't do it as fast as the big ones, but they will get the job done if you have the time to mess with it.
    David from jax
    A serious accident is one that money won't fix.

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    267
    Location
    Charlotte, NC area
    Tractor
    Kubota BX24

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    The specs for drain fields varies with location. Around Charlotte, NC, most are now done with a corrugated plastic pipe encased in a wrapper full of "Plastic Peanuts". Looks like the stuff used for packing. The sections are just put together, obviously to the correct grade and such. No rock at all. Here the field is simply a series of trenches coming from a distribution box. The County Health Department does the percolation test and essentially lays out the field for you. You haven't filled out your profile so we don't have any idea where you are so no one can give you specific advice. I heard of one guy that was doing fields around here with a BX23 for a while. He decided it was a little slow and traded up.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    25
    Location
    Southern Alberta Canada
    Tractor
    IH 784

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    Wow guys, thanks for all the thoughts on the matter. Sorry for not taking the time to fill out my profile. Here it is in a nutshell...... Southern Alberta Canada in a very laid back county in view of the Rockies. Closet neighbor is over a mile away and the next one is over 3 miles. Our county regs are very relaxed and I would be surprised if I ever saw an inspector of any kind.

    Just so you know I am getting a quote from the guy that just put in my new house septic 4 years ago as well as another excavator as well.

    As for the type of soil.... I am in a fairly light, but good loamy soil. I am glad to hear that the general consensus is that a small cut can do the job if I chose to do it. I will have to see how his quote comes in and then find what I can get the the material for myself.

    I mentioned a while ago to my mother that I was looking at these small cut's and that they could have a backhoe mounted on the back and she perked right up at the idea...... so you never know

    Because I will be using the CUT to mow with I would most likely be looking at a compromise of a smaller, lighter (but not tooo light) tractor, trying to keep up the gpm in the hydro pump and thus the digging pressure of the hoe.

    I too know that a hoe would come in so handy in so many things. That's why I would love this to work........ but I am also a realist and will have a look at the things that you all have brought forward so far.

    Any more discussion is always welcome.

    Pax

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    May 2003
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    691
    Location
    NE PA
    Tractor
    AC 5020, Gravely Com12, JD M, JD X300R, WH 16 Auto

    Default Re: Can a guy do this with a small CUT?

    I put in my own system it was a sand mound, and did it with a compact tractor and a compact excavator, no big equipment. Tanks were set with the trucks that delivered them, and sand/stone was dumped at the mound and leveled with the loader or boxblade, all trenches dug by the excavator. The only real problem we had was the inspector would not allow us to use the wheeled equipment on the downslope side to build the dirt berm, just took a little longer as we had to place the dirt with the excavator.

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