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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on box blade usage

    I am going to use my box blade and FEL (but mostly the box blade) to recondition an area of my property that, until this week, had pigs on it. The area is sloped, so all of the topsoil has washed down to the bottom as the pigs tilled it up, and there are lots of spots where they have made wallows in the clay. I intend to put the rippers to the deepest setting and rip everything up, then raise the rippers and use the box to grade everything, and possibly pull some of the topsoil back up the hill--although I think that may be a losing battle.

    My question is this: One side of the area runs along my main perimeter fence--a three-rail horse fence. I took a pass at that area the other day, just to get the worst of the wallows out, to discourage water from pooling and help it dry out faster so I can finish the work. I made a pass the length of the area, parallel to the fence, and of course the box blade dug in and left a more-or-less level patch about 3" below grade. My concern is that if I keep this up, year after year, I am eventually going to dig away much of the dirt supporting the fence posts. They'll be left on a little berm, if you will. Can you picture it?

    I'm not sure the best way to address this. One approach would be to push the dirt back where it came from, but that's just not going to happen. I don't know if a more skilled operator would have more success at this, but any time I move dirt, there always seems to be less of it to put back than I dug out. My current thinking is that maybe I could use the FEL to pile dirt along the fence line, then tilt the box blade so the fence side is higher than the non-fence side and run parallel to the fence. This would leave the dirt near the fence at-grade, and make the transition smoothly to the lower-grade area that is probably going to result when I start mucking around.

    Bear in mind that it's not just my mucking about that is going to change the grade. Remember that nearly all of the topsoil has washed down the hill, and restoring the hill to its original grade is outside of my skill level or desire-to-accomplish. Frankly, this is kind of good news, as the hill ended with a rather sudden drop-off of maybe 24", and now that the pigs have had at it, it is more of a gradual slope, with all the topsoil washing down and filling in that drop-off. But I digress...

    I wonder if anybody has any input on how to approach this, or whether there is a better way to accomplish this using the tools at my disposal?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    If it were me I would try to fill in the worst of the low spots by adding dirt with the FEL. It is hard to get a smooth grade when the front of the tractor is going into holes and then up hills. Every time the front moves the box moves also. Then I would set the box in a way that it was only hitting the high spots first. After several passes the worst of the low spots should be filled. I think many get too aggressive with the box by trying to cut too much with each pass. The other thing is if the area is still wet I find it almost impossible to grade mud.

    MarkV

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    Without seeing it, it is hard to visualize, but I am inclined to agree with MarkV and work a little at a time. Depending on how steep your slope is, if you try to go too deep and accomplish too much, a good rain is going to undo everything pretty quick.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  4. #4
    Veteran Member RDrancher's Avatar
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    Sanger, Texas
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    This is a little more extreme than your situation, but here are two methods I use to accomplish the same thing.

    The first photos are a buildup of soil to create a flat top (for a sidewalk from the door to the driveway) and sloped sides. The soil was placed in 6" lifts with the fel and compacted by rolling with the tractor. The sluff soil next to the home was cut and compacted into the mix during each lift. Then I used the boxblade to cut and shape into this profile.
    -breshirs-grading-18-jpg-breshirs-grading-12-jpg

    In these photos the soil next to and behind the patio was laid in with the fel and then backdragged to shape, rolled in and then touched up again with the fel and more soil.
    -breshirs-grading-17-jpg-breshirs-grading-16-jpg

    A combination of the two methods should get your fence line area straightened up.
    John

    My Work & Stuff Photo Thread: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...to-thread.html

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
    If it were me I would try to fill in the worst of the low spots by adding dirt with the FEL. It is hard to get a smooth grade when the front of the tractor is going into holes and then up hills. Every time the front moves the box moves also. Then I would set the box in a way that it was only hitting the high spots first. After several passes the worst of the low spots should be filled. I think many get too aggressive with the box by trying to cut too much with each pass. The other thing is if the area is still wet I find it almost impossible to grade mud.
    One problem with this approach is that the wallows in the clay just wash out again if I cover them with loose soil, so I'm hoping if I get in with the rippers and dig down, I can break them up again and create more of a level sub-grade, if you will.

    EDIT: Well, they don't wash out from the rain, but as soon as the pigs got back in the area, they immediately recreated the exact same spots they had wallowed out before.

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    Sorry, I thought the pigs were not going to be there anymore and you were trying to reclaim the area. Not sure there is anything you can do if the pigs are going back in. Those fellows love to mess up an area.

    MarkV

  7. #7
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    Having raised hogs, I think you and the hogs will just compete moving stuff around and they have more time an innate talent at it.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  8. #8
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    Default

    And they love to root any dirt you just moved. Fresh scents and yummies in there.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    Just to clarify, the hogs have gone to Freezer Camp, and there won't be hogs back on the area for at least two months--maybe three. We are going to plant the area with some fast-growing cover crop to hold the soil down and to give the new hogs, whenever they come, something to munch on. Y'all are right--I don't bother "fixing" the dirt when the hogs are actually present, as it is a losing battle every time.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Advice on box blade usage

    ... and I'd still like to hear any input on how to grade the area reasonably smooth again for planting without eventually unearthing my fence line.

    EDIT: @RDRancher, your advice is much appreciated.

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