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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    148
    Location
    Central California Foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota 3410

    Default Making a pond with a tractor ?

    I am reading posts every night to learn as much as I can about tractors as I try to figure out what to get - meanwhile I keep adding to my list of tractor projects ( wife is even figuring out a project or two) - now thinking I may be able to put in a pond - a dozer guy gave me an estimate of $10 k for a fairly small pond - would rather have a tractor. Anyway, I have a year round spring at about 3 gpm to feed into it - would be about 8 feet deep at deepest (unless I read about ponds some more and learn it should be otherwise) and about the size of half a football field - maybe a bit bigger. Feasible with a tractor and patience ? By the way - looking at tractors in 30 HP range

  2. #2

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    If your pond site is absolutely flat and everything has to be excavated, like mine in Florida, then I'd say no way - you can't move enough dirt fast enough. Also, it depends on where your water table is - If I tried to dig an 8' deep pond with my tractor, it would be 5' underwater before I finished.

    But. located in the foothills, you should be able to find a site where you will be making a dam, then filling with surface water supply (creek or runoff), and just doing some shaping. In that case, if you have lots of time and lots of patience, you can probably do it with your tractor.

    Half a football field is around 150' x 100', which is about 1/3 acre surface area. Depending on how your banks are sloped, etc., if you have to excavate the whole thing it could be as much as 2,000 to 2,500 cubic yards of excavation (I didn't do the math, just interpolated a little from the 1600 yards I'm going to have excavated for my 1/4 acre pond). You'd be moving substantially less than 1 yard each trip.

    $10K sounds a little high to me, although I don't know what it includes - if he wants to use a liner, for example. I've seen prices on the 'net for $1 to $1.50 for pure excavation. I'm paying $2.50 a yard, but that includes him loading, moving and dumping all the spoil to where I need fill (house pad, barn pad, 800' road, some low areas), compacting it and grading it. Total cost will be ~$4K, for a track hoe with 53' reach and a 1.5 yard bucket, D6 dozer, loader/hoe and two dump trucks.

    I'm figuring it backwards - I can use 1600 yards of fill and I can afford the $4K, so that determines the size of the pond.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    148
    Location
    Central California Foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota 3410

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    Thanks - perhaps I should have at least part of the work done with a dozer. We have 90 acres and in this particular part of the property there is already a wash /ravine and I would be using part of that so less dirt to move. Wont be a need to move dirt anywhere but around the site and for the dam. I did only get one quote for the dozer work - the guy was very knowledgable but I think he wanted to do more than I required. Your information was helpful. The size was a bit of a guess - I haven't figured out precisely how large it will end up being. Want to use to attract some wild life except don't want any more wild pigs - they are already tearing up lawn and more and I have learned I am not the best shot. We have A LOT OF wild pigs.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    Around here, people would probably pay for the privilege of coming on the land and creating some bbq. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    953
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    Mahindra 4110

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    <font color="blue">Feasible with a tractor and patience ? By the way - looking at tractors in 30 HP range </font>

    Lots of variables, but the answer is "not big enough" unless you have a lot of time. ('Course, with a lot of time, you could make one with a regular old shovel too. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img])

    Dozer work varies from place to place, but $10K sounds steep. A cheaper (and more fun [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]) alternative would be to rent a dozer and do it yourself. Again, lots of variables, but if you get a decent size dozer (say something at least 14K lbs - although bigger = faster for this type of stuff) I could see you being able to do it in a week (+ or -). 'Round here a week of do-it-yourself dozer work runs in the $1200-$1500 range. A day of dozer work with an operator runs in the $800-1200 range. (You can see the advantage of going the DIY route.)

    Anyway, you could rent a dozer for the tank (-er-- uhh- "pond") and still have some $$ left over for a tractor too. I think you'd be much happier going this way than beating your new tractor (and yourself) to death trying to dig out a third of an acre worth of dirt with an FEL. (It's a lot harder to damage a blade on a dozer than an FEL on a tractor when digging out hard dirt/rocks.)


  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    336
    Location
    Summerside, OH
    Tractor
    NH TC33D; RTV900; Gravely Professional

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    Ron--

    If you're thinking about an earthen dam, one thing that would be very problmeatic with a compact tractor is compacting the dam sufficiently. Our pond guy used a sheepsfoot compactor on every 12" of clay. Also, he stressed that it is important to build the dam with a keyway. Ours goes about 8-10' below the deepest point of the dam, and is a slot as wide as the dam which is built up with compacted clay. I talked to him recently and he spoke of a pond he'd been called out to look at where the dam was poorly built and has in two years settled to below the level of the emergency spillway; if water ever started pouring over the dam the hydraulic drag could be a disaster--but the dam leaks enough from poor compaction that he thought it will blow out at another location first!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    Ron44,

    Using a tractor with FEL would be a long an frustrating project for something that size. The tractor does not have enough weight to push or dig the large amounts of dirt you need to move.

    If you need to dig out a lot of dirt an excavator is probably a more efficient method. Use a dozer to push the dirt dug up by the excavator. That combination may end up being faster.

    Jeff

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    432
    Location
    Lampasas, Texas
    Tractor
    JD 4700

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    While everyone here seems to say it is not feasible, one of my friends dug a pond 12' deep with a John Deere 590 tractor and the small FEL that comes with it. He spent a total of $15K for the tractor, and cleared 15 acres with it along with digging the pond. At the end of this he had 300 hours on the tractor and has a pond full of catfish. I should add that he retired early and had a lot of time to spend on the project(s). I think it is feasible to dig a pond with a small tractor if your have reasonable digging condtitions and the time to spend on the project and are not in a hurry.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    336
    Location
    Summerside, OH
    Tractor
    NH TC33D; RTV900; Gravely Professional

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    Centex's friend's feat sounds great--what an achievement!! As to "reasonable digging conditions," would probably be harder here in Ohio, where the subsoil is so clay-ey that you can pretty much throw pots with it straight out of the ground, and where there are a lot of bedrock strata (putting in our pond necessitated taking out a limestone contour an average of 6" thick). One suggestion--county extension agents are often very knowledgeable about installing ponds in the local area they serve, and love to impart their knowledge to anyone who asks. They can be an outstanding resource.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    1,681
    Location
    Syracuse NY
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT w/FEL

    Default Re: Making a pond with a tractor ?

    I had a farm pond that had filled in over years and I wanted to dig it out deeper and bigger. I probably could have done it with my tractor but it would not have been worth the time, wear and tear on the tractor, and I would have had to keep pumping it out. I hired a guy with an excavator for $100/hour. In 6 hours he did what would have taken me weeks. Dug done 8-9 feet, about 50 foot round. Right tool for the right job. Have it dug and you can do the finish work with your tractor.

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