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  1. #11
    Veteran Member
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    Nov 2012
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    1,280
    Location
    Hawthorne, FL
    Tractor
    Kubota L285

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    Is this a full or nearly full time gig, or a side job. Only asking because a couple years ago I got to seriously thinking about getting a tracked skid (gehl ctl60) for doing a handful to a couple dozen driveways and house pads per year. Didn't pan out in the end but who knows what the future holds.

  2. #12
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    274
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    paulharvey,

    Not sure how to answer that. The correct answer is sort of. TMC Tractor Services started out as a sideline to supplement my day job (contractor). The contracting specialty that I work in has slowed down significantly over the last few years and my income from that has dropped accordingly. So, since no matter what the economy is like, the grass always grows and the mesquites always bud out I have set out to make TMC Tractor Services a more viable business. I do Tractor mowing and I will plow and plant small acreages with my NH TN70D and I use my skid loader for grubbing and clearing, drilling holes, I also do some rough terrain mowing with the skid. I use it to demo small buildings, grade roads etc.,etc.

    Tim

  3. #13
    Super Member Kyle_in_Tex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    5,884
    Location
    Giddings, Texas
    Tractor
    JD 4310,JD5420

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    I'd like to see before and after pics. I think I would have told the owner to let me do about an acre for a low price and then see what it takes to get it done. You can better estimate the job and if it's too much to tackle, no harm no foul since the price was so cheap or even free.

    The other thing I'd consider, (especially if I was the owner) would be to mount a tank and a basal sprayer to your root grubber. That way you could pull up a tree and spray a bit on the left overs if necessary.
    there are 2 kinds of oats. Oats in front of a horse, and oats behind the horse.

  4. #14
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    274
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    Kyle,

    In a sense, I did what you are suggesting. We (me and the customer) agreed for me to try some grubbing on the his place before we made a final deal. I grubbed for 8 hours the first day. After he saw what I had done he asked if I would give him a discount if he bought a block of time. He bought a 40 hr block and I gave him a small discount off my hourly rate.

    Spraying as I go seems like a good idea, I have heard of guys with tree shears doing this, but not grubbing. I will need to do a little thinking about how to set up a spray rig on the skid. It will have to be mounted solidly as at times grubbing can yield a pretty rough ride.

    Tim

  5. #15
    Veteran Member
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    Nov 2012
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    1,280
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    Hawthorne, FL
    Tractor
    Kubota L285

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    That sounds like the best of both worlds, between bid and by the hour. Plus you know what you will be doing for the next week.

  6. #16
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    274
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    Hey Guys,

    I finished grubbing 20 of the 33 acres that my customer wanted me to clean up. He asked me to stop grubbing and go ahead and rake the 20 acres into small piles so he could burn them before a burn ban was put in place.

    The 20 acres of grubbing took a little over 46 hrs. That is an average of 2.3 hours per acre. Not too bad I think.

    The raking is another story. I am using a rock bucket, as I cannot seem to rent a root rake for the skid. No rental companies in the area have them available. The only way I can use the rock bucket is to angle the tip down and run backwards. It is much slower than I thought. I thought I could make an acre an hour raking but it is more like 2.5 hrs per acre. So far I've raked about 7 acres. I had a chat with my customer it looks like I am going to build a root rake. I will space the tines a little closer than normal so I can pick up smaller debris than a normal root rake will. The other problem with the rock bucket is that it seems to pick up way too much dirt.

    Here is a picture of the pasture after grubbing and before raking
    -img_0426-jpg

    And after raking
    -img_0427-jpg

    Here are some of the residents of the pasture
    -img_0434-jpg

    Tim

  7. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    39
    Location
    Menard, TX
    Tractor
    JD 2240; 2011 Bobcat S650

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    Tim,

    I have been running a Bobcat S650 for the last couple of years on our ranch in the Texas Hill Country clearing mostly mesquite and agarita (not much cedar on our place). I don't grub the mesquite but rather shear and spray it. From your pictures you are doing a great job in clearing the roots etc. The issue where we are if you grub a lot, all you end up doing is bringing lots of rocks to the surface as the top soil is relatively thin. I can cut the tree with the shear at grade level, spray with a mix of remedy and diesel and go to the next one leaving a relatively smooth surface and most of the native grass cover in place. Over the last couple of years I have cleared 100-125 acres with about 225 hours of run time (still have some stacking to do).

    The land that I am clearing is generally flat to some slope; some areas are rocky most is not (the areas that I am clearing happen to have my best soil hence the high concentration of mesquite). I have had very little regrowth in the areas that I did a couple of years ago.

    One advantage of the shearing is that I leave much of the soil undisturbed. That way I get faster recovery of the native grasses other than where my skid steer wheels chew up the soil. I do tend to grub the agarita using the shear as a grubber.

    The land may have been cleared some 40-60 years ago and I suspect in spots there may have been some areas where the pastures were shredded for a time to try to control things. The result is that this mesquite ranges from small new growth but mostly is stuff that is trunks of 3-8 inches in diameter, 20-25 foot tall and some are as much as 24 inches in diameter. Many of the ones that are the 3-8" size are multi-trunk with as many as 20-30 of the things coming from the same root system. Those are a pain to shear. The agarita's are amazingly huge as well; some have branches 3" in diameter and the bushes may be 8-10 feet tall and the size of a small bus. Beautiful yellow wood though if you ever has a use for it.

    I also have a bumper crop of prickly pear and other cacti mixed in with the lot. I run it over while doing this clearing but for long term control I have been having a crew come in the spring between the time of the oak leaf drop and the mesquite leaf out and aerial spray for pear with a helicopter (I have way too much for reasonable hand spraying). The section that I had done a year ago has seen about a 75% kill or better in the 12 months; it supposedly takes as much as 2-3 years to get maximum kill.

    What have I learned so far:

    It takes me about 2-3 hours per acre to cut, spray and stack my pastures that are very densely covered with mesquite, etc. I have seen very little regrowth of brush in areas that I did two years ago.

    I go through about two gallons of spray mix per acre; mix is 15-25% Remedy Ultra, the balance diesel. The amount of mix/acre depends on how much mesquite vs. other 'stuff' I have to clear.

    If you buy Remedy Ultra in bulk, shop around. A year ago I was tying to buy 75 gallons of the stuff. I found all of the feed stores including TSC would negotiate but some have are more willing than others. TSC (after discount) was still more that $20/gallon higher than some local feed stores. After talking to about 10 or more suppliers in a 100 mile radius I found about a $25-30/gallon variance between high and low price.

    I use a Bobcat 72" root grapple to pick and stack. I don't 'scoop' the stuff; I reach down and pick a tree off the ground, go to the next one, drop the load on top of it from about 12 inches and then pick the whole mess up. Repeat and rinse until the grapple is full and head to the brush pile. The more stuff in the grapple (up to a limit) the better job it does picking up the little 'stuff'.

    I now use a 16" M&M Hydrasnip to shear with. It has 10 gallons of built in tanks and I have the optional spray system. You MUST spray the sump immediately after shearing. You must attempt to have the stump as clear as possible of dirt and debris when spraying. The cellular structure of the mesquite is such that it starts shutting itself down within minutes of you shearing and spraying later is an exercise in futility; otherwise all you have done is pissed off the mesquite and it grows back worse that before and harder to kill. Read the Texas A&M Agrilife stuff on line about mesquite. It also is interesting to cut a 24 inch old mesquite with a 16 inch shear (think of nibbling)

    I used another brand of shear for about a year; it got to a point I was spending as much time repairing it as I was shearing and not getting as good a job done. The blade attachment systems on most of these shears for example are based on through bolts with slots through the blades. Two things; the hard mesquite will have a tendency to cause the blades to slip in the slots (even with 300 ft-lbs of torque) leaving a gap between the blade (tough to cut the small trees then) that you have to then loosen and re-straighten, and second, the bolt heads tend to drag dirt across the stump (see issue above) reducing effectiveness of spray; the M&M shears use a different attachment system that avoids these issues. Also most shears that have sprayers also have smaller tanks requiring more stops to refill. I can't say enough how much more efficient I am with these new shears and how great the owners of the manufacturer are to work with on issues. They are however quite a bit pricier than most.

    One thing for certain is, when you are cutting and grappling mesquite you will go through hydraulic hoses and wiring where exposed. You want equipment that shields these things as best as possible; add some of your own protection and you will still be making repairs. That mesquite is tough stuff and finds ways to get to that rubber stuff no matter what. I would strongly recommend having some precut hoses and extra wire, fittings, etc. on hand to minimize downtime. Oh yes, and some extra hydraulic fluid to replace what you sprayed on the pasture through that blown hose.

    The shearing method IMO works well in areas that you want to minimize top soil disturbance and you also don't want to spend the time, effort and expense (and pray for rain) to reseed the grass.

  8. #18
    Gold Member
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    Nov 2005
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    274
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    Fastowl,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I used a shear a few years ago on a friends pasture clearing mesquite and elm out of his fence lines. The shear was awesome!! I think it was a 22" shear, don't know the manufacturer. It has a 4' tall guard on the top of the attach plate. There was a set of hyd pincers on the top of the guard. I could take down a 40' tall elm in one bite, pick it up and deposit it where ever I wanted it.

    About 25 acres of what I am grubbing is sandy loam soil with a few rocks in it. The mesquite is coming out pretty good. The Russian thistle comes out easily (surface roots only). The pear is coming out pretty good with the rock bucket. The last 5 acres is very rocky with quite a bit of scrub oak that he wants taken out (anything with less than a 3" diameter trunk anyway) I have tried grubbing a few mesquites and some of the oak just to see if I could do it. It seemed to come out ok as the root systems weren't as developed as in the better soil. It will be a couple of days before I get to that part of the pasture for some serious grubbing so time will tell.

    Tomorrow we start the root rake build. I will post some pictures as we go along if there is any interest.

    Tim

  9. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    39
    Location
    Menard, TX
    Tractor
    JD 2240; 2011 Bobcat S650

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    We had a few patches of thistle last spring with all of the rain. We get after the little bit we have with the same stuff we hand spray some of the pear patches (Surmount). Problem is with thistle is the seed stock that keeps causing new plants to come up year after year until you obliterate it. Of course the issue with pear is that any of those pads that are laying around often turn into new pear plants; hope you get it all.

    My shear has the tall guard on it as well but no pincers. With all of the multirunks I am not sure how praticle that it would be. I would rather just pick it up later with my grapple and get 10-20 in a load.

  10. #20
    Gold Member
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    Nov 2005
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    274
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: What price for grubbing mesquite?

    Fastowl, I just looked up your shear on the M&M Engineering site. That is a nice looking shear!! The one that I rented a few years ago was very similar to the model with the pincers on top (it could have been the same one, I just don't remember). Just like in the video, it was awesome to use. The trees I was shearing were rather large, and I liked being able to control where the fell. The pincers allowed absolute control.

    Tim

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