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  1. #1
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    Default Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    Great forum. I'm a newbie to medium-heavy equipment and reading this forum has been a great education. Some questions for the experts. I'm a new farm owner with 150 acres in central New England and need to clear 5 to 10 acres of heavy field brush. The field is a hodge-podge of vegetation. Most is waist length soft weeds and plants but some are 7' tall, 10' round bushes and 2-4" saplings. There is also a couple acres or so of trees (4-8' dia and 20-40' tall) that I need to clear out.

    The brush field is very rocky (rocks 2" to 12" plus with, I'm sure, some Yugo-sized buried boulders). My plan is to do the field clearing with a tracksteer (ASV 100hp) with either a brush cutter (Davco?) OR a mulcher (Magnum, Fecon or FAE). My preference is a mulcher as it can both clear the field and grind down some of the trees. My question has to do with the rocks in the field. I'm concerned about destroying or prematurely wearing the cutting blades on the mulcher in the field on rocks hidden by the brush. Is this a legitimate concern? If so, is there a technique to clearing rocky field with heavy brush that takes out the brush but doesn't ruin the cutting implement (whether rotary or drum)? Once the field is cut I plan to sift it with a rock rake to make future cutting less an issue. The field will be used primarily as pasture for horses. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member BarryinMN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    A contractor with the ASV/mulcher will avoid rocks as it is in his best interest.

    I used a combination dozer, backhoe, skidloader, tractor & bushhog, chainsaw and industrial woodchipper, etc.

    A backhoe is faster at getting out rootballs & rocks.

    Rocks are equal opportunity destroyers. Be sure that whatever your plan, it has a strong maintenance budget.
    Veneer Tree Farmer

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    I'm the "contractor" and own the equipment so please bear with me with possible silly questions. To save the mulcher head does it make sense to first go through the field with a rock bucket to scoop up surface and near-surface rocks (minimum 3") then mulch the rock-cleared field with the mulcher? I know it's twice the work but I don't mind if it saves the equipment. The rock bucket will also tear out some (much) of the brush by the roots. Don't know if this will make it harder to mulch the now unsecured brush.

    My ASV also has a large backhoe attachment and 4in1 bucket for larger semi-buried rocks.

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    how about mowing it 'tall' once and get it down to knee level or a lil lower and ID any big rocks that can be manually hand picked.. then go over again ..

    soundguy

  5. #5
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    how about mowing it 'tall' once and get it down to knee level or a lil lower and ID any big rocks that can be manually hand picked.. then go over again ..

    soundguy
    That's what I'd do.

    Use that skid steer brush cutter first and then get the backhoe in there to dig out the large, half-buried rocks. Mow with the brush cutter as low as you can. Then pick up the surface rocks with the rock rake. Mow again.

    Plow the horse pasture and remove whatever additional rocks come to the surface.

    Then disc, compact the loose soil, seed with whatever grass mix you like using a drop seeder or broadcast seedeer, and then press the seeds into the soil with a cultipacker.

  6. #6
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    5-10 acres is not too big to make several passes.
    Kioti CK30HST, FEL w/toothbar, 60" RC, 60" BB, PJ 10k trailer. Weekend warrior hauling 50 miles each way.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    Why not poison the brush, let it break down a little then move in with a tractor to clean up the rocks?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    Parisq, you may also want to pose your question in the Construction Equipment forum. Some of the guys that do mulching for a living hang out there. I am just not sure if they make it over to the other subject areas often.

    MarkV

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Heavy Brush Clearing w Rocks

    This all makes sense to me... mowing it to knee high and then using rock rake or rock bucket to sift for rocks then mow again. Thanks also, Flusher for the pasture restoration steps. That would probably be my next series of posts after I got the field cleared. I'll also see what the Construction Forum guys say on the subject.

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