Clearing Old Cutover / 150 acres

   #1  

crossroadsd

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Feb 8, 2014
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Chase City, VA
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John Deere, MF, Deutz, Case
Hello,

I need some advice on clearing some cutover. The cost will require that we do the work ourself. My initial thought was to buy a dozer and sell when the work was complete. Last night while doing some research I ran across the forestry mulchers. Now I am wondering if this might be a better option.

The Cutover was cut about 20 years ago. There are several different tracts totaling about 150 acres. There are some trees 6 inch in diameter but it is mostly smaller. It is very thick in spots. The ground is mainly flat to rolling. There is a creek but the land should not be too wet in summer. Rocks above ground are minimal and should not be a problem. However, if we go the bulldozer route there are a lot of rocks once you start breaking ground.

The end use of the land will be to restore to pasture. Most of this land is already fenced in and cattle have access to it.

I understand that this will be a long process but I am not on a deadline with this. My plans were to possibly buy another farm within the next 2-3 years. We are currently renting a second farm. If we can convert this to pasture we wouldn't need the additional acreage and increase the value of this farm as well.

Like I said earlier my initial thoughts were to get an older dozer and sell once the work is done. I would want a dozer large enough to do the job. I think it is better to spend a little more and get equipment big enough to do the job.

Some questions I have:

-Any reason not to mulch?

-What is the smallest machine you would reccomend to clear this?

The little bit I have read it seems to me that the skid steer type are too small for what we have. I have seen mention of the Gyro Trac GT25. It seems this machine would be more than adequate for the job. I have found a used one for about a $100K. This is more than what I had anticipated investing in the equipment.

If I were to buy something that expensive is it possible to sell these once I am done. When I try to sell something usually know one is buying.

I saw an old Hydro Ax 520 brush hog. These seem much cheaper. Should I avoid these?

One other thing. Does anybody rent the larger machines in the Virginia / North Carolina area? Renting for a few weeks to a month at the time may be a better option.

I have never run one of these but have run farm / construction equipment.

Thank You for the help
Ronnie

cutover 1.jpgcutover2.jpgcutover3.jpg
 
   #2  

7879fordman

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Apr 17, 2013
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348
Location
gillham arkansas
Tractor
1969 massey 135 and a 2013 m7040hd 4x4 2013 L3800 HST 4x4
Hire a dozer with a shear blade they can zoom right through it then they can pile it and you burn it . . That would be cheaper than buying a used what ever and hope it don't break ..

If ya can't afford to do it all at once hire what ya can afford and do the rest when ya can afford it .

Around here I can buy a dozer for around $15,000 and it wouldn't have a shear blade . And I would have to hope I wouldnt have to spent what I payed for it working on it . Which every dozer person I know I believe they work on them as much as they use them .

So I feel its cheaper to hire it done . I mean $15,000-20,000 can get a lot done . And ya don't have to worry about break downs and there cost .

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   #3  

redprospector

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Jun 26, 2011
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Cloudcroft, New Mexico
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Fecon FTX 90 /Pieces of an ASV 4810 / JD 440b skidder / JD 450b dozer / Bobcat T320 / Hydro Ax 311c
If you're going to make it into pasture I believe mulching is a viable option. I know that a lot of people will say that 150 acres is too much for a skid steer size mulcher, but I don't see much difference in doing 150 acres in one project or doing 30 5 acre projects. A bigger machine will be much quicker, and easier on you though.
My "go to" machine for mulching is a Fecon FTX-90, which is pretty small by some standards. I like the Fecon though.
If you decide to go this route, choose a machine with low hours, and don't expect to get your money back when you sell it. You're going to put a lot of hours on one doing 150 acres, and the higher the hours, the cheaper the machine.
From the pictures you posted, it looks like just about the right size to be a nice mulching project. Is everything as flat as what's in the pictures?
 
   #4  

brewdog

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Dec 4, 2005
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NW PA
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NH 3040
I vote Rent the Dozer to clear the trees in piles. Buy a 40 HP Tractor with a Loader / grapple and you do the burning and clean A BH would be a bonus.
 
   #5  

tonyoz

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Queensland & Far South Coast NSW Australia
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Rayco
If you want a cheap job done then go with Fordmans idea and hire a dozer and get a half arsed operator who will shove half your topsoil into a heap along with some of the timber.
To get a proper job done mulch it, the benefits will far out way the cost.:thumbsup:
 
   #6  

yellowdogsvc

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Jul 5, 2007
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S. Central TX Hill Country
I'd vote to mulch it. A lot of farmers face the same dilemma here in Texas. Doze or mulch. You mentioned subsurface rocks. You will pull them up with a dozer for sure. I'm sure even your small trees are deep-rooted in Virginia. A mulcher will leave stumps. Lots of them above and below ground. The deciduous trees may grow back. Some won't if they are mulched fine enough but you will be able to maintain the property with a batwing or other rotary. Over time, the benefits of having shredded material breakdown and add nutrients to the soil point even more to the mulching operation.

150 acres, spread out, isn't too much for a skid steer mulcher which would be, by far, less maintenance and cost to repair than a dedicated machine plus you get the added benefits of a swiss army knife machine.

A grapple, mulcher, bucket, and rotary mower will give you a lot of bang for your bucks. You can find a good deal on a package if you are willing to travel or search and spend under $100k. I was just having this discussion last night about picking up a slightly used machine and making it into a mulcher. Here's an example from a Bobcat guy's perspective.

My Bobcat's have been ultra reliable and they never overheat. M series maintenance is very simple. I'd look at an S770 or T770 with A91 package. Get one slighly used or maybe a package with a few attachments. Probably $55-60k for something practically new with a few hundred hours and lots of warranty.. Get a used 2 speed mulcher. Fae or Fecon. No rock, look at Denis Cimaf. I sold a really good mulcher a few years ago (single speed though) for 11k. 3k worth of work on one with a few problems will make it work like new except for the paint job!
Spend another $1k on a lexan door insert for the Bobcat (I have them drill holes so I can still have a wiper). You may need to upgrade tires on a skid. Spend another $700 on the debris kit and a few hundred welding guards over the muffler and installing guard under the machine (this is standard in TX, not sure what they do up north). You don't need the Bobcat forestry guard kit with roof guard unless you need it but you may find a machine already set up. To me, it's extra weight and I would never take on trees tall or large enough to crush my cab so I have never wanted the extra cab guarding. The debris kit protects the rest of the machine.

All in all, you can get a good deal. I search here, first or call my dealer. They have contacts and the ability to find machines that are NOT listed anywhere. http://www.machinerytrader.com/list/list.aspx?bcatid=4&Mdltxt=t770&mdlx=contains&FullText=t770&ETID=1&byp=1

I wouldn't care about paint with a machine that's been in the woods. I look for a clean cab (means operator was at least neat) and clean compartments and service history. A few leaks here and there on a machine under warranty are no big deal. My auxiliary couplers have always leaked and the machine makes some squeaks and groans here and there but it has been good to me and I just turned 1100 hours. Half of those are mulching and overall it's my 13th machine in 17 years as I upgrade and sell often. And my mulching machines, if maintained, to bring top dollar for number of hours when I sell especially if someone wants to get into mulching on a budget.

If you don't like Bobcat, Cat makes a good product. With some mods and a good dealer who can make the mods, the C series can be reliable and have some mulching power but I like my Bobcats better than I did my Cat 272c (though the 272 was a good machine with a few glitches that were worked out later).
There may be some deals on a D series but they are still kind of new.

Of course, a dedicated machine is much faster but it's.. dedicated and since you don't have a time frame, having one machine does all is attractive. I have over 100 acres that has to be maintained plus more family land in the area. Total of almost 300 acres and I can maintain it with a skidsteer though I also have a small excavator and a Toolcat to help.
 
   #7  

dusty3030

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West TN
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Spray it then burn it would get rid of a bunch of that.
 
   #8  

walker450

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Apr 1, 2008
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OK
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BX25D, M5040, Z726X
If you mulch it, how will you get grass growing back? Would you just broadcast seed and let nature run it's course?

I think mulching would be best as long as you didn't want to disk or chisel it before planting grass. Dozers make a real mess, even with the best of operators. I can't stand to see good topsoil buried in a hole with roots mixed in because its nearly impossible to separate or spread the two.

A bobcat with a cab and good quality mulcher sounds like a plan to me...
 
   #9  

mulchguy

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Jul 15, 2011
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I agree with redprospector, divide it up into smaller jobs, go with a late model on new CTL (compact track loader), I'd go with tracks over tires for better performance. Take a look at the a Fecon BH74SS Mulching Head with a FGT (smooth drum rotor), that unit can run double carbide or the samuari reversible chipper tools. You can always use a CTL on your farm the Fecon to maintain your property. Best of luck.
 
   #10  

ShearHeadMS

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Mississippi
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Go buy a D8K and I'll sell you my V blade and you'll have that done In no time, mulching would be good but could cost 5x as much if you buy your own machine, shear it rake it and burn it, run over the rest with a new earth plow and that will be as good as you'll get, cows don't care about stump holes trust me

image.jpg

This costs less than any mulcher
 
 
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