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Trying to Decide on the First Piece of Heavy Farm Equipment

 
gardener
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Doug,

You mentioned needing to move a bunch of timber.  Is this something that could be done with a bypass grapple that would attach to a 3pt hitch?  I too have timber moving needs, but I suspect mine is much smaller than yours (I only move logs 12”-18” in diameter and then only if they are blocking new growth).

This is only a thought and maybe you have better equipment in mind for your situation.

Eric
 
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What I'm trying to do is thin out the trees and harvest firewood. The excavator with the thumb seems to work well. I use it to push on the trees just in case they don't lean the way I want then to. Then I lift the tree to a comfortable height for limbing. Off the ground to keep my saw out of the dirt. Then I can cut them to what ever size I want 15'or 17" stove size.
I can mine gravel or push snow. I'm in Alaska.....I can pick up a moose for butchering.... lift the wood stove & put it just inside the front door....sling   things... a 6 way blade would be handy for grading... the trail...yard...
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Alex,

I am going to echo about half of what Lito told you.  But first, what absolutely beautiful land!  I realize this is only 3 pictures, but the land and scenery is stunning.  Also, judging from your pictures and your specific comments, I personally don’t think you need an excavator for your drainage ditch.  In my opinion (and this is only my opinion based on one picture, so if I am mistaken I apologize) you would be best served by a rear grader blade that has angle, tilt and offset functions.  The angle function will help curl the material off to one side.  The tilt function will let one side dig into the ground to dig the ditch.  The offset function is a bit more rare and will set the blade off to one side and let the implement operate to the side of the tractor.  I recently bought a grader blade that has all of these functions and the offset impresses me the most.  With such a blade and a little practice you can lower your blade and move forward, digging out a ditch and moving the soil out of the way.  It would take a few passes, but it could be done rather quickly.

I would think that the same task done with an excavator would be a slow process by comparison.  Again, it could be done but it would be difficult.  Alternatively you could use a box blade with one end tilted down and you would accomplish the same effect.  At any rate, I suggest you get a good, solid tractor and add in some other implements as you need a them.  There is a lot of very sound information here, and I am sure that as you get closer to making a decision, if you need additional input, this thread will continue to be source of sound information.  And of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Eric



It's hard to tell from the winter pictures but there is one specific area where an excavator is needed for the ditches.  The low point on the land is currently a water/salt logged mess where the drainage is completely silted and the county installed an under road culvert higher than it should have.  The general consensus for from everyone I have talked to is to dig out the "drainage ditch" to a 4-foot depth to allow the surrounding areas to drain enough so that a longer-term solution can be found (I'm leaning towards holding pond and wind/solar powered pump up to culvert height).

I'm getting bids to have it done by a professional familiar with the area and he is concerned even a treaded excavator will get stuck (it's basically one giant "slick" of sodic soil) and we may need to wait until next winter when the ground freezes or hope for a dry spring/summer and do it in the fall.

The rest of the areas I plan to see if I can get the old v-plow up and running and get a utility tractor.
 
Alex Arn
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Doug Steffen wrote:I bought 140 acers last year and the first thing I did was buy a mini excavator. I have found it to be a great help . With a thumb & a blade you can get a lot of work done.


The thumb seems to be quite useful for pushing in fence posts.  has that been your expereicne?
 
pollinator
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I also vote for owning a tractor with a backhoe.
I would advise getting a quick-change bucket (skidsteer type) they are quite convenient for changing implements, and you have the whole range of skidsteer attachments available (especially if you have a 3rd hydraulic valve).
A dirt bucket and pallet forks would be the first two to get. Then add in whatever else you need: grapple, snow plow, bale spear...
For the backhoe, a 4-point hitch (to a sub-frame) is sturdier than the older 3-point hitch ones (if you went for a 3-point one, I'd really baby it.), and a thumb is nice to have, especially a hydraulic one. ;-)

Another great piece of equipment that I have is a dumping trailer.

Renting other equipment (excavator/skidsteer/dozer) is a great way to side-step all of "problems" of ownership, (cost, maintenance, storage, repairs) and if you can save up the work and take the time to tackle it all at once (rather than chipping away) it's amazing how much you can get done in a week or even a long weekend.
Hiring a machine and an operator might be more expensive, but you may get more accomplished faster with a pro at the wheel, and they likely are using larger machines than the rental ones...
 
pollinator
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Alex Arn wrote:

Eric Hanson wrote:Alex,

I am going to echo about half of what Lito told you.  But first, what absolutely beautiful land!  I realize this is only 3 pictures, but the land and scenery is stunning.  Also, judging from your pictures and your specific comments, I personally don’t think you need an excavator for your drainage ditch.  In my opinion (and this is only my opinion based on one picture, so if I am mistaken I apologize) you would be best served by a rear grader blade that has angle, tilt and offset functions.  The angle function will help curl the material off to one side.  The tilt function will let one side dig into the ground to dig the ditch.  The offset function is a bit more rare and will set the blade off to one side and let the implement operate to the side of the tractor.  I recently bought a grader blade that has all of these functions and the offset impresses me the most.  With such a blade and a little practice you can lower your blade and move forward, digging out a ditch and moving the soil out of the way.  It would take a few passes, but it could be done rather quickly.

I would think that the same task done with an excavator would be a slow process by comparison.  Again, it could be done but it would be difficult.  Alternatively you could use a box blade with one end tilted down and you would accomplish the same effect.  At any rate, I suggest you get a good, solid tractor and add in some other implements as you need a them.  There is a lot of very sound information here, and I am sure that as you get closer to making a decision, if you need additional input, this thread will continue to be source of sound information.  And of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Eric



It's hard to tell from the winter pictures but there is one specific area where an excavator is needed for the ditches.  The low point on the land is currently a water/salt logged mess where the drainage is completely silted and the county installed an under road culvert higher than it should have.  The general consensus for from everyone I have talked to is to dig out the "drainage ditch" to a 4-foot depth to allow the surrounding areas to drain enough so that a longer-term solution can be found (I'm leaning towards holding pond and wind/solar powered pump up to culvert height).

I'm getting bids to have it done by a professional familiar with the area and he is concerned even a treaded excavator will get stuck (it's basically one giant "slick" of sodic soil) and we may need to wait until next winter when the ground freezes or hope for a dry spring/summer and do it in the fall.

The rest of the areas I plan to see if I can get the old v-plow up and running and get a utility tractor.



Yikes.

Wonder if you could start drying it out by digging out only the most accessible end of ditch and pumping from there to elsewhere, presumably the culvert?
 
Doug Steffen
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From the pic's I'm not sure the excavator would be a good choice for your place.... not many trees to move, I'm thinking a tractor with the attachments would be better.
 
Alex Arn
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Dillon Nichols wrote:

Yikes.

Wonder if you could start drying it out by digging out only the most accessible end of ditch and pumping from there to elsewhere, presumably the culvert?



Maybe, the lowest point right by the culvert is the least accessible part.  Other option is to lay down mats to act as a bridge for the excavator.  While I would love to get this done before we put the new driveway in, it may just need to wait until winter and assume we will need to re-do part of the road if it floods again.   Its a half mile long driveway and the part that would be flooded is pretty small.
 
Alex Arn
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I found a picture of the saturated sodic soil from October.  That white stuff is actually alkali leach (think salty baking soda) and not snow.  ~240 acres drain into this area with 80 of that receiving flood irrigation (my property has not been irrigated in over a decade).  Because the drainage system is non-existent all of that water ends up concentrating the natural sodic salts in that area creating a sodic quagmire that little can grow in.  Most of this slick is on the Irrigation district's land but I have their permission/blessing to deal with the problem since it affects my property and my neighbor (and they would like me to buy it).  


IMG_3293.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_3293.JPG]
Thats not snow
 
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Nice looking place to the original poster.

I'm a little north of you (I live where the Alaska Highway begins at 56N).

I didn't go to the trouble you seem to have done, but I have been back on the "family farm" (40 acres) for 4 years now, and just bought some equipment this year.

One of the predominant trees growing here is aspen, which is a colony tree.  A single root system could have tens to tens of thousands of trunks.  Any small tractor I buy wasn't going to be able to easily handle a problem involving aspen roots (which can be a long way away from where the trees are, as this land was only  broken about 100 years ago).  One of the problems I have, is that wild rose is growing across large expanses (for a 40 acre place).

My biggest concern in trying to make plans, is climate change.  My family moved here in 1975, with me going into grade 10.  The next year, I was told to disc up the two pastures as the land had been in hay for more than 30 years (which would put that seeding around WW-II, far before chemical fertilizers and pesticides).  The land hadn't been worked since I did that (now 42 years).  Based on the changes 1975-2018, I would guess that the reseeding was just after WW-II (still before fertilizer).  When we moved here, this land was probably Zone 2.  This land is now Zone 3b and possibly even into Zone 4 now.  That said, we've had unexpected cold in winter (and a winter of 7 months) in the recent past; and this year has had little heat and rain almost constantly.  This area is normally only 18 or so inches of precipitation per year.  August is typically a drought, which prepares trees for winter.  It has been raining all August, and if we get cold lots of trees could die as they are not being made dormant.

Not your problem.  Just pointing at different concerns.

I was thinking that doing "keyline plowing" was going to be important.  I know that I am going to be creating a lot of swales.  I may build a beaver dam analog for temporary/leaky impounding of water.

Keyline plows never came anywhere near here, and I don't know if I would buy a new one.  I am going to try and use a 1 bottom subsoiler as an alternative.  And the nearest I could tell, I wanted to have about 50hp to pull such a subsoiler (probably deep - deeper than I have been).

I had gotten leads on a few older tractors, and few tractors where I am have 3 point hitch; which would always be a deal breaker.  One tractor which might have worked; a person could never buy as the owner thought he was going to fix it.

I ran across a 1 year old Kubota MX-5200 with less than 100 hours on the engine.  The owner had bought the tractor (with pallet forks and bucket), and then got access to a skid steer; and eventually decided the skid steer was what would work best for him.  So, I bought the tractor (with the pallet forks as well).  And along with the tractor I got a tilt/angle blade (all manual), a box blade and a 1 bottom subsoiler.  The only "tractor" I had before, was a 27hp lawnmower (diesel) meant for doing fairways on golf courses (my lawn is 4.5 acre).  It quit working last year (still not repaired - accident caused by a wasp attacking me when I went to start the mower).  I have tried using that lawnmower in the "pasture", and it is tough slugging.  The tractor engine wants to overheat, and so I have to take breaks.  Just to cut paths, not for cutting large areas.  I got an ultimatum on the lawn, and to try and get something useful to the farm and hopefully handle (most of) this lawn problem.  And I found a brand new 7 foot sickle mower that was a year or two old.  Which I bought.  It will cut hay with wild rose in it, and it will cut small branches and even do hedges (90 degree cutting).  Solving my lawn problem may mean building a buckrake to fit on the pallet forks.

I live about 5 miles downwind of a 130+ MW wind farm.  We do get wind here.  Being on the eastern slopes of the Rickies, I get Foehn winds (locally called chinooks).  I don't have a single prevailing wind, I have 2 prevailing winds.  One is mostly summer (from the west off the Gulf of Alaska) and the other is from the SW (the chinooks) which really can happen at any time of year (most people don't recognize the chinooks in summer).  Deer (white tail, mule deer and moose) are a problem; and I am going to try the Osage Orange hedge for that (pre barbed wire on the Great Plains).

I had thought a 2 bottom plow would work for making swales, but I have switched my thinking to a 1 bottom plow.  At some point, I may find/purchase one.  While Permies.com has a thread on making swales with a tilt/angle blade; the blade I have is probably not strong enough to do that.  Which is why I am looking to a plow solution.  Sorry, no link to that thread; but the OP is a civil engineer describing what he did.


There were lots of mentions of skid steer in this thread.  Skid steer is a preferred solution in North America.  Lots of vaguely similar conditions in Europe, lead people to wheel loaders (small ones).  While front end loaders on tractors are useful, they are not really meant for digging.  A wheel loader can dig.  And they typically will travel in transport mode much faster than a skid steer.  You can find (small) wheel loaders with a drawbar, or even 3 point hitch.  And in that direction, a person can get teleoperators meant to do digging, and can lift to heights beyond front end loaders or wheel loaders.  And they can have 3 point hitch (or a drawbar).


Somebody was strongly in favour of beet juice as ballast in tires.  I wouldn't be surprised if that is good enough in California; it won't work here.  The typical salt for ballasting tires is calcium chloride.

On my shopping list are two forestry items; not yet purchased.  One is a chipper/shredder and the other is a (skidder) winch.  Both are 3 point hitch  attachments.  Chippers will chip branches.  Chipper/shredders will also handle fine branches and leaves.  For the size of my tractor, I am planning at some point to get a 4 inch chipper/shredder.  The Internet is USA centric, and I am in Canada.  But even so, looking at various forums; one Canadian brand kept getting mentioned by people in the USA: Walenstein.  It is out of Ontario.  Both of my local John Deere dealerships sell Wallenstein (with green paint) chippers (I don't know if I've seen a chipper shredder at either).

The other item is a winch.  Or rather, how to put a skidder winch on a tractor.  Again, Wallenstein comes up (from lots of people in the USA).  One thread, sort of ended that a 50hp or so tractor , could use a 8500 pound pull skidding winch.  You need to be very careful using a small ag tractor skidding trees.  The pull must be straight, not sideways.


Some people need to clear the snow immediately, I don't.  I can wait a day or so.  I ended up getting an Ariens 36 inch snowblower, which can throw the snow 50 feet or so.  I try to use itwhen the wind is coming from the west (preferably NW).  If there is less than 6 inches of snow, it is not worth using the snow blower, which can lead to some unwanted icing problems later on.  With the tilt/angle blade on the tractor (no cab), my plan is to windrow the snow  and then use the snowblower to finish the job.  Besides, it is good exercise to walk up a 7% slope in the winter.  

 
D Nikolls
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Gordon Haverland wrote:Nice looking place to the original poster.

I'm a little north of you (I live where the Alaska Highway begins at 56N).

I didn't go to the trouble you seem to have done, but I have been back on the "family farm" (40 acres) for 4 years now, and just bought some equipment this year.

One of the predominant trees growing here is aspen, which is a colony tree.  A single root system could have tens to tens of thousands of trunks.  Any small tractor I buy wasn't going to be able to easily handle a problem involving aspen roots (which can be a long way away from where the trees are, as this land was only  broken about 100 years ago).  One of the problems I have, is that wild rose is growing across large expanses (for a 40 acre place).

My biggest concern in trying to make plans, is climate change.  My family moved here in 1975, with me going into grade 10.  The next year, I was told to disc up the two pastures as the land had been in hay for more than 30 years (which would put that seeding around WW-II, far before chemical fertilizers and pesticides).  The land hadn't been worked since I did that (now 42 years).  Based on the changes 1975-2018, I would guess that the reseeding was just after WW-II (still before fertilizer).  When we moved here, this land was probably Zone 2.  This land is now Zone 3b and possibly even into Zone 4 now.  That said, we've had unexpected cold in winter (and a winter of 7 months) in the recent past; and this year has had little heat and rain almost constantly.  This area is normally only 18 or so inches of precipitation per year.  August is typically a drought, which prepares trees for winter.  It has been raining all August, and if we get cold lots of trees could die as they are not being made dormant.

Not your problem.  Just pointing at different concerns.

I was thinking that doing "keyline plowing" was going to be important.  I know that I am going to be creating a lot of swales.  I may build a beaver dam analog for temporary/leaky impounding of water.

Keyline plows never came anywhere near here, and I don't know if I would buy a new one.  I am going to try and use a 1 bottom subsoiler as an alternative.  And the nearest I could tell, I wanted to have about 50hp to pull such a subsoiler (probably deep - deeper than I have been).

I had gotten leads on a few older tractors, and few tractors where I am have 3 point hitch; which would always be a deal breaker.  One tractor which might have worked; a person could never buy as the owner thought he was going to fix it.

I ran across a 1 year old Kubota MX-5200 with less than 100 hours on the engine.  The owner had bought the tractor (with pallet forks and bucket), and then got access to a skid steer; and eventually decided the skid steer was what would work best for him.  So, I bought the tractor (with the pallet forks as well).  And along with the tractor I got a tilt/angle blade (all manual), a box blade and a 1 bottom subsoiler.  The only "tractor" I had before, was a 27hp lawnmower (diesel) meant for doing fairways on golf courses (my lawn is 4.5 acre).  It quit working last year (still not repaired - accident caused by a wasp attacking me when I went to start the mower).  I have tried using that lawnmower in the "pasture", and it is tough slugging.  The tractor engine wants to overheat, and so I have to take breaks.  Just to cut paths, not for cutting large areas.  I got an ultimatum on the lawn, and to try and get something useful to the farm and hopefully handle (most of) this lawn problem.  And I found a brand new 7 foot sickle mower that was a year or two old.  Which I bought.  It will cut hay with wild rose in it, and it will cut small branches and even do hedges (90 degree cutting).  Solving my lawn problem may mean building a buckrake to fit on the pallet forks.

I live about 5 miles downwind of a 130+ MW wind farm.  We do get wind here.  Being on the eastern slopes of the Rickies, I get Foehn winds (locally called chinooks).  I don't have a single prevailing wind, I have 2 prevailing winds.  One is mostly summer (from the west off the Gulf of Alaska) and the other is from the SW (the chinooks) which really can happen at any time of year (most people don't recognize the chinooks in summer).  Deer (white tail, mule deer and moose) are a problem; and I am going to try the Osage Orange hedge for that (pre barbed wire on the Great Plains).

I had thought a 2 bottom plow would work for making swales, but I have switched my thinking to a 1 bottom plow.  At some point, I may find/purchase one.  While Permies.com has a thread on making swales with a tilt/angle blade; the blade I have is probably not strong enough to do that.  Which is why I am looking to a plow solution.  Sorry, no link to that thread; but the OP is a civil engineer describing what he did.


There were lots of mentions of skid steer in this thread.  Skid steer is a preferred solution in North America.  Lots of vaguely similar conditions in Europe, lead people to wheel loaders (small ones).  While front end loaders on tractors are useful, they are not really meant for digging.  A wheel loader can dig.  And they typically will travel in transport mode much faster than a skid steer.  You can find (small) wheel loaders with a drawbar, or even 3 point hitch.  And in that direction, a person can get teleoperators meant to do digging, and can lift to heights beyond front end loaders or wheel loaders.  And they can have 3 point hitch (or a drawbar).


Somebody was strongly in favour of beet juice as ballast in tires.  I wouldn't be surprised if that is good enough in California; it won't work here.  The typical salt for ballasting tires is calcium chloride.

On my shopping list are two forestry items; not yet purchased.  One is a chipper/shredder and the other is a (skidder) winch.  Both are 3 point hitch  attachments.  Chippers will chip branches.  Chipper/shredders will also handle fine branches and leaves.  For the size of my tractor, I am planning at some point to get a 4 inch chipper/shredder.  The Internet is USA centric, and I am in Canada.  But even so, looking at various forums; one Canadian brand kept getting mentioned by people in the USA: Walenstein.  It is out of Ontario.  Both of my local John Deere dealerships sell Wallenstein (with green paint) chippers (I don't know if I've seen a chipper shredder at either).

The other item is a winch.  Or rather, how to put a skidder winch on a tractor.  Again, Wallenstein comes up (from lots of people in the USA).  One thread, sort of ended that a 50hp or so tractor , could use a 8500 pound pull skidding winch.  You need to be very careful using a small ag tractor skidding trees.  The pull must be straight, not sideways.


Some people need to clear the snow immediately, I don't.  I can wait a day or so.  I ended up getting an Ariens 36 inch snowblower, which can throw the snow 50 feet or so.  I try to use itwhen the wind is coming from the west (preferably NW).  If there is less than 6 inches of snow, it is not worth using the snow blower, which can lead to some unwanted icing problems later on.  With the tilt/angle blade on the tractor (no cab), my plan is to windrow the snow  and then use the snowblower to finish the job.  Besides, it is good exercise to walk up a 7% slope in the winter.  



I think most of your choices make a lot of sense... but I own an 8" chipper for my 50hp New Holland tractor, and regret it. I wish in hindsight that I had either bought a 10-12+" standalone diesel chipper, or resigned myself to renting one that size.

The amount of chipping I can do per hour is not thrilling, and having the chipper stuck to the tractor is a pain.
A standalone unit would free up the tractor to being material to the chipper and/or haul the dump trailer full of chips to the target point, while reducing the hours of engine time by virtue of increased throughput, and transferring those hours to a probably simpler to maintain and certainly less critical implement.

I can realistically chip 5+" material. But the feed rate must be cut way back to do so, which makes it way to slow for <3.5" stuff. A bigger chipper would not only eat a larger percentage of what I want to feed it, faster, it would also save more time through reduced fiddling..

I am mostly chipping smallish alder and cottonwood. The smallest <1cm branches tend to come through somewhat intact, not any particular problem for my use though.
 
Alex Arn
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The wind we have in Wyoming is also quite intense (60-80mph winds earlier this year (and with Kanye West moving into the neighborhood there will be more hot air).  We ended up with a high priority project that had to be dealt with immediately; the previous owners cleaned out the garage/workshop before we took possession but they dumped it all into the properties dumping site (hazardous chemicals and all).  As it lucked out, one of my neighbors has a mini-excavator and a dump truck to I have hired him to dig it out and take it to the dump for disposal where is will stay out of the water table.

I'm thinking we will either end up with a skid loader or a tractor as our first piece of equipment but SWMBO as asked that we hold off on equipment for a while.
 
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Alex, I really like my skid steer, and it does an amazing job . I have a major problem in that our clay soils and any moisture mean I spend the time trying to get the machine unstuck all the time and I’m just going to sell it and rent a tracked machine for jobs since I have all the necessary implements. I’m working on plumbing in the hydraulics on my big tractor to run all the implements, but it’s 8gpm and the skid steer is 28, so it won’t be fast. When that hydraulic pump dies I will replace it with a 12gpm pump. I’m even looking at getting an old electric output from a broken skid steer to run implements but that’s a big job. I’d settle for the grapple. I can work on the tractor but the skid steer is a huge pain to work on. Dillon did a nice job of explaining where the skid steer excels. Really where the turning radius is critical.
 
Alex Arn
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Alex, I really like my skid steer, and it does an amazing job . I have a major problem in that our clay soils and any moisture mean I spend the time trying to get the machine unstuck all the time and I’m just going to sell it and rent a tracked machine for jobs since I have all the necessary implements. I’m working on plumbing in the hydraulics on my big tractor to run all the implements, but it’s 8gpm and the skid steer is 28, so it won’t be fast. When that hydraulic pump dies I will replace it with a 12gpm pump. I’m even looking at getting an old electric output from a broken skid steer to run implements but that’s a big job. I’d settle for the grapple. I can work on the tractor but the skid steer is a huge pain to work on. Dillon did a nice job of explaining where the skid steer excels. Really where the turning radius is critical.



I'm leaning more towards the tracked variety given the terrain and snow work it will be doing.  They are a common fence post installation tool in that area.  Only downside is the cost :-(
 
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I haven't read through everything so I'm not sure what you decided on. I will simply say that most tasks can be accomplished with our front loader and a variety of attachments. I dug swales, a pond, kraters, etc with that thing. It's great at all purpose. Digging is easier, however, with our excavator. I find going in with the front loader and removing top soil, the following with the excavator to actually do the digging saves me TONS of time.
 
elle sagenev
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Ah ha, you're here, with me. Poor sucker!

Well I can tell you all I know about what we did. We did get a Kubota. We did that 10 years ago and they modified the design some. What I will tell you about it is this, it's great. Done all the things I said I did with it. HOWEVER, we could not run a post hole digger with it. It was not powerful enough to run the post hole digger through our clay/rock ground. We had to replace the metal anchor clippy thingies (obviously my husband did and I did not as I don't even know what they're called)  because attempting to dig post holes bent them.

Second, it's not super fabulous in the snow. We do plow our driveway and road but when it gets to a certain level of wet or depth we are unable to do anything about it. Our neighbor is called in with his construction tractor and he pushes it all out. Getting the snow blower attachment has made things a bit easier but we are still limited on how much snow we can move with this tractor.

As far as your drainage ditch, you could do it with the rear blade. We have done that. Then we got the excavator. Dug it out, bladed it to a better slope and it's a million times better.

What we have:
Kubota tractor
Box Blade
Rear Blade
Snow Blower
Mower
No longer have the post hole digger for reasons stated above

ancient mini excavator which is the second love of my life, the man who bought it for me being the first. ;)
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That's the kind of Kubota we have. The kind that requires tubes to be put in the front tires so they'll stay inflated. Make that your first priority!!!!!!!!
 
elle sagenev
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Found this photo gem of my hubs moving dirt from the kraters we dug (these first kraters were all dug with the Kubota) so I could plant a million trees.
11188403_10153292924863633_3214883270694395429_n.jpg
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Eric Hanson
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Elle,

I have tractor envy!  Not so much for the tractor, but because you have the excavator.  I actually have no need for an excavator, but I just love the idea.  But I also have to say that you look like you have some extremely hard ground to dig through.

Eric
 
elle sagenev
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Eric Hanson wrote:Elle,

I have tractor envy!  Not so much for the tractor, but because you have the excavator.  I actually have no need for an excavator, but I just love the idea.  But I also have to say that you look like you have some extremely hard ground to dig through.

Eric



I'm not going to lie to you, I may rarely use the thing, but just owning it makes me happy. $6500 from a guy who used it to dig his basement. Best money we ever spent imo. My husband may think differently.
 
Alex Arn
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elle sagenev wrote:Ah ha, you're here, with me. Poor sucker!

ancient mini excavator which is the second love of my life, the man who bought it for me being the first. ;)



I would really like a mini-excavator, and honestly I think we will eventually end up with one in the long run.  My wife is directing most efforts/money to getting a house built so that has been taking priority.  Luckily one of my neighbors has one with a thumb actuator and a dump truck so I have been able to hire him for the first project (cleaning out the dump site).  Two truck loads of toxic garage waste (oil, MIG rods, etc.) and two of glass bottles for 1600 plus 1k in dump fees.

I've been able to hold off the tractor purchase by trading grazing rights for field restoration so at least some progress is getting started.  Thanks for the tip on the tires.
 
Alex Arn
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elle sagenev wrote:

Eric Hanson wrote:Elle,

I have tractor envy!  Not so much for the tractor, but because you have the excavator.  I actually have no need for an excavator, but I just love the idea.  But I also have to say that you look like you have some extremely hard ground to dig through.

Eric



I'm not going to lie to you, I may rarely use the thing, but just owning it makes me happy. $6500 from a guy who used it to dig his basement. Best money we ever spent imo. My husband may think differently.



seems very reasonable to me.  It would pay for itself mighty quickly.
 
Alex Arn
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elle sagenev wrote:Ah ha, you're here, with me. Poor sucker!



Our new money-pit home site is on Diamond Basin road west of Cody, WY.  Where are you guys at?
 
elle sagenev
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Alex Arn wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:Ah ha, you're here, with me. Poor sucker!



Our new money-pit home site is on Diamond Basin road west of Cody, WY.  Where are you guys at?



Way South near cheyenne. If you are ever in the area let me know!
 
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I think it would be very hard to beat the tractor for a very first machine.

I like skid steers, and I love excavators, but when it comes to versatility, nothing beats a farm tractor.

With a loader, you can dig and carry, then with the 3 point hitch, pull and lift, and with the PTO you can power almost anything. And implements are easy to find, are universal, and due to competition...pretty cheap. You can even find tons of used 3 point hitch implements making an already cheap implement; cheaper.

As I get older, and get more and more implements for my tractor, I am finding that my tractor does less and less work, and is merely a machine that positions the implement of choice to where it needs to be. In logging, my winch does the work. In gravel work, my backhoe trailer does the work. That puts less stress on my tractor, and I seem to get more work done, easier.

But I do not see the excavator being my first choice for swales which is what the orginal poster seemed to want to do the most of. MAYBE if the machine had a ditching bucket where the bucket could be swung from left to right, but as good as they are for digging, with a regular bucket, they are really only good for digging straight-on holes or trenches. When I see most people digging "swales" with an excavator, what I am actually seeing is a ditch, not a swale, and there is a big difference.

They all have their place, but I would buy a tractor first and foremost, and then rent the other machines as needed. That is what I do...
 
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