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Author Topic: New property owner seeking equipment advice  (Read 2051 times)

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Offline PJS

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New property owner seeking equipment advice
« on: February 04, 2020, 10:38:20 AM »
Hey folks,
Been cruising around the site for the last few months gathering some valuable knowledge for the next steps the wife and I are taking in life. We are a young couple, and as long as we clear the last few hurdles, we will be taking over a 300acre farm in north Eastern Ontario in the summer. Count our blessings every day that it is even a possibility for us, but it just goes to show a decade of hard work and tenacity (and a little bit of luck) can go a long way.
 
What Iím looking for is advice on equipment, aka put yourself in my shoes, and help me determine the best piece of equipment to purchase for the purposes Iíve listed below. Personally, Ive always liked to buy things brand new, my 07 Dodge Ram 2500 has 500xxxkm, my 12 Ford Focus has 370xxxkms.... I maintain my equipment and it lasts for a long time... but Iíve broken the bank account to fund this endeavour and Iím only going to be able to afford a single piece of equipment.

Iím stuck debating between a high flow  CTL, a 4wd tractor with FEL, or a TLB. Open to all suggestions however! 

Of the 300acres, I would say thereís about 40acres cleared for pasture,fields, barn and house down in the valley. The rest up into the hills consists of the forest which is overgrown and dense, with a vast  mix of hardwood, spruce,balsam, beech, tamarack, a substantial amount of red pine with some white, and who knows what other species are lurking. Iím excited to go exploring. Iíve got a lot to learn about whatís valuable and whatís junk. Overall the property is in a rocky and hilly area.

There is an existing handshake agreement with a local forestry contractor, first father and now son, have selectively cut on the property every year for the last several decades so I intend to learn as much as I can from them but I also donít wanna get screwed over. At this point, it seems he hand fells and then uses a skidder , skids them to landing and theyíre sold off to the local mills. Income is split 60% for logger 40% for land owner. 

With that being said our immediate project list for the first several years is something along the lines of this:

-Scrape and grade a 40íx50í area for a concrete slab for barn

-Dig 200í of trenches for electrical/plumbing to barn 

-Pound posts and establish fencing for paddocks

-Trench water lines for hydrants out to paddocks

-Lay geotextile fabric and spread 1-1/2Ērock throughout the barn yard

-Snowblower -critical - our snowfall yearly from 54Ē-84Ē

-Moving large round bales around the property year round but specifically in deep snow

-Maintaining the existing right of way perimeter fence on farm and creating riding trails for the horses.

At this point we plan on buying our hay and using the existing hayfields as grazing pasture, but there is a potential for needing bush hog or mower to assist in maintaining them if our grazing management isnít up to snuff. And a million other tasks.... but you get the idea. 

So if you were in my shoes, what would you do? 

Iíve been partial to the largest CTL with a forestry mulcher, snowblower, bucket, grapple bucket, think a CAT 299Dxhp...but after reading all kinds of posts on here, perhaps a larger tractor is better to start.... options options options

I have to factor in that the wife will be running the farm 4 of 7 days a week for the time being so it needs to be something sheís comfortable with and I want to make sure itís stable, reliable and safe for her to operate. Just for the record sheís got lots of machinery experience, but peace of mind when Iím away is a big thing for me.

My long term goal is to reclaim the forest and manage it responsibly  yet intensively to create biological systems that promote increased healthy growth from trees and cool shade grasses, which in turn feeds our animals and then my family and the families of our community. Think of a forest farm, or silvopasture.... anyways I could ramble for days

Thank you all in advance for your thoughts and insights, theyíre very much appreciated.

Paul

Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2020, 10:58:43 AM »
Welcome to the Forum.  You have quite the list there and it calls for a dozer, excavator, loader, mulcher, etc.  If I were you I would look at that list again and see what I could rent out first.  The trenches could be done in a day or two with a rented ditcher or mini-excavator, much cheaper than buying a machine or attachment.  If you hire a guy with a D4 to D6 machine and come in and grade your pad I would think you might have $1K into it - again a lot cheaper.  By then you are into maintenance / gradual progress portions of your list, fencing, mowing, moving hay, to me that puts you into a 100 HP range, 4WD tractor with a loader.  The PTO gives you the snowblower and the loader helps when the piles get too tall.  My one concern there is the trails you speak of so for sure you want a full cab and truly need to add some additional guarding under and over the machine if you are going to do any sort of trail maintenance.  Ag cabs are not made to take a hit from a broken tree top nor do the exposed undersides do well with limbs jumping up.  @YellowHammer has a custom made three piece pool cue New Holland Ag tractor complete with a stronger loader and hydraulics package so they will work with you if you know what to ask for.  Something like what he has combined with a forestry protection package would serve you quite well for many years I would think.  

Just be aware - farming is as addictive as sawmilling so you may be headed down a dark path.   ;D
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Offline Andries

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2020, 12:02:25 PM »
PJS, welcome to the Forum.
That's an impressive first post - it seems that lurking for a few months has shown you the way.  :D
Your list of requirements for one piece of equipment is very extensive, probably more that even a "Swiss Army knife" choice of equipment could handle.
An approach that might work for you, is to separate the short term, or 'doing this once', activities from the long term activities. 
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Construction requirements can be heavy and specific. I'd rent equipment for that. Sure, you could buy a TLB and get most everything done, but it would be a poor choice for the forest and silvofarm. Renting a TLB for the construction phase would give you the perfect machine, designed for construction projects. Rental firms can trailer the machine and attachments, type,  to your location; those machines tip the scales at 15,000 lbs. Commercial driver licence territory. MOT. Beware.  :o
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As for the long term choice, forest work and snow depths of 54-84" make a high ground clearance machine mandatory. The compact tractor machines are far more capable than their looks would suggest, but as you get a few years into the farm and forestry life, the cliche that there is no replacement for displacement adage becomes true. 
I'd recommend a capable farm tractor with FEL and 3 point hitch, in the 50 to 75 hp range. Kubota, New Holland, etc. For your upcoming work, consider buying a 3 pt. snowblower on the back, one thats nearly as wide as your wheel set. Get a grapple fork ( not just a grapple, not just forks) for the front, great for hay bales, logs and picking up most anything with precision. A diesel motor is the way to go, be sure it has a in-block heater or the recirculation heater to get it started on cold mornings. Ballast the rear tires with beet juice and cast iron, and get a set of chains for them. A low centre of gravity and traction are your best friends. Your wife will appreciate that rock steady feel to the machine too. Both of you will also appreciate the ease of a quick attach on the front end loader and the 3 pt. hitch. Changing attachments can be a profanity laden chore at times. A forestry winch and heavy duty mower/brush cutter on the PTO will get you going on forest trails and thinning for selective growth on your 300 acres. Also, you will probably have some gravel roads to maintain. Many people get a box blade on the back, but thats really
just a construction attachment. Look at the land leveller/road grader attachments. Once the road is built, those puppies do the absolute best job of maintaining a gravel road. Consider buying used. There's a lot of equipment out there that is in good shape - it'll stretch the budget.

Oh yeah, best of luck in realizing the dream. 
Think of it as a marathon instead of a sprint. You may want to consider getting your wife and yourself 'cloned', it'll be a lot of work, but it's the best kind of work.  
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2020, 01:36:32 PM »
Reading the list, it sounds pretty much what I do and did, except for the snow.  

Although the American markets tend to lump agriculture trackers in one pile, and construction tractors (skip loaders) in another pile, the European market tries to do everything with one machine.  

The American farm tractors are by design limited with their hydraulic lifting capability to a few thousand pounds, basically enough to lift a round bale of hay or two.  The European versions have full strength loaders, strong enough to move dirt with ease.  

So as Southside mentioned, I bought a custom built European style New Holland T4.95 that performs exceptionally well as an agritracter.  We have a 150 acre farm and I plowed and planted a good field of corn and more winter wheat, plus bushogging, drilling post hole, pushing T post in the ground, and other stuff with the PTO, etc.

However since it is a crossover, it will move and dig dirt as well as any backhoe and it is basically a 4WD loader, with beefed up hydraulics, a second pump, bigger rams, bigger, gears, higher capacity everything.  With a Mexhanical Self Leveling (MSL) loader, it has a lifting capacity of a little over 6,000 lbs, basically almost twice that of a comparable, same horsepower ag tractor and more than many skid steers.  I ordered it custom made, with New Holland parts, and it was manufactured in Italy, with a Fiat diesel.  I had a visit from a very experienced Sawyer a few years ago, he watched me move big packs of wood, slabs, etc, and he never said anything until a sometime later and asked "What's the story of that tractor, its a beast."

With a skid steer quick attachment for the loader, it can run any implement a skid steer can.

Weíve used it to clear land, load dump trucks, dig ditches etc.

John Deere makes a similar unit, based on the ďMĒ tractor frame, not lighter duty ďEĒ frame.  I have forgotten the loader number but it it is basically equivalent to the New Holland, just green.  

Hereís me pushing one of a hundred decent sized trees over, clearing the land, readying it for our showroom building.  It has a root ripper attachment on the loader.






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Offline james

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 04:28:56 PM »
with several years experience with a tractor mounted snowblower  you want a front mount ,not 3 point and as wide as your tractor ,looking over your shoulder to clear a mile of road is no fun. Carry lots of shear pins ,if there is a stray block of wood or a rock on your place the snowblower will find it
james

Offline Andries

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 05:48:43 PM »
 . . .  with several years experience with a tractor mounted snowblower  you want a front mount ,not 3 point and as wide as your tractor ,looking over your shoulder to clear a mile of road is no fun.  . . .
James, agreed. FEL mounted snowblowers are great, but need a tractor with some very high hydraulic flow numbers. Most of 'em are hydraulic. My skip loader has good mirrors for winter time . . . .  ;)
Firms like Erskine, located in Minnesota, make all manner of tractor operated blowers. They're all good, depends on tractor/loader/etc. numbers and type.
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And anyhow, how much cash does poor ol PJS have? Has he won the PowerBall lottery yet? 
We're spending someone else's money, which is always fun.  ;D :D ;D
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Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 06:29:04 PM »
A front mount 3 point and PTO is not terribly expensive to add these days. 
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Offline james

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 06:41:45 PM »
lost a extension cord, buy a snow blower you wii find it

Offline Corley5

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2020, 06:52:46 PM »
I was planning on a skip loader for our place.  Plans changed and I ended up with a front end loader 8) 8).  A skip loader is still on the list ;) :).  The 570 Cases are pretty nice.
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Offline PJS

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2020, 09:33:27 AM »
Wow! Thanks for the welcome guys, I knew this was the right place to ask my questions, Iíve looked on other equipment forums, but no one really seemed to have their equipment in the woods.

Thereís a few years of knowledge and experience in those posts, so thank you very much, it sounds like the general consensus so far is to go with a 4wd tractor - the bigger the better to a certain extent.... I really like the sounds of the euro versions so Iíll have to start hounding the local salesman cause that will actually require them to do this thing called ďworkĒ lol  

I most certainly have not won the lotto yet, otherwise Iíd just have a brand new model of every machine I desire  - whatís the saying ďhe who dies with the most toys winsĒ lol a Swiss Army knife machine is definitely what I am after. 

Iím curious as to everyoneís opinion on buying new vs buying used. 

I like the idea of a new machine because no one else has had the chance to duck it up, so if anything goes wrong I can only blame the wife (see what I did there lol), and I plan on owning the machine till the day I die but I am not overly confident in todayís manufacturing processes to provide reliable quality equipment like some of the older machines still running today.

With that being said, Iíve got a 40years veteran heavy equipment mechanic acquaintance who, for a case of beer and carton of smokes, would be willing to drive around with me to inspect potential machines, but one never knows how hard theyíve been worked or what could potentially break down cause there are only so many visible moving parts to the naked eye. I can always call him for assistance and repairs, but he wonít be alive forever either.

I guess what I am asking is, would you make 5yrs of payments on a new piece of equipment @$100gs? 

Or would you be better off buying a used tractor and, perhaps, a used excavator for the same kind of money? 

One question I have been curious about, Iíve seen the mulching heads for excavators, but can an excavator run the same equipment as a feller buncher? A tree shear or harvesting head? Overall, Iíd like to be as self sufficient as possible.

Thanks again for your responses! Iíve tagged on a drone pic of the property with some very rough outlines



 

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2020, 09:53:44 AM »
4x4 Kubota M series Tractor with FEL, scoop bucket, grapple bucket, and pallet forks, bush hog, back blade, log skid attachment etc.  Also get a Woodmizer LT40 super hydraulic between these two machines you will stay busy. Rent a trencher and excavator as needed.  If you get these new, leave room in the budget for a couple of diamonds and new SUV for the wife if she ain't happy you ain't goin to be happy.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2020, 10:58:20 AM »
You wont see a chef with a single tool kitchen, whether the tool is new or used.  You wont see a developer on even a 10acre parcel or a tiny little hwy shoulder project with a single pieceof equipment.  It may make all the sense in the world in your head, until you are trying to eat soup with a knife or trying to rough a hillside road in with a skidsteer.   Get the right TOOLS plural for the job.   You have too many acres and tasks - plural - for a singular piece of iron to do anything but burn fuel, get stuck, wear out and frusterate.  Taking 20hrs to do with a skidloader what 1hr and 4gallons can do in a dozer will frusterate and depreciate your equipment. 

For $100G's id buy 4 pieces of good older equipment and learn to maintain them.    

You need a way to grade earth, a way to pull, a way to lift, maybe a way to dig and maybe a way to mow.. Ranking the needs in order is something only you can do.  
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Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2020, 11:01:40 AM »
"Can" and "Should" an excavator run a felling head are two very different questions.  A 25 ton shovel with a 100 GPM hydraulic pump has all the oil needed to turn a disc - but, the stick and boom are set up wrong, the cab is not guarded, the undercarriage is not tough enough, so no it's not a path you want to venture down. 

As far a new vs used.  The price of good, used, pre emission equipment is going up - maybe 20%-30% each year the past couple of years.  In part because the cost of new is so high today, but also because of all the technology, emission, and longevity issues that guys are facing.  

Most all of my equipment is 80's and 90's vintage, and honestly they don't build them like that any more.  Some I bought for scrap price and some a bit more.  On my 26 ton excavator I had to fix the radiator core, put on a new head gasket, and re-pack a few cylinders, so for about $18K total, some University of You-tube time, and elbow grease, the dirt that comes out of any hole I dig with it looks the same as a new $250K machine.    I have a 40 year old 4WD, 300 HP tractor that has a steel hood, everything under it is steel or iron, only electronics are in the lights and radio, came with a re-built engine with 200 hours on it, cab, heat, A/C and the paint still looks new.  Again, with a 30' disc behind it she can run with a $350K new tractor, actually it will pass a new one when they run out of DEF, and if I want I can even add on an auto-steer system to it.  

There are deals out there, you just have to keep looking and be prepared to do some work if the right deal shows up.  I have actually come to appreciate buying older iron like that as after tearing into them you know how they work, how to fix them, etc.  With new stuff you better have access to a computer engineer, and sometimes they don't know what's wrong.  Just last night one of my guys was telling me that at his other job he had a problem with a 2020 bus he was working on, all kinds of crazy things were happening, he pulled grounds, checked systems, was tearing his hair out, then found out that he had to download a program to his computer, which had to be installed onto the CABLE that he uses to hook to the buses, then calibrate said cable, and do a bunch of other foolish stuff because the mfg went from 250 mbs to 500 mbs.  No thanks - just remember when your wife takes your car keys she might "Forget about your old John Deere".  :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
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Offline mitchstockdale

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2020, 01:01:16 PM »
@PJS 

Wow that a very extensive piece of property, very nice.  If I was you I would go with a 70hp 4x4 tractor.

Last year I leased an MX5200 from the local kubota dealer.  The reason i leased was to keep the payment down, I intend on buying out the tractor when the lease is over.  The downside is there is interest and tax on leases..but i needed the tractor and didnt have liquid cash and didnt want to tie up lines of credit (also with interest).   This might be a little small for 300 acres,  I think an M7060 would suit you nicely.  If you go with a tractor i suggest a box blade / rear grading blade / logging winch / pallet forks(insanely useful).

As for the digging part of things consider hiring those tasks out or rent a machine (this is what I did).  The local rental place near me rents a 3.5ton mini excavator for $1400 (delivered) for a week.... you can do alot of digging work in 1 week.  Since you have a 3/4 ton truck you could likely save on the float charges and get that down around $1000 for the week.

If you are going to be running snowblowers / bush cutters / tillers/ winches / balers / tedders / haybine etc.... I think a the 4x4 tractor with PTO is best...although thats just my opinion.  I see skidsteers as more of a construction / industrial tool and a tractor as more of a all purpose farm /forestry task tool.  

Do today what others wont, so you can do tomorrow what others cant.

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Offline scsmith42

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2020, 06:30:41 PM »
Very good feedback from others.

I started with a 39hp FWD Kioti, and moved up from there.  Today the stable includes several farm tractors, dozer, backhoe, skid steer, big articulating loader and crane.  I use 2 different tractors for mowing hay; larger one for mowing and baling and a mid size for raking, tedding and pulling the hay wagons.  Saves a lot of time.

Ditto the other's advice for buying a larger 4wd farm tractor with a loader (75 - 100 hp).  Rent the rest of the stuff.  

For your second piece of equipment, a 100hp range CTL would be an excellent choice.  Lots of accessories available for 3 pt hitches though and be sure to get the universal skid steer attachment system for your FEL.

I like Robert's advice for the Euro tractor version.  I have a Kioti DK65 with a cab that's been a good tractor, but would suggest more HP than that.

Best of success to you.

Scott
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Offline Woodfarmer

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2020, 07:48:41 PM »
Where is your property?
I have a CaseIh 5230 90hp lots of them around, Cummins motor.

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2020, 11:01:31 PM »
Someone said snowblower. They aren't that hard to fab up / convert. That's a rear mount swapped to a front. Hydraulic power pack off the PTO. 


Hard to tell, they put the 80hp tires on it, didnt want the wider taller ones. 



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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2020, 04:27:36 PM »
@Woodpecker52 @mike_belben @Southside  @mitchstockdale @YellowHammer @BargeMonkey @Andries 


And whoever else I have missed!

Thank you all for your responses. I really had to heed your advice and take a step back to analyze and prioritize what I thought would be our uses of the equipment we are looking to purchase. 

1. Moving hay bales/logs/ pallets/manure etc 
2. Blowing snow 
3. Forest work/Mulching 

The first two are self explanatory.

The third one is a little more complex. Please excuse my inexperience with forestry terminology, Iím typing as it comes to me. 

Now my eyes arenít that experienced, but one can tell when a forest is dense and overgrown. Trees growing together in clumps, different species within inches of each other, tall and lanky stretching for the light gaps in the canopy, Iíll try to scrounge up a picture. My point is, I think this is wasted grazing land for the cattle and sheep  and I want to reclaim it. But not your traditional reclaiming. I have no interest in clear cutting, bulldozing stumps, making burn piles, yada yada.  

My thought process would be to have independent analysis done of the property by several foresters. The purpose of this being to gather information about the species on our lands, determine whatís valuable and worth growing, and what needs to go to allow others to prosper.

Working in sections, I would want to harvest any mature or over due timber that might be saleable. I, personally, want to harvest the smaller junk trees (2Ē-6Ēdia) and stack them for burning purposes in my far distant future wood heated greenhouse. I want to protect any natural regeneration of valuable species and the rest I want to mulch down. 

I like the idea of mulching because the decomposing materials give birth to a wide array of microbial activity. Combine the mulched tree/plant material with manure and a healthy, heavy frost seeding of cover crop/legumes/shade tolerant grasses and the following spring should produce some very rich forest grown pasture. As we move the cattle and sheep through the forest pastures, they consume the growing vegetation and deposit natural fertilizers. The fertilizers break down naturally given rest periods from a rotational grazing system, feeding the soil and in turn, feeding the root systems of the growing trees and grasses. 

My theory is that using a methodology like this to mimic the natural grazing patterns that have existed for thousands of years will actually, in time, increase the growth rates of the trees on our land. 

Now I realize this canít be done in all areas, from what Iíve read pines need to be clear cut cause they donít like to grow in the shade. Right now, in my thought process, if I had to clear cut an area of pine, I would want to mulch down the entire area and grow grasses for a year or two before re-planting a grove of black walnut and white pine for example (I read a university article on it, Iíll try to find the link). 

So, what does this have to do with equipment? 

Well, I cruised a few of the forums in regards to forestry tractor guarding, because I was curious whether this was available direct from manufacturing. Seems like most guys have just gone to a fabricator to fix them up the necessary guards. This just so happens to be my career area, so Iíve got access to all the steel( yes even ROPS grade tubing for CAT) I need to explore safety guarding as necessary.

Anyways, I stumbled upon Valtra tractors, theyíre popular in Finland and south America, and really liked their A series tractors because they can come with forestry gear. Doesnít seem like we can get them in North America, but Iíll dig into it some more. 

Kubota M6-111
Massey Ferguson 5712
NewHolland(case) t4 

Those are the 3 machines that have really tickled my interest. If I was on the farm full time Iíd be looking at used, but at this point for peace of mind, a new piece of equipment that should be reliable for the wife to operate. That being said, if I can find a lower hours demo, I wonít turn my head at the savings if the machine checks out. Iíll be making the dealers work for my business and will definitely take one on trial of each to see which model is preferred. 

Now bargemonkey really screwed up my thought process with the hydraulic snowblower pics he posted.

I was looking at getting the tractor with a front mount PTO so that I could operate a Fecon PTO bull hog on the front of the tractor... I donít enjoy the idea of spending hours looking over my shoulder... but I could forego a front mount PTO and do the hydraulic mulcher on the FEL....

What Iím trying to determine is - whatís better PTO or hydraulic? 

PTO only lifts so high, consistent power to the mulcher, but the FEL would need to be removed in order to operate.

Hydraulic means a 3pt hitch aux hydraulic pump to meet min flow requirements... I could encase this in steel to protect it from falling debris etc, but to me anything that can come down will end up taking out the aux hydraulics - thatís just my luck.... but this gives me more options than just a Fecon mulcher. 

So itís taken me two days to slowly put this post together and Iíve lost my train of thought lol.. 

once again, thanks for reading my ramblings, truly appreciate all your thoughts, wisdom, opinions and experiences as I dive deeper into this lifestyle. 

Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2020, 04:44:43 PM »
You would need somewhere along the lines of 90 GPM @ 4000 PSI to run a mulcher. You're not going to get that from a PTO pump. You could go with a 4:1 or 2:1 speed increaser and run a piston pump that way, but I would guess the pump and gearbox would run $20K, without piping, hoses, relief, cooler, tank, etc. Then there is the parasitic loss to consider. Off the top of my head I would say you need 150 PTO HP minimum to run that set up,  which means you are into a 200 HP tractor.

PTO hydraulics have their place for sure, high volume, high pressure is not it. 
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Offline PJS

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2020, 05:11:48 PM »
You would need somewhere along the lines of 90 GPM @ 4000 PSI to run a mulcher. You're not going to get that from a PTO pump. You could go with a 4:1 or 2:1 speed increaser and run a piston pump that way, but I would guess the pump and gearbox would run $20K, without piping, hoses, relief, cooler, tank, etc. Then there is the parasitic loss to consider. Off the top of my head I would say you need 150 PTO HP minimum to run that set up,  which means you are into a 200 HP tractor.

PTO hydraulics have their place for sure, high volume, high pressure is not it.
https://www.fecon.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Bull-Hog-Forestry-Mulcher-1218-for-email.pdf
https://www.fecon.com/mulching-attachments/pto-bull-hog/
I attached two links (sorry if this is not allowed)  Fecon actually has a PTO driven mulcher, no hydraulics at least from what I can see. 

Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2020, 05:34:54 PM »
Yup, that's how they are normally driven, PTO direct. Much more efficient use of power that way.
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.

Online BargeMonkey

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2020, 08:31:29 PM »
 We have 3 NH's tractors and 2 NH skidsteers, fairly good luck. The new T4 I'm not sold on, kind of like a space ship and NOT something I would ever think about taking out in the woods. But again none of the new stuff is cheap or friendly to work on. Theres ALOT of low hr well kept tractors for sale, no def, no electrical gremlins, we also had a 6630 ? NH which my father decided to save when it started burning up due to wiring. Like Southside said, the cost to run PTO hydraulic in that volume would be nuts, we build that snowblower in house and probably have 7k ? In it. Like other guys have said in prior posts about grinding, pay someone to do the bulk of the work, I think by the time you buy the attachment, abuse the tractor, the brush, added guarding, it's not worth it. 

Offline Andries

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2020, 08:41:02 PM »
You would need somewhere along the lines of 90 GPM @ 4000 PSI to run a mulcher. You're not going to get that from a PTO pump. . . .  
@PJS - here's a good manufacturing firm that I've bought from in the past;
Commercial High Flow Hydraulic Power Unit | Power Units | Snow Equipment | Tractor Attachments | Erskine Attachments LLC 
Erskine makes some very tough brush/tree cutters and snow blowers, for FELs, that can be run from the same rear mounted pump. 
Southside has it right. 
Mulchers need huge flow at high pressure - a game changer requirement. 
So much so, it might be considered as a rental? . . . or a contract out?
BargeM has a lot of experience in this.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2020, 11:42:55 PM »
I'm a big fan of getting one centralized piece of somewhat "do all" equipment and then expand and acquire more specialized equipment, as needed, later.

I donít know about mulching, but after having cleared 3.25 miles of fence line and riding trails through woods and fields with mine, except for the occasional elm tree, my tractor with a spiked bucket root ripper laughs at 4 to 6 inch trees.  Put the root bucket directly under the root ball of the little trees and curl or drive forward.  The tree pops out of the ground, with very little strain in anything.  I do mostly hardwoods, the few pines and cedars I take down are totally anticlimactic.  It'll do the big ones, too, but not as fast.



 

 
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Offline Gary_C

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2020, 06:27:21 AM »
 Combine the mulched tree/plant material with manure and a healthy, heavy frost seeding of cover crop/legumes/shade tolerant grasses and the following spring should produce some very rich forest grown pasture. As we move the cattle and sheep through the forest pastures, they consume the growing vegetation and deposit natural fertilizers. The fertilizers break down naturally given rest periods from a rotational grazing system, feeding the soil and in turn, feeding the root systems of the growing trees and grasses.

The two words "forest" and "pasture" are not normally considered compatible as they are competing interests. Plus as you move the cattle and sheep through the forest, the animals will compact the soil and kill the roots of the trees. That may not be true in lighter soils but lighter soils tend to be in arid climates where there is limited moisture. 
It's just never a good idea to pasture forested areas.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline PJS

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2020, 07:41:16 AM »
I hope this finds everyone well with all the craziness in the world right now. 

Sorry for the disappearance, had a lot going on to get our house sold and everything in place for the big move. Iím taking everything you guys have told me into consideration because experience goes a long way in my book, letís just say Iíve learned the hard way in the past.

Iíve purchased the equipment from the current property owner, 97 Massey Ferguson 231 with front loader/tire chains/bale spear/snowblower/disc harrow/hay wagons/seed spreader/log splitter.... heís been using it around the farm for years and gave me a reasonable number for it. My only concern is the wife being able to blow/plow her way to the barns, we went up there in mid March and the snow banks were sitting at 8í tall lol. With all the turbulence in the markets, Iím going to bide my time and hunt down the best used tractor and/or skid steer I can find for the money Iíve got to spend, I donít want to sound like a vulture, but I think there will be some good ones coming into the market before winter hits again and dealers are going to be wanting to move some inventory and get some invoices out the door. Found a 2008 cat 299c, pre emissions tracked machine for $38,000cad, guys buying a house and needs it gone - but I donít have the cash till we close on our house.

My wife had to give me a bit of a reality check though because as much as Iíd like to do all of the work myself, Iím not super man and Iím going to be gone to work 4-5days a week working to keep the banker happy. Even though I could work for 48hours straight on the weekend, Iím not getting any younger and donít need to burn myself out. Itís a small northern town and with everything going on I think the local economy will be in desperate need of work so Iím going to hire the local contractors to get the work we need accomplished and hopefully build some good relationships with them while supporting the community. Iím going to buy a premier post driver for the farm, itís for a skid steer or excavator, but Iím thinking Iíll be able to offer it as a rental in the future and with 318acres there is a lot to keep fenced, especially with moose in the vicinity. 

@YellowHammer love the pics of the root bucket. Looks like a great tool to have in the arsenal! I know you bought your tractor new and specially made, just curious if thereís a way to tell if the tractor has the  hydraulic connections to operate a tool like that? 

@BargeMonkey appreciate the advice! I wonít be buying a mulcher anytime soon unless Iím going to make a career out of it. What model(s) of tractor/skid steer would you recommend keeping my eyes out for? 

@Andries thank you for the link! I found someone local who stocks erskine equipment north of the border and have been chatting with them

@Gary_C I cannot disagree with your comment because youíre absolutely correct that, in a traditional sense, pastoring forested areas would kill the trees. Iím referring to a more structured approach, for a quick example, dividing 300 acres into 30 10acre pastures, the animals will spend 24 hours grazing each pasture and then rotated to the next, allowing ample rest periods for the pasture as it would be roughly 30 days before we got back around to our original pasture. Again, itís going to be a trial and error experience, but Iíve got the time to explore. There are numerous articles and some university programs out of Missouri doing research into agroforestry and specifically silvopasture, so Iím going to enlist as many experts as might be willing to guide me in the learning process. 

Stay safe and healthy everyone! Hopefully this will all blow over soon and we will be back to the new normal, whatever that might be!  

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2020, 07:50:33 AM »
Sure, since it's a skid steer attachment, the tractor needs a joystick with an operator 2 button valve.  Then there needs to be two hoses run to the backplate of the bucket at the head of the loader arms.  Its made by WR Long.  You don't have to buy their joystick, they can hook up to pretty much any joystick with 2 buttons.

W.R. Long, Inc. | Selector Valve Kit "VKS18" & "VKS30"

and they have a great webpage, and are easily added to any tractor.

Whatever tractor you get, make sure it gets a skid steer quick attachment mounting plate installed.  That way it can run any attachment a skid steer can run, including buckets, grapples, forks, post hole drills, anything.  Some brands come with the plate as standard, I had one tractor where I bought the skidsteer plate and mounted to on my loader arms.  
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Offline Southside

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2020, 08:50:31 AM »
As far as your silvopasture goes 30 day rest period under a canopy might be way too short.  Graze those grasses, forbs, and legumes too quickly and you will run them out.  When we bought our place here everyone locally told me silvopasture does not work.  Well - yesterday I moved my milking herd out of an area I have thinned and seeded just like you are looking to do.  They were in there for 48 hours and will be back in 45 days or so depending on growth.  This is a lower spot on my place and has good sub irrigation as a result so the forage has good moisture.  The canopy does a couple of things - it allows my cool season grasses to extend and slow down their growing, which is good here as we can go from winter to summer and cool season grasses will go to seed in a hurry in the open, but it also slows down the re-growth at the same time - the soil will be cooler under there, which is good and bad.  So you need to recognize that and account for it.  Also, you will have trash on top of the soil to deal with - leaves, needles, sticks, etc and they will impede seed to soil contact so it's important to really mob up your animals to get good hoof impact and get your seed into the soil - but again the soil is wetter, so you need to be careful not to pug the soil.  One of the gals who works for me absolutely loves the look of the "savanna" areas I have created and told me "that's where the woods fairies live", as it sure is an aesthetic landscape when done right.  For me it's also the very best soil I own, nobody else has had the chance to abuse it for 50+ years.  I call it my savings account and it has bailed me out several times.  Good luck with the project.  
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2020, 09:10:51 AM »
Silvopasture only works in certain soils with certain tree species no matter what the "experts" say. UP here grazing around any sort of trees with our heavy clay soil, high surface moisture, and ample rainfall means the roots get trampled and the tops die back.

I have a piece of woods that was grazed 1 day 2 years ago for the first and last time in 50 years and 1 year later I probably had 20% crown dieback in the aspen and maple trees. Now almost 2 years later and I'm not seeing bud activity in quite a few more trees. I dont really care too much as I plan to clear it all for field at some point though.

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2020, 01:33:22 PM »
I love this site because you truly get all 3 sides of the coin. @Southside @chevytaHOE5674 really appreciate both of your insights. For the first two years I really donít plan to do much other than focus on what the wife needs for the horses while Iím observing and exploring the forest. As mentioned previously, Iíve got an agreement with a local forester, whose father logged the property before him, and I intend to listen and learn before I experiment. 

Currently thereís going to be a max of 10head, 4 cows, 3 calves, bull and 2 steers from a friend Iím hoping to finish for the fall and my freezers. For the last 100+ years the property has operated the same way, the cattle have about 200 acres to graze freely - they go up into the hills sometime in May and come back down to the barnyard late September/October. So until I have a good idea how the land lays and where spring run off goes, etc etc Iím not going to change much. 

We will be going back up in the next few weeks to walk the property line so Iíll do my best to get some good pictures to share, Iíd love to get some outside, more experienced eyes on it so I can juggle my options. If the hardwoods were logged in the 80ís, when would most of you go back in? Obviously I would wait for the right market conditions etc, Iím just asking about a general rule of thumb from a foresters perspective. 

@YellowHammer thank you again for the advice! More reading to do and equipment to look at!  :P

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2020, 02:02:42 PM »
I hope this finds everyone well with all the craziness in the world right now.

Sorry for the disappearance, had a lot going on to get our house sold and everything in place for the big move. Iím taking everything you guys have told me into consideration because experience goes a long way in my book, letís just say Iíve learned the hard way in the past.

Iíve purchased the equipment from the current property owner, 97 Massey Ferguson 231 with front loader/tire chains/bale spear/snowblower/disc harrow/hay wagons/seed spreader/log splitter.... heís been using it around the farm for years and gave me a reasonable number for it. My only concern is the wife being able to blow/plow her way to the barns, we went up there in mid March and the snow banks were sitting at 8í tall lol. With all the turbulence in the markets, Iím going to bide my time and hunt down the best used tractor and/or skid steer I can find for the money Iíve got to spend, I donít want to sound like a vulture, but I think there will be some good ones coming into the market before winter hits again and dealers are going to be wanting to move some inventory and get some invoices out the door. Found a 2008 cat 299c, pre emissions tracked machine for $38,000cad, guys buying a house and needs it gone - but I donít have the cash till we close on our house.

My wife had to give me a bit of a reality check though because as much as Iíd like to do all of the work myself, Iím not super man and Iím going to be gone to work 4-5days a week working to keep the banker happy. Even though I could work for 48hours straight on the weekend, Iím not getting any younger and donít need to burn myself out. Itís a small northern town and with everything going on I think the local economy will be in desperate need of work so Iím going to hire the local contractors to get the work we need accomplished and hopefully build some good relationships with them while supporting the community. Iím going to buy a premier post driver for the farm, itís for a skid steer or excavator, but Iím thinking Iíll be able to offer it as a rental in the future and with 318acres there is a lot to keep fenced, especially with moose in the vicinity.

@YellowHammer love the pics of the root bucket. Looks like a great tool to have in the arsenal! I know you bought your tractor new and specially made, just curious if thereís a way to tell if the tractor has the  hydraulic connections to operate a tool like that?

@BargeMonkey appreciate the advice! I wonít be buying a mulcher anytime soon unless Iím going to make a career out of it. What model(s) of tractor/skid steer would you recommend keeping my eyes out for?

@Andries thank you for the link! I found someone local who stocks erskine equipment north of the border and have been chatting with them

@Gary_C I cannot disagree with your comment because youíre absolutely correct that, in a traditional sense, pastoring forested areas would kill the trees. Iím referring to a more structured approach, for a quick example, dividing 300 acres into 30 10acre pastures, the animals will spend 24 hours grazing each pasture and then rotated to the next, allowing ample rest periods for the pasture as it would be roughly 30 days before we got back around to our original pasture. Again, itís going to be a trial and error experience, but Iíve got the time to explore. There are numerous articles and some university programs out of Missouri doing research into agroforestry and specifically silvopasture, so Iím going to enlist as many experts as might be willing to guide me in the learning process.

Stay safe and healthy everyone! Hopefully this will all blow over soon and we will be back to the new normal, whatever that might be!  
If you get that CAT you might want to pay a few bucks  to get a dealer to check it out. Thatís still a lot of money for that old of unit depending on the hours. You can get a bunch of money tied up in the undercarriage if itís worn out.

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2020, 02:18:19 PM »
If your set on a compact track loader take a hard look at used ASV with independent boogie wheels it rides much nicer, way better ground clearance and way more capable with 20 inch wide tracks. 

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2020, 03:50:05 PM »
If your set on a compact track loader take a hard look at used ASV with independent boogie wheels it rides much nicer, way better ground clearance and way more capable with 20 inch wide tracks.
I havenít really decided yet, 4x4 tractor or skid steer... id like to get both, and an excavator lol, but we will see what the future holds.... I wonít buy anything without my buddy doing an inspection, 40yrs heavy duty mechanic, I just donít bug him unless somethings broken or Iím ready to buy, I donít like wasting his time sending him ads of every machine I look at lol
The cat had like 4800hrs.... sprockets done @3200, small rollers @3700, new tracks/fluids/battery and all new bucket hinge pins and bushings done less than 50hrs... had the receipts, he just couldnít wait cause he needs the downpayment for his house, probably could have talked him down with cash in hand.. I saw a used ASV RT120Forestry? Up on kijiji from a dealer, I might go take a look and see if I can find it again. 


Offline YellowHammer

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2020, 11:31:14 PM »
Kind of, mines a T4.95, and the key with that loader is whether it has mechanical self leveling or MSL.  If it does, its required to have stronger hydros with more flow rate to operate the self leveling feature.  With the stronger pumps and such, they could then refit with bigger rams, and so at least for my model, they would lift almost twice as much as the non self leveling systems.  

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Offline PJS

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Re: New property owner seeking equipment advice
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2020, 11:18:27 AM »
Dug through the photos I got from the real estate agent from spring 2019... yes it took us that long to negotiate this deal... but itís happening so thatís what counts!

Below is a pic of the logging area, from the receipts I received most of what gets sold is red/white pine saw logs and poplar saw logs/pulp. From what the owner has told me, heís only been having the forester cut enough every year to pay the property taxes. 





Below is a drone view from over top the forest facing towards the house, I know the pictures arenít great, I was just curious what some of your more experienced eyes first impression is based upon what you can see. To my inexperienced eye it looks to be in need of a thinning, but I literally know nothing about forestry and thatís why Iím here learning and reading all the old threads which are a wealth of information and knowledge. 


 

 


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