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Author Topic: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails  (Read 1299 times)

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Offline Aggieforester

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Howdy. Newby, been enjoying this community as a lurker. I'm a flatlander from south GA loblolly area, retiring to coastal WA. Bought a little 125 acre cutover tract, would appreciate some input on equipment to manage it. How small a CTL or skid steer with over the tire tracks would be stable on soft soil? Narrow Kioti ck3510hst wasn't very stable R4 tires, no standard options for bigger or wider), fairly tippy as I drove over trails (used it for several years and sold it, not the right tool for the job). Like the look of some of the fat tired orchard tractors with protected cabs but this area and work might be better suited for a CTL. I'm worried about soil compression and tree root damage. Some of the area is boggy, most of it gets standing water here in Western WA, 60" rain a year and sometimes 4" rain per day and alluvial soil and clay. Not worried about snow plowing, won't be on the land Nov- April, too wet to not damage the soil or get stuck. Mostly flat area but many stumps and hummocks; red alder, doug fir and some cedar. Has been logged several times and has some heavily rutted areas. It was clearcut in 2 sections in last 5 years, I've got mostly 4 and 2 year old seedlings, grass and scrub. Looking to get trails put in as dirt trails, no gravel. Not planning on logging or cut firewood myself but want to manage the alder for a 20 year rotation; Doug fir is 80 year rotation for timber. Hired guy with a JD 450 dozer to put in perimeter trails, cleared the slash from old skidder trails. 8 ft wide dozer on 6 ft wide average seedling spacing is a little too wide, looking to mow 6 ft wide trails to allow better access for management and hunting. Want to be able to put in more trails, keep brush, grass, Reed canary grass and scotch broom down. Got a gravel logging road from front to back to provide access, no pavement, lots of slash, few surface rocks. Summers are dry. Could rent a CTL and brush cutter short term and buy a tractor but would prefer having a long term CTL or skid steer to play with. Cutting that scotch broom back by hand or spraying it wasn't real effective and tractor wasn't suited to the soft soil. Want to do some trail building in hills at end of property and dig a pond but those are secondary considerations. Q1. Is a mid sized frame 50 hp skid or CTL stable enough on soft, uneven ground to blaze trails and then keep them mowed or do I need to move up to 90 large framed machine? Worried about soil compression on tires and tipping over, looking for an affordable medium. $30k budget for machine plus implements since this is a hobby, won't get any economic return until alder thinning in 15 years. Q2. I know tractors, ignorant on skid steers and CTLs other than reading. I've got tools for car and tractor maintenance, not for heavy equipment. Could I reasonably expect a 5 year old skid or CTL with 1500-2000 hours to last 10 years, 200 hours a year without having to replace a transmission or other very expensive item? I'm guessing the engine would be fine that long and would expect to do maintenance and track replacement. Got Kubota and New Holland dealers 20 miles away, Bobcat and Case 50 miles away but don't know any of them. Any wisdom or experience shared would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Offline barbender

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 06:41:33 PM »
I'm not always real big on them, but ASV track loaders are without equal when it comes to a light footprint in my experience. They also ride much nicer and have better traction. They also have higher maintenance costs. I work with a guy that has a new ASV RT70, he just had a guy hire him to take care of some work in a low area that he couldn't work in his own Kubota track machine. 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2020, 07:17:05 PM »
I talked to a friend yesterday. Heís got one of my older ASV Forestry 100. He was thinking of getting a new one. CAT brought out a new one to demo and he said it was great. But his main concern was it just didnít have the ground clearance 😊

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2020, 07:30:13 PM »
With a 30k budget of machine and implements the trade off is older and higher hours. You could get something and it could work out fine. Or you could open a can of worms 

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2020, 08:11:42 PM »
Thanks. Yeah, clearance, track life, and maintenance...don't want to be broken down in the back 40, trying to do a major repair. Heard horror stories about $10k small dozers that needed $15k in transmission repairs... ASVs look slick, not sure an RT-40 would last too long running a light duty brush hog all day in the rough...and can't afford purchase or repair on a 125.

Offline Haleiwa

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 08:25:57 PM »
Over the tire tracks and forestry are a bad combination.  Any stick that gets caught between the tire and the track (and there will be a lot of them) will jam your drive train or damage the tire.  You need a forestry equipped CTL.  Terex is a good one, but for the work you want to do, you need a bigger one than you think.  My PT110F puts out 45 gpm, and it takes it all to run my mulching head.  My advice would be to spend your money on a good loader of at least 110 horse, a grapple, and a bucket.  The mulching heads are expensive, and you can rent one as you need it to avoid tying up another $25,000.
Socialism is people pretending to work while the government pretends to pay them.  Mike Huckabee

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2020, 08:37:33 PM »
I have a Kubota svl95 and I have to say that I do not find it useful in the woods, no ground clearance.  Great for fields, wood lots, firewood, etc.  I would say perhaps a skidder with a blade might be more helpful or a wider stance tractor, the orchard models.  Now the orchard models are low to the ground ( I live amongst quite a few vineyards) and they often have tires that would need to get swapped.  

Here is another idea.  Rent a bulldozer for a month to put trails in place, maybe $3000, then small excavator to do anything the dozer can't.  Maybe another $2000 for that.  This would get your basic dirtwork done and done with equipment that was new and under the rental agreement insurance protection (no worries if you break it).  

This would leave you $25,000 to buy an older skidder that is simple to work on, a garret or old TJ etc.  The skidder would have a basic blade, could pull firewood, would not mind stumps so much, etc.  Be sure to budget another  $2000 or so on seed & straw ( get good native seed stock, great for wildlife) to get the trails set for rains.  Anyway, my experience that if you break down the task you really need and the best machine for the task...well you may find that rentals of specific equipment that is purpose built for the job at hand allows the remaining funds to be spent on the most appropriate equipment to own without a weak compromise that leaves you second guessing yourself, hating the project, and being miserable.  Not that I've ever made that mistake  :D.

Another option is to hire someone to do the trails but if you are retired than your time is your own and a rental may be the ticket.  Up to you.

Now, how about some pictures.

Liking Walnut

Offline barbender

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2020, 08:39:08 PM »
A medium frame CTL in the 60-70 hp range will do what you need. A standard flow brush mower should work for the grass, weeds, and light brush. If you're looking to do really heavy mowing or mulching, you need a lot more machine.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2020, 08:39:24 PM »
I have a Kubota svl95 and I have to say that I do not find it useful in the woods, no ground clearance.  Great for fields, wood lots, firewood, etc.  I would say perhaps a skidder with a blade might be more helpful or a wider stance tractor, the orchard models.  Now the orchard models are low to the ground ( I live amongst quite a few vineyards) and they often have tires that would need to get swapped.  

Here is another idea.  Rent a bulldozer for a month to put trails in place, maybe $3000, then small excavator to do anything the dozer can't.  Maybe another $2000 for that.  This would get your basic dirtwork done and done with equipment that was new and under the rental agreement insurance protection (no worries if you break it).  

This would leave you $25,000 to buy an older skidder that is simple to work on, a garret or old TJ etc.  The skidder would have a basic blade, could pull firewood, would not mind stumps so much, etc.  Be sure to budget another  $2000 or so on seed & straw ( get good native seed stock, great for wildlife) to get the trails set for rains.  Anyway, my experience that if you break down the task you really need and the best machine for the task...well you may find that rentals of specific equipment that is purpose built for the job at hand allows the remaining funds to be spent on the most appropriate equipment to own without a weak compromise that leaves you second guessing yourself, hating the project, and being miserable.  Not that I've ever made that mistake  :D.

Another option is to hire someone to do the trails but if you are retired than your time is your own and a rental may be the ticket.  Up to you.

Now, how about some pictures.
PS ASV maint can be very very painful.
Liking Walnut

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2020, 03:42:17 AM »
You have a long list of concerns. A mid size CTL would handle annual mowing of regrowth just fine as well as have the lightest footprint. The downsides to one in the woods is they have very poor ground clearance, poor visibility to rear even if equipped with a camera, and will loose traction quickly in wet clay soils if you break through the vegetative layer. They also are a royal pain to work on due to the confined space as well as a fire hazard with trapped debris in the belly pan and engine compartment. I could use mine to mow a swampy area you could not walk through but get stuck on clay woods road that a 4wd tractor would not spin a tire on. Plentiful as they are to rent, I would go that route as a trial to see if it suited. I personally prefer a guarded tractor for woods tasks.

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 04:56:01 AM »
Thanks, folks. That's the difference between me having a little bit of book knowledge and watching people for 10 minutes on jobs and y'all doing it for years. I'll have to see if I can add photos from my smartphone or if I need to break out my laptop. That Kioti was fun, ran it on a small place in VA and in WA, but was too narrow. Drop a small front tire in a soft spot and things got cattywampus fast. Thanks again!

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2020, 05:16:53 AM »
Pics of my place December 2018 as I was buying it and summer of 19 getting a dozer to do a perimeter and a couple interior trails. Braided streams are common, including trails turning into streams...

 

 

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2020, 05:18:34 AM »
Some more

 

 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2020, 05:23:22 AM »
Wheeled bobcats have no suspension at all so theyre about like driving a warehouse forklift over potholes.. Rattle your guts pretty good and chew up everything.  Very easily stuck. 

Ag machinery has been run on saturated fields for ages by putting on duals front and rear.  Swamp loggers do the same.  Is that an option for you?  Itll cut your ground pressure in half. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2020, 03:31:30 PM »
Thanks, Mike. I'll have to consider tractors with wider stance and either fat orchard/soft ground wheels or doubles to purchase if I rent heavy equipment for the hard stuff first. Cat 299 D3 Land Management if I win the lotto... Don't know if air ride seats on CTL or wheeled skid steers would soften the ride much.
Doug

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2020, 03:47:44 PM »
Seat suspension would probably be a big improvement over sitting on steel with a little foam.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2020, 04:46:41 PM »
My friend has an ASV loved it till repair and maintenance bills started rolling in.
Would have gave it to me when I was looking for a skid steer.
Priced out the repairs and future maintenance and ended up with big Bob.
CTL will have to come when I win the power ball :D
Lt 40 wide with 38hp gas and command controls Riehl Steel edger,F350 4x4 dump and lot of contracting tools

Online Skeans1

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2020, 04:56:43 PM »
What part of the coast in Washington? The biggest problems we have out here with CTL or rubber tire equipment isnít the wet so much as ground clearance. You need to be spraying and slashing itíll go a lot further in your efforts.

Can I ask why such a short alder rotation? A 55 to 60 year rotation in Douglas fir seems to be about the perfect number.

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2020, 09:04:23 PM »
Howdy, Skeans1. We're near Centralia, off I-5 a bit. Local mill buys alder for chip, I'm told by the state forester who helped me with my management plan. We'll see how it goes. I know the county planted improved poplars, but have no market now. Neighbor said trespassers were on our place again, so likely won't leave equipment there, even in a conex, behind a locked gate. Guess I better size my truck and tractor/CTL at the same time...

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2020, 09:07:00 PM »
Bruno, what's Big Bob? Curious what's working for you. Have driven through NH but haven't spent time there. Plenty of hilly stuff!
Doug

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2020, 09:35:10 PM »
Big Bob is a 974 bobcat .
It's very heavy I use it in a mill yard as my loader.
I wouldn't want to cross any soft ground with it.
It would sink to the bottom.
But they did make a version of it with grosser tracks with a shear head for dropping trees.
Others on here know more about that one than I.
My property is wet and is next to my friend that has the ASV and I have seen that machine go in some very soft areas without sinking in.
It has wide tracks and higher ground clearance than other ctls out there. I don't know how well the under carriage stands up to rocks or stumps.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2020, 10:44:41 PM »
The reason I brought up the ASV was their ability to work on soft ground, slopes clay, you name it. The undercarriage can be really expensive to maintain, but they will do things that other machines can't even come close. If I was doing general construction work and such I'd look at other CTL machines first. ASV have way higher ground clearance as well. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with them, but there's no getting around the fact that they will do more on challenging ground. If for a business, you have to charge enough for it. If for personal use, you just have to be able to afford it😁 BTW, the smaller RT50 and RT60 machines are a lot less powerful than the bigger machines, but have a reputation for much less maintenance then their big brothers. They don't tear themselves apart. One other thing I don't like about them (and Cat machines for that matter) is the Perkins engine. Perkins has made some great engines over the years, these don't seem to be among them.
Too many irons in the fire

Online Skeans1

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2020, 11:29:23 PM »
Howdy, Skeans1. We're near Centralia, off I-5 a bit. Local mill buys alder for chip, I'm told by the state forester who helped me with my management plan. We'll see how it goes. I know the county planted improved poplars, but have no market now. Neighbor said trespassers were on our place again, so likely won't leave equipment there, even in a conex, behind a locked gate. Guess I better size my truck and tractor/CTL at the same time...
Oh ok Iím about an hour south of you across the river from Longview, Wa. Thereís two alder mills there Cascade and Northwest Hardwoods, my personal alder rotation is probably around 60 years old itís where we feel we get the best dollar in return for scale and our fir rotation is around 90 years old. As for the poplar hybrids there was a ton planted in my area when James River owned Wauna paper mill to feed it. We use our rubber tired skid steer in the forestry rows for mowing but our rows are planted with a tractor and wide enough to pass for the first 5 years.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2020, 01:41:32 AM »
Barko 1080 is the machine youre talkin about bruno.  The 1080C has planetary hubs which is much desired. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2020, 02:49:32 AM »
What part of the coast in Washington? The biggest problems we have out here with CTL or rubber tire equipment isnít the wet so much as ground clearance. You need to be spraying and slashing itíll go a lot further in your efforts.

Can I ask why such a short alder rotation? A 55 to 60 year rotation in Douglas fir seems to be about the perfect number.
Neighbors got a montezuma tree saw for CTL/Skid with a spray kit on it. He says it works pretty good. About 4,500. Said he uses it for the year and sells for 2,500 then buys a new one 

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2020, 03:23:23 AM »
The reason I brought up the ASV was their ability to work on soft ground, slopes clay, you name it. The undercarriage can be really expensive to maintain, but they will do things that other machines can't even come close. If I was doing general construction work and such I'd look at other CTL machines first. ASV have way higher ground clearance as well. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with them, but there's no getting around the fact that they will do more on challenging ground. If for a business, you have to charge enough for it. If for personal use, you just have to be able to afford it😁 BTW, the smaller RT50 and RT60 machines are a lot less powerful than the bigger machines, but have a reputation for much less maintenance then their big brothers. They don't tear themselves apart. One other thing I don't like about them (and Cat machines for that matter) is the Perkins engine. Perkins has made some great engines over the years, these don't seem to be among them.
The ASV 120 RT Forestry with the new Fecon Blackhawk Mulcher head is going to be my next machine. That head is amazing. ASV has a new 75 Max thatís coming out with 360 degree view. Itís pretty sweet!!

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2020, 05:41:13 AM »
Thanks all, appreciate the advice! Now I'll be dreaming about an ASV120...wonder if the wife will keep working so I can make the monthly payments and maintenance bills...ha. I'll have to do some more research on the ASV RT40 and larger, used prices are decent and I could tow it with my current truck.

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2020, 06:42:24 AM »
The reason I brought up the ASV was their ability to work on soft ground, slopes clay, you name it. The undercarriage can be really expensive to maintain, but they will do things that other machines can't even come close. If I was doing general construction work and such I'd look at other CTL machines first. ASV have way higher ground clearance as well. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with them, but there's no getting around the fact that they will do more on challenging ground. If for a business, you have to charge enough for it. If for personal use, you just have to be able to afford it😁 BTW, the smaller RT50 and RT60 machines are a lot less powerful than the bigger machines, but have a reputation for much less maintenance then their big brothers. They don't tear themselves apart. One other thing I don't like about them (and Cat machines for that matter) is the Perkins engine. Perkins has made some great engines over the years, these don't seem to be among them.
The 120 has a Cummins Engine 

Offline Riwaka

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2020, 06:47:09 AM »
Some of the dozers (that could have a rear power take off and linkage added to run a brush hog) in your price range look pretty worn out.

The New Holland TK 100 (might be in budget) has the metal crawler tracks of a dozer and a pto and linkage. Just need to figure out the rops and AC. - maybe exact cabs could figure something out.

New Holland TK100


Exact E cab


Build you own Woods Boss from a John Deere or NH donor tractor. (How much have the yellow jackets and killer bees spread?- surely it might be an idea to have an enclosed cab mulching in the woods, unless one wears a bee suit instead)


CMI mulchers  mostly look a bit beyond budget.

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2020, 07:28:26 AM »
Thanks, Riwaka. Yeah, I've hit ground hornets and bees there already but did a Monty Python, run away, run away. I like the looks of that TK80 and 100. Orchard cabs are common down in CA, might have to drive down there to find a used tractor with one or, as you suggested, build one up. 

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2020, 07:40:47 AM »
@Aggieforester 
You should be able to head over the mount to Yakima or even Wenatchee and find those cab style tractors with all the fruit growers over there.

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2020, 08:10:07 AM »
Good point, Skeans1. Saw WA Tractor, Yakima had some nice stuff but pricey. Like the low profile Antonio Carrera but figured the articulated frame wouldn't hold up if I push much dirt with an aftermarket FEL. Liking what I see of a NH TD4040F, low profile and 24" front tires should be stable in swampy and rutted soil. Guess I could put the time into doing the dirt work to level all the trails. But many of the cabbed orchard tractors are $50k, plus cost of bushhog, more than I can spend on a hobby.

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2020, 01:15:12 PM »
It to bad no one in the states imports the Hamey trio 
Steel tracks,loader,dozer blade and 3pt hitch.
Has a Perkins engine
I would like one.
Only available down under.
U-bulb has some movies on it.
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Offline quilbilly

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2020, 02:40:54 PM »
Aggie I'm logging in Centralia right now. I can't believe the state Forester recommended 20 years for alder. That's just crazy. The price difference between chips and sawlogs is enormous. Also if you grow to at least a twelve inch top you will get top $ as that's the last price increase based on diameter for sawlogs and it will meet the minimum size for alder slicers which pay double that of sawlogs. 

Fir for 80 years is super long. We are cutting 35 YO right now and getting 750 for it in Longview. I agree with skeans, you're in a top notch growing area and I'd wait until it's in the 50 year range and then log it on a hot market after that. BTW I'm not big on the short 35 YO rotation, but it's what the big guys are doing now. 80 year old fir in Lewis county will reach 160+ ft. At that age you might have wood that's too big for local mills and need to get a special order or ship 3+ hours. 
a man is strongest on his knees

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2020, 05:41:38 PM »
Thanks, Quilbilly. My place has a decent site index. Was talking to the state guy about rotations and income; just like loblolly, you can cut early but low return on investment. I'm surprised fir saw logs in 50, thought it was longer. But yeah, don't want them too big. I'll have to load pics of some buddies dropping a 500 year old spruce, 6 or 7 ft diameter and 225 ft tall, punk center... exciting!

Bruno, I saw the Hanmey, looks like the Nortrac version. Interesting stuff. This guy is importing now, too, as is Awassos. Don't know how reliable the machine is but looks good for my application. I saw a Sweco trail dozer working, that thing is nice but expensive. https://mcmusa.equipment/dozers

Offline quilbilly

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2020, 10:48:06 PM »
I'm not sure how long you've been out here but that isn't very big for a spruce that old. Head up to Olympic national Park and you can still find some big ones. My pops cut lots of em in the 10+ ft dia range. That is good on height though. 

There was a job just outside Centralia we bought 90 YO fir off of that was 120 ft to the first limb on most of em. They were a little too big for local mills but we had a temple log order for them. 
a man is strongest on his knees

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2020, 05:24:17 AM »
Nice, Quilbilly. Yeah, I've spent some time Oly NF and NP, some awesome old growth. Some guys in a Forest Service Sawyer class near Forks, WA, taking out some diseased old growth in a campground. So much bigger than the pines I grew up with in GA!

 

Offline Satamax

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2020, 07:17:01 AM »
Doug, wouldn't a secondhand snowcat do the job? 



You wouldn't get a little Paana in the us, i would think. 



But transforming a bigger snowcat into something like this is quite easy as i have heard. 



Plenty of examples on youtube. 
French CD4 sawmill. Latil TL 73. Self moving hydraulic crane. Iveco daily 4x4 lwb dead as of 06/2020. Replaced by a Brimont TL80 CSA.

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2020, 07:30:50 AM »
Thanks, Satamax, I'll have to look into that.

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2020, 07:44:50 AM »
Satamax, I enjoyed those videos, thanks. A quick search didn't show too many snowcats or similar for sale here at a decent price. Maybe Case will sell their DL550B as an alternative to small dozers, but even used in 5 years, I expect it to be out of my price range. But neat! https://www.forconstructionpros.com/equipment/earthmoving-compact/track-loaders/article/21136442/case-construction-equipment-cnh-case-dl550b-minotaur-adds-real-dozer-specs-at-the-top-of-compact-track-loaders 

Offline quilbilly

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2020, 10:14:33 AM »
It is amazing how tall the spruce will get isn't it. Oh one more thing. If you've got some cedar try to cut in the fall if the market is decent. You can get the brush pickers in there to do boughs and make a little extra money. It's a pain but can be worth it. 
a man is strongest on his knees

Offline dhjmd

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2020, 06:41:30 PM »
Hi aggieforester, I too am a newby to this site.  I also struggled with the quandary you are now, back in 2014.  We bought 53 acres, which is basically a low-lying valley with houses completely surrounding at about 100'-150' higher elevation (so it's almost ALWAYS damp, or worse!)  Same deal as you, single gravel road put in down the middle from east to west.  Judging from your pics (I can't post any yet), forest is probably a bit thicker than yours, as you mentioned timber harvests having occurred in the past, and about 30 acres of ours is in need of selection.

Back then, I had a 4x4 NH TC24DA HST (R-4 tires) with FEL already that I primarily used to finish mow the homestead.  It took me about three months working the FEL on this property to figure out something different was needed (only weighed about 2,000 lb, was good for maneuvering in tight spaces and had good ground clearance, just had no traction or bite due to leaves, ground vegetation, fallen limbs, old stumps, etc. and left me puckering and cussing constantly.)  Within another month, I had a new Cat 289D with all the forestry protection I could get from the factory (+ poly front door.)  I did get the rear counterweights but also got the wide-track and triple tread idlers.  Machine with basic dirt bucket weighs around 11,500 lb.  I should say I also ran a 259D at the dealership and it's just a lighter, smaller-footprint of a machine so it didn't feel as stable, especially backing up slopes.  You know the old adage about buying at least one size bigger than you think you'll need (ok, the 289D was actually two sizes larger than the 259D ;D)

In six years of owning/operating, stability has been very good, almost a little too good at times (when you run over any limb or trunk of much size, you're gonna know it!)  And while they can certainly become unstable real quick, it's not even in the same realm as a four wheel tractor (CoG is night/day different obviously.)  I can honestly say that ground clearance hasn't been an issue.  Every once in a great while, I will get a small limb jammed in between the frame and the undercarriage but that's usually only when I'm pushing a brush pile 3x the size of the CTL (one of those, "the CTL is in there somewhere" moments!)  For sure agree with other comments, seeing rearward is not ideal, though the backup camera is invaluable - once I got used to it, I found myself not even turning my head back/forth, as it gives wide enough visibility to see the things that will do real damage :) as long as you pay attention to it :D 

Recently the NH literally broke in two, so I have a new Kubota L6060CAB HST with FEL, PF, QH, DH, FM, GS, and RC on order.  Will be using the FEL and GS to maintain the road (previously used the CTL bucket :() and RC to maintain ditches and trails.  If you do go the tractor route, you may want to consider a DH option for rough or rutted trails (unless those areas are/remain dry, in which case a BB or GS may be more effective.)  Last thought...you may need to open up the purse strings a bit more, $30K for a machine and attachments to maintain something the size you're talking about could lead you places you're not interested in going...keep us posted, we're all anxiously awaiting your decision(s)!  

8)

Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2020, 11:15:11 AM »
Thanks, DHJMD! Yeah, it'll be interesting. I'm finishing up an out of state job, eager to get back there and play when I start retirement in 2 years. I was looking at Cat 299 vs 259, that 11" of track on ground and 3000 lbs difference really comes across from others' stories as being very noticeable for stability. Might pick up something next summer when I'm back to keep the trails mowed. And you're right, I have no merchantable timber, just a riparian buffer and new stuff, looking forward to managing and thinning.

Offline Fern Wood

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2020, 06:51:00 PM »
I Replaced the tracks at 1850 hours on my cat 279c at a cost of around 3k. 


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