Clearing Land for Pasture--Yikes!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by glenberryfarm, May 27, 2005.

  1. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I just had an excavator come out and give me an estimate for clearing about 2 acres of trees for a pasture -just piling the trees so we could go at them eventually for firewood. He said $1000/day and it may take about 4 days. :eek:
    I may just be ignorant about the cost of clearing, but does that sound about right?
    Is there a cheaper way of going? I don't think there is much back there that a lumber co. would want.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    I think if you tried doing it the old fashioned way you would think 4K was a bargain!! :p
     

  3. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Well I just had 4 Hours of Dozer work done at $65 an hour.To me it is easier to cut the trees for Firewood then have Dozer come in.

    Four days seem a little long getting it done.

    You could put Goats on it cut your wood as you have time.Once its cleared off,go in fertilize,broadcast Grass Seed,or Clover,or both.

    big rockpile
     
  4. Philbee

    Philbee Well-Known Member

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    That sounds about right. We were charged a 100 dollars an hour. The amount of work those big machines can do is incredible. Our guy also burned everything too. It is a lot of money but worth it in saved time and our backs IMHO. It only took a day and a half to do our pasture, get most of the burning done and level everything off. We had a few really big stumps that he hauled off with his dump truck to a neighbor who wanted fill. Unless you have a really big place or he has a smaller machine than our guy, 4 days seems a bit long for the job.
     
  5. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    The price sounds about right for an excavator. Those things aren't cheap and they don't run on air.


    IMHO, the least expensive method of clearing land is thus. Grab your chain saw and fall the trees. Cut any useable firewood into chunks, split it and stack it to dry in an appropriate area. Make piles of brush for the tops. Burn the tops.

    THEN, hire an excavator. The only think left should be the stumps. The stumps can either be buried on the property beneath the frost level or hauled away (somewhat expensive) from the property.

    IMHO, having a machine in which you're paying over $100 an hour for should be used for the purpose in which it was intended. Excavators are great for stump removal. They do only a marginal job of moving logs about. While its true the "thumb" on an excavator can indeed pick up & move logs, the price you're paying for an excavator to move logs about far exceeds the financial benefits of having some firewood.
     
  6. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

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    Can you rent a dozier and do it yourself?
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    glenberryfarm
    You did not give very much info as to the trees on the property. Size and species could help/hinder the task. Try to give the trees away then as suggested above get an excavator (track hoe) to remove and then bury/burn. If you need other earth prep done get the largest tack loader/dozer that you can locate. Size is important more than price per hour. A big $100/hr machine can do more work for the same money than a $75/hr medium size machine. A decent operator on a medium to large machine should be able to windrow the standing trees ready to burn on 2 acres in 10 hours provided the trees are not overly large. Trees exceeding 12 inches at breast height should be cut and then the stumps dug. It takes too long to push a tree of this size and the cost per tree mounts. Do you have equipment of your own that can prepare the land for planting or did that work come with the quote you received? For pasture you do not need to remove all the roots as they will rot.
     
  8. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    we cleared some land as BRP suggested 8 years ago ,now can not find any stumps or roots in the ground and did not cost anywhere near 4 grand! if you were planting crops then the hyhoe idea comes into play but the stumps and roots don't hinder grazing you can cut the stumps off close to the ground if you don't like the look of them(trees swathed don't do much for the senery either)
     
  9. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    Two measely acres - must have a whopping set-up charge.

    That price and time sounds absurd to me. Now, an excavator could cost $100/hr. But there are dozers set up specifically for clearing trees, even the large ones, and these dozers hardly slow down when going through diameters of 15 inches or smaller, and they will leave your wood in windrows to boot! It should'nt take more than two 8 to 10 hr. days to do this.

    Some dozer operators really don't like to clear trees - it can be dangerous, others do, and can do it fast.

    Once the construction and heavy earth-moving equipment goes splat I expect prices to come down alot.
     
  10. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    It really makes a big difference, glenberry farm, what size and density these trees are and to some extent the type of soil. But, that does sound like a lot of money for two acres. And I really think a dozer would be more in line for this type of work-maybe a big dozer. And caballovejo brings up a very good point- sometimes the really large machines are extremely expensive to move and therefore a small job is more expensive than a medium sized machine would do it for. GET A FEW MORE QUOTES.
     
  11. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. These trees are not large and there is no underbrush. It's pretty level and easy to reach. I guess we will just head out there with our handy dandy chainsaw and have a party. You are right, we can just cut close to the ground and let nature do the rest. I was just hoping that we could get it done quickly. But that's not what homesteading is all about :)
     
  12. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    What animals are you going to have? Why not clear out a path for the fence and then get the fence put up. Some livestock could probably live on those 2 acres with some help from you.

    What size trees are they? You might want to check with a logging company to see if they are interested at all. Perhaps if you tell them you want it clear cut, I would think the trees would at least be worth it for maybe pulp wood.

    Whoever does the clearing, just make sure that they (or you) cut the tree as close to the ground as possible. And if you are doing it, be very careful as trees don't always fall the way they are "supposed to"!!
     
  13. barn-apart

    barn-apart Well-Known Member

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    Dozers can push the trees over with the stumps, then cut your wood after they are felled. Probably get by cheaper. My 2 cents worth.
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    First and easiest thing to do is get a couple of estimates. A lot depends on the company doing the work and also the time of year and how fast you want it done. A good dozer operator might cost more now but will be cheaper in the long run. I have seen similar jobs done by 2 different operators and the extra work that can be left by a sloppy operator can be very expensive.
    Cutting the trees yourself can be more than you bargained for if you truly have 2 acres of woods. All I can say is if you don't have a lot of experience be very careful and take all precautions possible. Personally I would cut the trees in the cold weather as you wouldn't have all the leaves or the bugs. It's much easier to drop trees with no leaves as you can see the structure of the tree better and also the trees around it.
     
  15. garrett

    garrett Member

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    I had the same problem and approached it several different ways. First I started up the old chainsaw and worked myself to death. Then I found what I thought was a responsible party to help cut and clear the land on shares. They covered most of my land with felled trees that had the fence posts removed and then were left for me to clean up. Now I am doing a mixture of things. First I am rotating my goats thru and cleaning up behind them, picking and cutting in areas that I can't or don't want to get machinery into, and last I am using 2 gentlemans services to help clean my pasture. One guy has a fairly large bulldozer that only charges $55/hour and comes over for 3-5 hours at a time to clean. That allows me to pick up before he comes back and do some of the smaller projects that I don't want to pay to have done. The second guy has a bobcat with tracks that has an arm to hold trees and a saw to cut fairly large trees. He can also stack the trees in one spot allowing for either a nice burn pile or one place where you can cut for firewood. He also charges $55/hour. His service works well since I have alot of Hedge and Locust trees on my property. Different people I have talked to say that these machines can cut large areas in a very short time(up tp 10-20 acres of moderate wooded area/day). There are several people with these types of machines in my area and most charge anywhere from 65-85/hour. The guy I work with is the cheapest, but he also takes some of my hedge posts for payment so it is a win-win situation. This might be an alternative that could save some money. Also the guy with the bulldozer has cleaned several acres in a 3-5 hour day.
     
  16. fearlessemily

    fearlessemily Member

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    Hey There --

    From what I've read, if you cut the trees down you can then throw some corn or other feed in betwee the stumps and put some unrung pigs out there -- they will dig up and chew up the roots for you.

    Emily
     
  17. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Renting a dozer probably won't be much cheaper, if at all. An experienced operator will do it in half the time you can, unless you really know what you are doing. A mid-sized dozer should be able to handle that job. Or even a track loader with a big bucket. Around here they go for $60-70 an hour with the operator; 4-6 hour minimum. I had an estimate on clearing out 3 acres of LARGE trees, heavy growth a couple of years ago. The estimate was $1,500. With fuel prices up, that might be as high as $1800 today. All I would have to do is groom the land with a box blade and burn the piles.