Using a tractor with a front end loader

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tjconner, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. tjconner

    tjconner New Member

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    Am trying to clear about 5 acres for a horse pasture. Have a 44 hp tractor/front end loader with a box blade and a 5' bush hog available. Many of the trees are too big to bush hog. I have to try to push them over with the front end loader(limited success) or pull them up with a chain(very slow). Any ideas on techniques.
     
  2. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Tough to tell the size of tree involved. Sounds like the bulk of your trees are smaller, a few inches in diameter. No big monsters.

    We used to use a "snatch" technique using a logging truck and a big ~ 1" wire cable, 100 foot or so to clear land. Load the truck up with a good log load. Hook up to the tree standing on the back of the truck at just the right height. Driver guns it and just before the cable goes taut, pushes in the clutch to save the drive train.

    Weight and inertia snatches it clean out of the ground. Something like a truck with a good load is going to be more effective than a tractor. Always working downhill. Only trick is to judge the match up between the force you can apply and what the particular tree will require. When you get a "Bad Snatch" ain't fun. Can clear a lot of the more stubborn trees quick. You work from the cleared ground on a line. You wanted the hook up height to kick the tree forward just about vertical and then drag it out roots first. Means you got the best lever arm available without dodging trees.

    Works easier after a rain or with high soil moistures. The bigger ones you wind up digging out anyway. Old farmers used to burn the really big ones and plow around them.

    All depends on the size of the trees you are trying to tackle. Sounds like you are not bringing the right amount of force to the table.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ......................I had a Ford tractor about the same HP as yours . Obviously , you have to choose tree(s) that you have logical chance of working ON. MOst Trees, will have A Major Tap Root that will take off in One specific direction . My Techneak(sp) , was to take my FE loader and start pushing on the Trunk .....UNtil I found a Spot where the Whole Tree would move . This point would Usually be on the Opposite Side of the Tap Root . Once you discern the "Weak Point" then I would start to Push and Keep Pushing ....AS long AS I was making Progress . Then , If you can actually get the Tree Bent over with the Root Ball exposed I would then put the FE loader on the RB and start pushing There . At this point most of the battle is over with . Time for a cup of Mocha Java . fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Not sure where you are but there's a loader attachment made locally here that goes on a front end loader called a brush brute. click here It's a series of teeth on a bar designed to cut into a tree trunk so you can rip the tree out, much the way Fordy describes but easier because you have a firm bite on the tree. They have a good reputation around here, I've seen one in action and they were ripping good sized willow out with 50 hp although it mostly depends on decent tires and hydraulic lift.
     
  5. Steve in Ohio

    Steve in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    We have been clearing brush and overgrown area's since we bought this place 9 years ago,but rather than destroying my equipment by trying to move bigger stuff than the tractors can handle safely.......I just drop the tree's with chainsaws,de-branch them and cut them for firewood for myself and to sell.Then use the tractors or bobcat to shove the brush into a pile to burn.
    I have brush piles burning all the time in the winter months,(no regs.on outdoor burning on farm sites here).Just cut the stumps high enough to keep the bar out of the dirt,I cut X patterns in the stump about 2-3in. deep,lets water get in and freeze&thaw which helps make it rot faster.About 3 years ago we cleaned out an 18ac. pasture for the sheep,and most of the stumps are mush now.
     
  6. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    When my grandparents and great-grandparents cleared land for farming back in central Minnesota (early 1900s), what they did was have my grandfather (when he was a kid) climb up as high as he could in the tree. Then he'd attach a chain around the trunk and drop it to the ground. The other end of the chain was hooked to a pair of oxen in the early days and then a Fordson tractor later on. The oxen or tractor would simply pull the tree over....on accounta the entire length of trunk acted as a lever which made it easy to do.

    See what you're doing is only reaching up maybe 10 feet with your bucket when you push. If you use a chain 20 feet off the ground you'll then double you're pushing/pulling power....30 feet off the ground will increase it 3 times.

    Hope this makes since. They cleared entire forests using this method.

    P.S. And the one thing that I forgot to mention that if you takes the trees down this way, there are no stumps to deal with!
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    A tractor is meant for general farm work. How much is your tractor and your life worth? Why not just cut the bigger trees for wood and hire a dozer to push up the stumps. A couple of hundred dollars for 1 day and a dozer would be a lot easier and cheaper in the long run.
    My neighbor has a Ford 2600 and was doing something he shouldn't have with his loader. Now he no longer has a functional loader. The new loader for my Ford was $4500, I know this because he just priced one. He was lucky he only destroyed his loader, if you aren't you can break the main housing of the tractor.
     
  8. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    i agree with steve and beeman. stups left to rot in a pasture bother no one. if however you absolutly must have a stump free field then a dozer or hyhoe is the answer. does not take long to damage a tracter or a person. even with 350 available horse power still use a hoe to dig out trees.price a clutch for your tractor and facter two for the size of job.
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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  10. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    NEVER use a cable to pull anything out, or over, or anything. As you pull on a cable, it stores energy that it builds up as it is pulled tight. If (more like when) it breaks, the cable will whip back towards the tractor like a giant bullwhip. Cables are for holding things in place.

    Chains or tow ropes are for pulling.
     
  11. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    All depends on the size of the cable. :p

    PS: Cables are used for pulling all sorts of things. Tower cranes, drag lines, the big ones in shipyards all use cables, they are all pulling something. Not a chain or tow rope in sight. Go down to the Panama Canal. When you want to pull the biggy's they use cables.

    Beware of getting bullwhipped by a 1/8" cable bought at Home Depot. ;)
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...................This is the very reason that I favor buying a used...Commercial tractor ...vs...a "Farm Tractor" . I had a Ford 340A and with wheel weights and 59 gallons of water\antifreeze in each wheel it weighed about 11,000 pounds . Plus most ALL small commercial tractors come WITH a Heavyduty FE loader as standard equipment . Plus , the 340A had a hi-volume Pump that was used EXclusively for the FE loader which meant it was very fast and Very Strong . ALSO , the frame is significantly Heavier than a regular farm tractor of the same equivalent size . But , you will need a trailer and diesel pickup to pull it with . fordy.. :)
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you must remove the trees with the equipment you have on hand how much value do you place on the brush cutter? If not much, you can take a torch and cut part of the back out of the cover shield. Then you can back into the tree ever so slowly and cut the tree down. You need to mount a push bar on the top of the brush cutter so that force is being applied to the tree 5 or 6 feet up to prevent the tree from falling on you and the tractor as the tree is sheared.
     
  14. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I would go with the chopped up bush hog idea, the first time you walk into a big tree with that spinning it will rattle your eyeballs out !!
    And then you out of the seat.
    I vote for a chainsaw and hire a dozer, the other choices do nothing but abuse your equipment.
     
  15. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    Way back when my grand father had to clear out a pasture they cut the trees then used dynamite to blow the stumps out of the ground. Worked great and was quite cost effective. That was back when the government trusted the proletariat with high explosives.

    I seen a tree stump worked over with a thermic lance once which was quite a show but not too practical or cost effective I imagine. A toy I would desperately love to have by the way.
     
  16. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    The best way today to get rid of them country stumps is to burn them like they did in the old days. Provided you don't got the fire power to either rip / dig them out if the trees are of decent size.

    I have been noticing those country stumps aren't quite as large as city stumps. Think it might take a small nuke weapon to blow some of these city stumps. Don't know what it is.

    A number of houses have been built and they cut down every tree in sight and dug up the stumps. Trees didn't really look that big, maybe 20 - 30". The root ball would fill a small dump truck. Hitting some city stump on steriods might be a real shocker in the wild. Must be they get a lot of extra water and grow-pup.

    In the old days, they used the small branches to build very low fires that were more like charcoal making fires than blazing fires. Took a number of days but reduced the stump to nothing but ashes even to a good depth. Some web sites still recommending this method, some add chemicals before hand.

    One of my neighbors has been trying to get rid of a wild city stump, probably working on his third year. Tried all sorts of things, cutting, drilling, chemicals, it just ain't showing any effects, puts up sucker shoots. Last fall he even tried a small fire and pretended he was bar-b-queing.

    Some things are definitely better in the country. Cutting trees down and burning out the stumps might still be the easy and cheapest way to clear land.