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To dozer or not to dozer

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by widows, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. widows

    widows Member

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    I recently purchased a 1000 acres in Africa to grow corn. As of now it is bushy with thousands of 12"to18" caliber root balls with multiple 4" trees per root. I was thinking about a dozer but what a mess that could make and I also thought about a chain loader but someone recently told me they thought a skidsteer with a grubber to pop the roots out. Skids would be a lot cheaper to ship but will they do the job. We have lots of labor on the ground but if anyone has ideas about the best machine I would appreciate the advice. For the most part we will burn the piles we create. Thank you
     
  2. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . I have cleared many thousands of acres ready for the plow and cannot understand your concern about making a mess with a dozer.

    On a job such as yours we would chain it with a couple of dozers, rake it with 30 foot wide stick-rakes, undercut the roots with a cutter-bar then clean up with a pin wheel . . . and, looking around the internet there are quite a few contractors in different parts of Africa doing it like that.

    Below are a few links to sites that may be of interest

    http://www.savannahglobal.com/500_series.html

    http://www.homan.com.au/Stickrakes/Stickrakes.html

    http://www.savannahequipment.com.au/HTMLEmail/BladePlow.html

    http://www.multifarmingsystems.com.au/rake.php

    All the best with your project.

    Cheers.
     
  3. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forums widows!:drinkup

    You have an interesting project, keep us posted. I was going to suggest Scrub would be the one to give the best advice on this subject but he already chimed in.;)

    I couldn't imagine clearing 1000 acres with a skid steer, by the time you finished we'll be growing something other than corn or eating those "food pills" we saw in the 80's science fiction movies..
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  4. widows

    widows Member

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    Thank you both for your response. It sounds like I need to sit down with Scrub and learn. We can actual clear 10 acres a day with our crew, negating the stumps. That's why I was thinking about a skid to simply uproot stumps. Planting season is next march so we have some time and to buy and transport Dozers is very costly. I'm all ears and may need to chat with Scrub over a beer but I just saw where your located and decided that would be a very expensive beer.
     
  5. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . windows. It sounds an interesting project and lots of folks on here will be able to offer suggestions and ideas.

    What equipment are you using to achieve the ten acres per day? That is a considerable achievement but a lot of work remains if you have yet to deal with stumps.

    I spent a few seasons clearing peanut country in PNG with a little Massey dozer so, quite apart from the large scale machine based operations I have some concept of many human hands making light work. (he grins)

    As always, a picture is better than a thousand words and it would be interesting to see the type of country and your progress to date

    Details of soil types, your proposed tillage depths, and machinery you intend to use for cultivation would be of interest and would probably get some responses from the farming people who contribute to this site.

    Please keep the thread rolling as you will find a wealth of knowledge here from all around the world.

    It's a shame the tyranny of distance forces a rain check on that beer. (he grins again)

    Cheers.
     
  6. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    There ya go Scrub Puller.... That job is just a plane ticket away and you would be back in action mate:D Thats interesting and quite a project widows. Heard a little about US farmers investing in land overseas & sounds like it may be a good investment in the future as populations grow and we all need to eat.:) Found this article in http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/issues/learning-hard-way-farming-africa

    http://africaatlantic.com/leadership/kristopher-klokkenga/

    http://africaatlantic.com/farming/

    I favor a dozer & K/G blade for most clearing jobs. Also use an excavator and skidloader at times. I work mostly by myself and it sounds like you have alot of help as far as hand labor goes. I realy dont know what to tell ya? If its just smaller stumps now and then scattered apart over a large area and your crew is clearing 10 acres a day of the small brush and given it's a remote area I might go with a 4 x 4 rubber tire loader- backhoe with foam filled tires to eliminate flat tires. Could dig out stumps & move pretty quick to the next one plus use the loader to push up piles . :beatsme good luck with the project .
     
  7. Oxbow

    Oxbow Senior Member

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    I was just thinking that if you can utilize some of the equipment that you will need for farming anyway that perhaps attachments for the farm tractors may be viable, although not as quick as what Scrub suggested.
     
  8. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . Oxbow. That's exactly what I was thinking when I asked the O/P about the equipment he intended to farm with.

    On virgin country for the first few crops tines probably won't be an option and perhaps for initial workings (say) off-sets and a D7 sized dozer may be appropriate . . . depending on the country that size tractor would probably be very suitable for stacking brush and ripping stumps. It could be sold and replaced with rubber when the development phase is complete.

    Everyone has their own ideas about how to do a given job and no single way is "right". Depth of pockets govern many of our decisions. Sometimes though it's a mistake "not to use enough gun" as Robert Ruark would say. If the O/P were to miss out on planting acreage next season because of inadequate machinery or methods it could cost him dearly . . . a fact of which I think he is very much aware.

    Cheers.
     
  9. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    Found a few more articles on farming in Africa. I'm guessing the first picture on this page might be an example of what the ground looks like. Left side of the road cleared & right side with trees. www.npr.org/2012/06/15/155095598/african-land-fertile-ground-for-crops-and-investors

    Second article Farmer Wallie Hardie tells his story of the endeavor. He mentions clearing costs around $1,200 acre and as widows said shipping equipment & supplys can be a problem as it's pretty remote .

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/12/27/business/midwest-farmers-operations-africa
     
  10. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . looks like not a lot has changed and this link may be of interest to you widows.

    These blokes are operating using the same methods we were fifty years ago . . . .

    http://www.smops.co.mz/en/

    It is pretty informative site and worth sitting down for a few minutes to enjoy the slide-show . . . it's the first time for many years I've seen the use of chain.

    The country in the promos and on td25c's links has me drooling. You can work that stuff 24/7 and for chaining I reckon you could work on near fifty acres an hour with a couple of D9g equivalents.

    Back in the seventies' we were on fifty dollars an hour for the Gees and most of that light country worked out around a couple of bucks an acre to get it on the ground,

    The same tractors with adequate rakes should stack between six and ten acres hour and pretty much the same for root plough or heavy discing. . . depends a lot on soil and moisture.

    The prices would go up as tractor size came down and I reckon that outfit working out of Maputo have got their equipment sussed . . . D9 sized rigs with bad roads and bridges would be a pain to shift around.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  11. ValleyFirewood

    ValleyFirewood Senior Member

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    $1200 an acre, but if they sold the wood as firewood I bet it would be a profit.

    Must have a big crew to do 10 acres a day, WOW!

    One of my friends does land clearing and 10 acres would be several days to a week of work all depending on how think it's wooded. That's with tree harvester, skidder, etc. 1-2 guys.
     
  12. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

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    What are you doing with the current trees your clearing? Burning? Your going to have hell trying to burn a bunch of root balls by themselves, because of the dirt mixed with them.
     
  13. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . Dozerboy. I was thinking the same thing. If the O/P has cleared country by chopping and burning he may have a bit of an issue with stumps left in the ground.

    Having said that, with decent sized floating stick rakes it is no big deal to muster up stumps and, if necessary rattle them a quarter mile.

    In general though I imagine the African timber would be much the same as here in Australia and root ball dirt is seldom a problem . . . or not at all a problem in that small timber savannah country.

    If possible I like to work the piles or windrows hot and flaming and the heat and rolling and tumbling in front of a thirty foot rake flat out in second gear soon gets rid of dirt.

    If the heaps go cold it is no big deal as there is usually a bit of hot stuff in there that will brew up with the stoking.

    If you have a minute check out the link I posted up thread on Homan stick rakes. That style of rake is worked floating on the surface and you can imagine the amount of burning timber you can drift along with that.

    It is a very interesting sight to see a large tractor working hot fires at night.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  14. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    Yes Scrub Smops looks more than capable of handling any land clearing job www.smops.co.mz/en/

    I can only guess that in this thread they may be employing minimum or No-Till farming techniques so smaller roots left in the ground may not be an issue. It sounds like they are just conserned with getting the bigger root balls out & to the burnpile. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-till_farming Dont know? Just my guess .:beatsme

    Did find this interesting website... Gives allot of info on land management overall with a section on land clearing ideas & equipment from chaining on down to hand tools listing links to manufacturers http://reveg-catalog.tamu.edu/04-Mechanical.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  15. 8k bill

    8k bill Well-Known Member

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    Hey scrub I don't about fifty years ago but that's the same method we use today. True and tried methods always work.when we got stuck into virgin country we,d prob chain it first or if it,s got scattered big trees would pop them out with dozer. Rake into windrows and burn. Pedrick rake what's left and blade plow. Knock it down with a set of offsets and put ac tyne ripper or root lifting ripper thru it .Then runover it with three point linkage harrows windowing roots and sticks and you pretty much got 90 percent of the timber.:tong
     
  16. widows

    widows Member

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    Widows back. We lost a good friend, one in a million man so we just buried him. I want to send this email to you first and then go back and look at all the links that many of you sent. Let me answer a few questions asked. We employ 100 men a day in groups of 10. Each group can take an acre of bush out, nothing else. We pay each man $5.00 a day and we could employ 100 more as they wait in line for a job. So 10 acres cost us $500.00 just to remove the trees ready to burn. Fuel here is $7.00 a gallon so hauling wood to Kampala would not be profitable. A few areas I dug had 18" of top soil and there are two growing seasons. The dirt is red and digs like butter. Let me figure out how to send some pictures later. Some suggested using the farm equipment that we will eventually need and we agree. You can rent a Cat dozer d6 brand new here for 15k a month and a chain loader for 9k a month. If we continue just with our Manuel laborers we could take the bush out in 16 weeks or four months. Our seed needs to be in the ground late March early April but honestly we'd be happy if we got 200 acres planted by that time just for a test run. Our next plant starts July/aug. so we have some time. We have not selected our cultivating machinery yet but it will be limited, as Scrub said, to the depth of pocket. My ag guy, a native Ugandan, said that they don't care about anything deeper than 6" so it doesn't appear that we are pulling everything out of the ground just stumps....14-20 inch stumps. That's why we were thinking skids with grabbers and just pop a stump out every 5 min or less. Skids could be put into containers but dozers and farm equipment have to be placed on skids and tax issues etc... Thanks.
     
  17. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . 8k bill. So true what you say. The machinery changes but trees and dirt remain constant . . . there is not much point in reinventing the wheel.

    I hope the O/P continues with this thread as it would be interesting to see how his project evolves.

    Cheers.
     
  18. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend widows.

    Thats pretty much how I envisioned the job with a large crew cutting the small brush stacking & burning it. Clearing 10 acres a day at $500 with the 100 man crew may be the best way to go under the circumstance. I'll probably stick with my first thought of using a rubber tire backhoe on the stumps plus be handy on other utility tasks later on.Probably have to remove rops cab & possibly front bucket to fit it in the container. Small dozer would also fit in a shipping container . Found this JD 550 highlift combo at www.machinerytrader.com/listingsdetail/detail.aspx?OHID=9582167 Those riggs were popular at one time in my area & got the job done. Interesting project widows & Best of luck with it.
     
  19. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . Woops don't know what happened there, my #17 post didn't go up when intended . . . it was a reply to the #15 post.

    Pleased to see you back widows. My condolences for the loss of your friend and colleague.

    Your operation sounds not unlike the PNG job I mentioned where we had many hands chopping and stacking and I ripped the large stumps with the MF dozer.

    After clearing the land was ploughed with two and three furrow linkage disk ploughs on MF 35's and 65's . . . the tractors were leased to local villagers to contract grow the peanuts, it ended up quite a large operation with fifty or sixty tractors.

    I think td25c offers good advise. I believe for this sort of duty a small dozer would be more effective than a skid.

    Having said that there are several threads on here where folks have equipped bobcats and so on for grubbing mesquite so some of them may chime in with their thoughts.

    As mentioned please keep us all posted as this is an interesting thread.

    Cheers
     
  20. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    I don 't know the local trees or soil, but are you sure a grapple on a skidsteer will just pop a 14-20" stump out of the ground?!

    They definitely wouldn't here, you'd have to do a bit of digging. Most of the 14-20" stumps here would take a bite or two of soil loosening to pull them with a 20 ton trackhoe.