I worked on a farm road yesterday. While it's a lengthy road, that's not a problem. The problem is a section of it has a fairly steep grade going through woods and it was cut through hillsides so water tends to funnel into the road.
I had rolling dips and water bars put in the road a few years ago and those have made a big difference but periodically have to be maintained, which is mostly what I was doing yesterday with my JD790 loader and rear blade. Some significant ruts had also developed over the winter and those needed regrading.
So, in some sort of organized fashion I took the rear blade and set it to move stuff to the outside with little cutting action. That let me get leaves and debris off the side of the road because from experience, I know that you can't get a decent grade with organic matter in the way.
Then I would push out the exit ditch from the water bar or rolling dip. Some of those are a bit dicey as they have trees on both sides and exit into a steep bank. Roots also come into play so frankly, I was doing things with the 790 that are on the edge of what should be done. Just to make matters more interesting, I"m using a rear blade that's designed for a bigger tractor so if I set the top link so the cutting edge cuts, I've got little ground clearance.
Once the debris was off the road and the ditches cleared, I would rebuild the crown so that water would flow off the road.
Finally, some of the waterbars had gotten degraded by trucks and farm machinery so I tried to rebuild those with a combination of crushed rock and the dirt/soil that was coming out of the ditches.
While I was mostly successful in the areas I worked yesterday I asked myself a few times- "Self, why are you doing this with a 30 hp tractor with less than stellar hydraulics when you should be using a tracked skid steer with a six way blade?". The only answer I could come up with was a lack of .
If money was plentiful, said skid steer would definitely be on site with six way blade, bucket, grapple and maybe even a land leveler/plane. I don't see that happening in the near future but maybe a short term rental the next time I have to do this. Tracks would be nice both for traction and to make it easier to hold a grade.
While I've run a skid steer some, I know there are folks on here with lots of experience. Have any of you used one to build or maintain a farm road with significant grade? What size?
Except for the steepest sections the road is about 20' wide so getting a crown takes multiple passes with the 790 and the blade I can pull with that. A wide blade would be very helpful in those areas but too wide to clean out the ditches. In some cases, I only had a few inches of clearance on the 5' loader bucket.
Maybe I'm just thinking the skid steer is better than the reality so if anyone has used one for this purpose, I'd appreciate your comments.