Green Tractor Talk banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family recently acquired 65 Acres in Copalis Crossing area in WA that was a mix of pastureland, harvested tree farm, and older growth Alder and Firs. I’m trying to decide between a 3039r, 3046r, 4044r/m, 4052r/m, and 4066r/m.

I’m not worried about the pastureland and we’re just going to be doing debris cleanup/trail building under the Alder/older Firs, my concern is the harvested tree farm area. About 30-40 acres were harvested and only about half that was replanted. It Was harvested about 10 years ago and in that time, the land wasn’t touched. Right now that land is full of massive BlackBerry brambles (yep, PNW’a favorite weed!), shrubs and saplings that are 2”ish in diameter.

I rented a small TLB from the local Home Depot (14 HP Yanmar) and it could not deal with the walls of blackberries and saplings. Hence my desire to go with a LCUT.

Throughout all of our land, we want to cut some trails as well as clear some of the overgrowth in the tree farm area so the young trees get more nutrients. The trails will be a mixture of walking as well as “Polaris sized” widths.

Enough context! My first thought is the 4 series as I think I’ll need to pull a beefy brush hog or flail mower to handle the overgrowth. But, my concern is it’ll be too wide for the trail building goals around the tree farm trees and under the existing forest areas.
Given all of that, what are peoples opinions on my selection of HP (too high? Too low?)
3 series or 4?
R level or should I explore the e/d/m trims?

Also, does anyone else from the PNW know of good auction sites or used tractor sites for our area? TractorHouse, EquipmentTrader, etc have zero tractors in the wester US.

thanks in advanced!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh, I forgot to mention, we will need to maintain a few acres of pastureland as well as clear and maintain 5 or so acres of the non replanted tree farm area, so there will be sizable maintenance going forward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,928 Posts
If you get a bigger machine, that just means your trails need to be a little wider. 20+ acres of blackberries is no fun, I'd want the largest machine I could get with the best ground clearance. My plan would be to brush hog the area, then you can either keep it mowed, or use a chemical to kill the blackberries once they send up new canes.

All of that relies on you being able to drive over the stumps that were left. If they're too high, the most expedient thing to do would be to rent a dozer.

Murphy auctions sometimes has tractors and attachments, but you never know when, so it's hard to plan around.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,043 Posts
Unless you have personal objections to the use of herbicides, I'd get the tree farm area treated with an appropriate herbicide. Your local state or national forest service office or Cooperative Extension office can help with contacts. It would be an aerial application. Cost in our area would be about $25-$35/acre depending on the mix needed and especially if the applicator can include the job with other nearby applications. The proper herbicides will do little or no damage to your planted trees but really knock the blackberry vines.

Second choice would be to rent a skid steer with a forestry head. Those will chew through vines and saplings much better than running a rotary cutter and if you happen to hit a stump there's less chance of damage. Once you get the mess cleaned up, a MCUT and rotary cutter can keep it clear. Your goal should be to get enough planted trees big enough to shade the ground so the vines don't come back. That means a few years of mowing around trees or re-application of herbicide, particularly if you need to spot plant/replant to fill in holes in the existing planting.

Third choice would be just get the tractor with a fel and an appropriate tooth bar. I have a Piranha bar that works well for what you are describing but 20 acres is a lot of back and forth. It would be fine for the trails along with a mower but the woods area would be a chore to say the least.

I think you are on target with the 4 series. If I had no choice, I could deal with it using my 790 but it's really underpowered for the task. However, you don't want to go too big because turning radius increases making it less nimble in the wooded area. I'd match the horsepower to the size of the mower you want to use. I'd figure a minimum of 6 hp/foot of cut width and a bit more is always good. Also look at the weight because once you go over a 5-6 foot cutter, there starts to be a lot of weight off the back of the tractor. You can balance that with a FEL but that loses maneuverability so then it's either front weights or having to watch both front and back for clearance through the woods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Treefarmer! Lots of good info there, the 10 year old replanted trees are almost big enough to do the shading you described, but, today the vines have grown up with them! I have an environmental scientist as a wife so attempting the no herbicide path first.

The tooth bar is a good idea. We have some stumps but the land is pretty moist 2/3rds of the year so those are pretty punky/rotten.
Maneuverability is my main concern and causes me to waver between the 3 and 4 series. But your guidance of 6hp per foot is great for me to factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,928 Posts
Thanks Treefarmer! Lots of good info there, the 10 year old replanted trees are almost big enough to do the shading you described, but, today the vines have grown up with them! I have an environmental scientist as a wife so attempting the no herbicide path first.

The tooth bar is a good idea. We have some stumps but the land is pretty moist 2/3rds of the year so those are pretty punky/rotten.
Maneuverability is my main concern and causes me to waver between the 3 and 4 series. But your guidance of 6hp per foot is great for me to factor.
I've cleared blackberries on my property with my rock bucket (it's like a whole bucket of tooth bar) and it's fine for patches, but it's going to take you weeks if not months of time in the seat to do 20 acres, especially when you figure working around stumps, rocks, terrain, etc. You'll also struggle with the tractor if the ground is wet, and the bigger machine you get, the more it's going to sink. I agree with treefarmer, a skid steer rental with a forestry head is probably the way to go, it will mulch the stumps and the vegetation, then when you get it cleared, you can better evaluate what you have and decide what tractor to get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,243 Posts
While on a much smaller scale I have been battling what I call jagger bushes for years on my 6 acres. That combined with fast growing saplings. The jagger bushes are a combination of wild blackberry, wild raspberry, and multiflora rose. They were so think even a deer couldn’t walk through most of it.

On my scale I found the tooth bar perfect. I hooked my brush hog behind me - with the tooth bar on the bucket set about 2 below grade and level I would just move forward. As the bramble became uprooted and pushed over the brush hog would chop them up.

The reason for my post for the OP is when buying your tractor think about the continued maintenance of your acreage. If you aren’t going to spray you will need to keep the area mowed for which a brush hog would be perfect.

If you don’t keep it mowed you will be back in the same situation within a few years. I mow these areas that I have cleared about every 3-4 weeks.

So you would need to choose what size brush hog you would need if you work it out this way. First rule of thumb when buying a tractor is to pick your implements first then size the tractor for those implements.

You may have other chores for your tractor to do but the same rule applies. Find which implement needs the most horsepower and/or pulling ability (weight of implement to weight of tractor) and go with that.

So depending on which size brush hog you would want would determine the size tractor.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
Coaltrain is right. You want to look into the future as best you can and determine how you’d like to keep the property maintained. It looks like you’re located out towards the coast of Washington and I would imagine brush grows at hyper speed there. You could spend a lot of time not only getting it under control, but keeping it under control.

I used to have a 790 which is just slightly smaller in size than a 3 series. It was very maneuverable in and around trees. I upgraded to a 4R and I‘ve been able to easily get it in the same places as I could the 790. It’s much more nimble than I expected it to be. The 4R loader can pick up things I couldn’t even budge with the 790 loader.

As for implements, I kept everything I had for the 790 iMatch which were mostly 5’ wide, except pull implements that were wider like discs and cultivators. Now I wish they were 6‘ or 7’ to get things done faster but it’s not worth the cost to change them out now. There’s nothing worse than realizing after a couple years that you bought too small of a tractor and implements to do the jobs you need done.

I only have 8 acres, 5 in a hayfield and 3 as a yard in an oak grove. The 4R is a perfect size for our needs. At 65 acres, if you’re going to maintain it all, you might want to consider a 5 series. 🤷‍♂️
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
If you have 15-20 acres of harvested forest that wasn't replanted, that is your biggest job cleaning up. There could easily be four thousand or more stumps. You need grading equipment. As mentioned early, a skid steer with a deforester head will do the job, but a dozer will be much faster. I am no estimator, but using a skid steer to grind up 15-20 acres could take months... a dozer could take less than a month.

This is serious clearing and grading work, think construction site. And an enormous amount of debris to get rid of, can you burn?

I am not familiar with the Pacific Northwest, but based on my knowledge of what we have here in the Southeast... you have a serious project on your hands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,043 Posts
If you have 15-20 acres of harvested forest that wasn't replanted, that is your biggest job cleaning up. There could easily be four thousand or more stumps. You need grading equipment. As mentioned early, a skid steer with a deforester head will do the job, but a dozer will be much faster. I am no estimator, but using a skid steer to grind up 15-20 acres could take months... a dozer could take less than a month.

This is serious clearing and grading work, think construction site. And an enormous amount of debris to get rid of, can you burn?

I am not familiar with the Pacific Northwest, but based on my knowledge of what we have here in the Southeast... you have a serious project on your hands.
We did about 4-5 acres with a skid steer in a week. It was a very long week but a week. Many of the trees were 4-5 inches in diameter wild cherry which were slow to grind down. A 2" went quick, 3" not much problem but after that it took a light touch on the hydraulic or you killed the rotor speed. Vines and small brush could be basically just driven through leaving a mulch field behind.

A dozer would be faster but only if you're an experienced operator. If you are like me, you run the risk of piling up piles of dirt along with the stuff you want to get rid of. A good operator won't do that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
229 Posts
I am a big fan of flail mowers, having used them to chop up orchard prunings in the Sacramento Valley (all the orchardists use ‘em) and for the last 5 years turning blackberries into dust here in the PNW. A grapple for me was essential — using it as a root rake to pull berries out by the roots, moving to a line on flat ground and flailing through the pile. I’ve also used our flail to back up a moderate hill and flailing back down — in 4wd of course.

Everyone on this forum has different favorite tools, and I continue to learn and change practices as I learn of a better approach.

I typically don’t voice strong opinions but in this case: alders! A great tree for firewood, incredible for bird and bug habitat, and very dangerous when they fall. And if you have large evergreens that are shading out your alders, they will die and fall. We removed many of our alders for these reasons, leaving still many in strategic locations. Just not anywhere near our trails where we and our kids and grandkids walk about.

I’m very happy with our 3046R for managing our 20 acres, having upgraded last year from a 27 hp Kubota. Heed advice on GTT about ballast and stability. I took such advice in deciding to get a Heavy Hitch and widen the rear tire footprint. Also research which kind of tires to get, no matter which tractor you get. Again, lots of great GTT advice on this. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Treefarmer

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
just came across this, it may help.


Seppi PTO Forestry Mulcher. They get big, looking at their website a 4 Series is probably only going to run the smallest model.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,928 Posts
just came across this, it may help.


Seppi PTO Forestry Mulcher. They get big, looking at their website a 4 Series is probably only going to run the smallest model.
Man, working 20 acres backwards would not be on my list of things I'd ever want to do. Definitely an option though
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I bought a 4044R and a Rhino flexwing TS10 to maintain our 62 acres of neglected pasture. We have a lot of honey locust trees trying to take over that are as large as 2"-3" in diameter. I was able to cover a little over 50 acres of mixed weeds, grass, bushes, and young trees with this combo and am pretty happy with how it handled it. Our long term plan is to rotationally graze goats, sheep, and cows so my need to use the tractor to manage the weeds will diminish over time.

A few random things I have learned about this tractor and cutter:

We have some 8' gates that the 4044r can get through with enough clearance, anything narrower would be a problem.
Fluid filled tires are a must if your going to use the loader for anything. 3pt blast will not be enough.
Slightly dulled blades on the TS10 break off the small tree trucks rather than cutting them leaving them less likely strong enough to pop a tire on the tractor or ATV's.
A 4 series with fluid filled tires is heavy enough to rut a field if it is too wet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
229 Posts
Man, working 20 acres backwards would not be on my list of things I'd ever want to do. Definitely an option though
That is a cool piece of machinery! Agree with you that working backwards for any amount of acreage would be a real pain. For the OP: see if for the worst areas of the property you could hire someone with the right equipment to “mulch”. In the long run that might be cost-effective.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
229 Posts
Also check out WSU’s forest management / forest stewardship programs and resources. We took the inexpensive forest stewardship course a few years ago, developed an approved property-specific forest management plan, got a lot of great advice and ideas, and it continues to guide our actions. A great resource that is supported by our taxes here in Washington.

 
  • Like
Reactions: The Satch

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry everyone for the long reply. Summer time with a kid kind of distracts you.

All the advice here is great and I appreciate the advice. Having walked what I could around the property, I think for us it'll be selective clearing, but if there are large swaths, then I'll rent a forestry mulcher or hire "Charlies Excavation" to clear the land. Our primary goal in the near term is to develop some trails to the river and clear strategic areas around those trails. After hearing everyone's suggestions, I've decided to go with a 4052r as it seems like the right balance of power and access to more reasonable implements than the 4066r. I'm passing on the 3046r due to the suggestions here and looking at the mountains of dirt I want to move around the yard (we had a septic tank installed with a mound style leach field, I told the septic company to just leave the extra dirt/sand). I see us having to move dirt around to raise trail elevations through the wet areas that show up in the winter.

@JDLTG I definitely appreciate your comments about your experience with the nimbleness of the 4 series vs the 790. That's lessoned my concerns.

I will definitely be looking into a tooth bar as well! That seems like a very reasonable purchase that could help out dramatically with the style of brush/saplings we have.

I've decided to go with the MX6 for the brushhog. I figured the tougher material will be valuable for me in the long run and the size would make a very reasonable trail. It will make maintaining the pastureland a bit slower, but my wife, my daughter, and myself find that work to be meditative :)

Again, HUGE thank you for all the comments/suggestions! Now to track down a trailer so I can pick up the tractor...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
Congratulation! You’ll be very happy with the 4052R. I nearly bought the 52 as it was only $2500 more than my 4044R, but I’ve not been disappointed in anything the 44 will do for us.

Good luck with the trailer. Hopefully a friend has one or you can rent one with the GVWR it takes to haul the 4 series. Mine is an open station and with all 4 R4’s filled with Rimguard and the loader is pushing 6000 lbs. I ordered a 10K GVRW trailer in May of 2020. It just came in 2 weeks ago. The dealer delivered my tractor originally, but I had to pay $100 for them to pick it up and bring it back for a minor warranty issue and they’re only 15 miles away.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stevo3556

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,738 Posts
A little late to the party but if you want fast clearing you’ll want a dozer and or an excavator with a thumb. These PNW summers don’t last very long so I’d make hay while the sun shines. It’s doable with a tractor but it’ll take longer. Look for areas that you can access now while it’s dry and leave the rest for the wet months. Alders, blackberries etc. there’s going to be some healthy black dirt where they are growing in so you’re not going to have access with a tractor in the wet. Gets real mushy if you know what I mean. This is where a tracked machine comes in. Take your time and plan it out. While it’s summer, start blazing trails with your new tractor and see where it goes from there. Good luck

BTW you’re near some of the best fishing in the NW there at Copalis Crossing. Nice area
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top