Using a tractor to build trails

downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
Hi All,

I am trying to justify to myself buying a tractor. To be honest our 10 acres doesn't actually need that much work that I need a tractor but I thinkit would be really handy and I am thinking I could use it to build some trails much faster than my feeble arms can manage! So am I kidding myself, probably will struggle to justify backhoe attachment initially unless a good deal falls in my lap. I am thinking a little 20hp job, will need 4wd as property is steep!

I can of course use the tractor for such lame stuff as cutting grass and fire breaks and that will help with the justification.
 

rockmoose

Eats Squid
20hp won't dig a sand pit. Look for a nice little unit with 45-50 and you can start using proper implements. Research some of the implements you dream of having first, so you will know how much hydraulic power you will need from your tractor.

Sent from my SM-A205YN using Tapatalk
 

silentbutdeadly

Eats Squid
We've got a MF65 tractor with a slasher and a blade... there's no way in hell I'd try and build a trail with it.

Nor would I try it with a mini excavator...given how much of a mess I made in a paddock with one.

My trail building plan is to go simple and light at first in making a trail. Form it up on the ground and then figure out where the points are that you will need machinery and what machinery you might need.

Then hire it. I can get a Kanga for around $200/day (and I know how to use one) and a Bobcat for $320. Wet hire for a Bobcat is $80/h with a minimum 3 hour hire. And you plan to make the best use of the time.

A decent 45hp plus 4x4 tractor with a loader and bucket will set you back from mid to high $20k from new and they are bloody hard to find used...
 

downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
We've got a MF65 tractor with a slasher and a blade... there's no way in hell I'd try and build a trail with it.

Nor would I try it with a mini excavator...given how much of a mess I made in a paddock with one.

My trail building plan is to go simple and light at first in making a trail. Form it up on the ground and then figure out where the points are that you will need machinery and what machinery you might need.

Then hire it. I can get a Kanga for around $200/day (and I know how to use one) and a Bobcat for $320. Wet hire for a Bobcat is $80/h with a minimum 3 hour hire. And you plan to make the best use of the time.

A decent 45hp plus 4x4 tractor with a loader and bucket will set you back from mid to high $20k from new and they are bloody hard to find used...
Sensible measured reasons why I shouldn't get one, you're no help at all!

A mate of mine down the road has a 4.5T excavator which I enjoyed messing about on and a tractor without a bucket which was unhelpful in determining it's usefulness.

Yes your plan is a sensible one.. I was hoping for less sensible advice...
 

Dales Cannon

Cur non isti mictum ex occasione?
Staff member
I have a 23.5hp Kubota 4wd (front wheel assist if you are being a pedant as the wheels are different diameters) with belly mower and 4in1 bucket. I also have a few bits to put on the back. Box blade with rippers, single deep ripper, carry all, 50L spray rig, jib and dozer blade. It has done a power of work and has saved me much more than it cost.

For trail building it is a big it depends. On turf tyres it is much less capable than ag tyred as you would expect but ag tyres tear up the grass badly.

Cousin has a 35hp Iseki which is comfortably 2x more capable. But was $35k not 20 odd.

Avoid the little tractors with backhoe attachments. Not worth the effort. Similarly make sure you get a 4in1 bucket and not just a basic bucket.

The standard of work you get is up to you, the bucket move an incredible amount of gear and is useful for picking up and carrying dead branches etc. Hell I use mine to hold branches to cut with the chainsaw. Once you have a tractor you will always find jobs for it!



It has done a power of work and has saved me much more than it cost

The compacts tend to hold value very well, I sold my first for more than I paid for it. Maybe though, you would be better off with an old skid steer loader.
 
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downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
I have a 23.5hp Kubota 4wd (front wheel assist if you are being a pedant as the wheels are different diameters) with belly mower and 4in1 bucket. I also have a few bits to put on the back. Box blade with rippers, single deep ripper, carry all, 50L spray rig, jib and dozer blade. It has done a power of work and has saved me much more than it cost.

For trail building it is a big it depends. On turf tyres it is much less capable than ag tyred as you would expect but ag tyres tear up the grass badly.

Cousin has a 35hp Iseki which is comfortably 2x more capable. But was $35k not 20 odd.

Avoid the little tractors with backhoe attachments. Not worth the effort. Similarly make sure you get a 4in1 bucket and not just a basic bucket.

The standard of work you get is up to you, the bucket move an incredible amount of gear and is useful for picking up and carrying dead branches etc. Hell I use mine to hold branches to cut with the chainsaw. Once you have a tractor you will always find jobs for it!



It has done a power of work and has saved me much more than it cost

The compacts tend to hold value very well, I sold my first for more than I paid for it. Maybe though, you would be better off with an old skid steer loader.
Cheers, yes if it was just for trails a bobcat would do the job well but I would actually use the tractor for general stuff, slashing/ fire breaks etc, I have only a small patch of turf that a tractor can't get to anyway :)
 

Dales Cannon

Cur non isti mictum ex occasione?
Staff member
If you have never driven one before heed the various warnings about rollovers. Travel with the bucket as low to the ground as possible, especially if it is full. Do travel across hills etc unless the bucket is down empty or full. Always have a counterweight on the back, even my little tractor needs 200kg ish minimum if you are working even 50% capacity. Wear the seatbelt if you are on uneven ground and always have the rops in place. Make sure you are running the correct tyre pressures. Run water too or weights depending on the recommendations. I have had mine on 3 wheels a few times and it takes your mind off sex for a few seconds.
 

link1896

Is not a gynaecologist but will look at your fork
I was browsing Massey Ferguson tractors on gumtree, as you do late at night.

Found one of my deceased grandfathers tractors for sale. The farm was split up 15 years ago now.

Don’t listen to Dales advice. Live on the edge. A full wet round bale on the rear spikes, uphill, through a gate in the mud on two wheels is living.

But a big MF tractor with a bucket in a bush paddock trying to make mtb tracks, no way.


 

Stredda

Runs naked through virgin scrub
I grew up with a little Kubota B100 tractor that we used to make a small MX track. We only had a grader blade so it was slow work, a front end loader would have made building any berms and jumps easier. Also the small tractors don't have much weight so struggle with traction when pulling a blade.
If you are really serious about building trail an excavator around the 2t size would be the go but a mini tractor would certainly be faster than by hand and you can use it for all the boring things like slashing and the like. You could also do a lot of the clearing work and get the alignment in with the tractor and just hire an excavator for a weekend or two to do all the shaping.
Ah bugger it, it's not my money just buy both! :p
 

Ackland

Eats Squid
1.5t excavator is the trail building industry standard for a reason.

If building your own network, you'll develop better skills doing the main corridor clearing and finding natural features by hand and hiring an excavator to do the bigger shapes.

You still need to do a lot of finishing work afterwards unless you have magical dirt and/or are really clean with your bucket work (recommend a 4 way articulated head)
 

caad9

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Mow a line through, tape it wide and let it slide. No excavator needed.

We've managed to rake in a few new lines within our 5km radius and now have more technical trails, albeit short, than any of our local trail network
 

moorey

with a big stick
Mow a line through, tape it wide and let it slide. No excavator needed.

We've managed to rake in a few new lines within our 5km radius and now have more technical trails, albeit short, than any of our local trail network
Very much depends on your terrain and climate though. If I just do that here, all the corners turn into mud fests in the wet and are quickly munted. I had to scrape 4-5” of decomposed organic matter, down to clay, and ensure that it drains well.
I used the blade on my mates Kubota to scrape most of it off then tweak from there. I left flat corner rather than berming everything, partly to save work, partly coz flat corners are fun.
 

downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
You know that we will now expect a Seth "Berm Peak" like Youtube channel to be created so we can follow the build. Maybe that could fund the new tractor ;)
Ha ha I wish I had the time to do enough building to make it interesting, not painfully slow, which is what it would be!
 
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