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Cost for tractor 'dirt work" plus a little clearing in the South

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Cost for tractor 'dirt work" plus a little clearing in the South

Old 01-09-2019, 01:06 PM
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Default Cost for tractor 'dirt work" plus a little clearing in the South

Just purchased 2.5 acres and need to drain , clear , grade about .5 acres of it. The parcel is level and the trees (maybe 10) are small (less than 15' tall). It is currently holding water but can but there is an adjacent ditch that runs the length of the property so I am thinking that should be pretty easy. This is in Texas and the soil is typical coastal gumbo/clay mud. I just want pasture land finish quality. So to my question - what should I expect to pay to have a dirt work guy do this?
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:13 PM
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$60-$100 per hour.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:14 PM
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A small dozer may work better. Breaking up gumbo is a slow go with a tractor. A box blade won't hardly touch it.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:15 PM
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I pay $35/hr tractor

$100 forestry mulcher

When they work they use two tractors so $70 hr combined but these guys dont mess around. They knock it out and on to the next one.

that is in ms mostly red clay fwiw
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
I pay $35/hr tractor

$100 forestry mulcher

When they work they use two tractors so $70 hr combined but these guys dont mess around. They knock it out and on to the next one.

that is in ms mostly red clay fwiw
That's a great deal.
As a former owner/operator of a forestry mulching machine- Breaking even at that # would have been a stretch. .
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:48 PM
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Thanks gents
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DVR View Post
That's a great deal.
As a former owner/operator of a forestry mulching machine- Breaking even at that # would have been a stretch. .
Its closer to $150/ hour, 8-10 hour minimum, plus travel time, depending on how much you have to do. 2 acres is either a couple hours or a couple days depending on how bad it is. If its very wet, where an operator needs to worry about being stuck, you might get a better deal by doing what you can to drain it first.

Be very aware though, if it's holding water, it could be a wetland, and thus protected, and you may not be able to drain it without mitigating it somewhere else.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeeBooshay View Post
Its closer to $150/ hour, 8-10 hour minimum, plus travel time, depending on how much you have to do. 2 acres is either a couple hours or a couple days depending on how bad it is. If its very wet, where an operator needs to worry about being stuck, you might get a better deal by doing what you can to drain it first.

Be very aware though, if it's holding water, it could be a wetland, and thus protected, and you may not be able to drain it without mitigating it somewhere else.
One thing to add on the wetland designation. If it isnít currently designated as such, and you have no major permitting obsticals, hit it hard and fast if it is remotely possible somebody close by might get butt hurt over what your doing. Last thing you want to do is be poking around cheap and slow and have the local self designated green peace officer roll up on you and make a stink with the county. Now if it is already designated, get your plan together and approved ahead of time.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:18 PM
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seems like i remember some years ago paying $110 @hr for a good size dozer to clean a fence line in Tx
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeeBooshay View Post
Its closer to $150/ hour, 8-10 hour minimum, plus travel time, depending on how much you have to do. 2 acres is either a couple hours or a couple days depending on how bad it is. If its very wet, where an operator needs to worry about being stuck, you might get a better deal by doing what you can to drain it first.

Be very aware though, if it's holding water, it could be a wetland, and thus protected, and you may not be able to drain it without mitigating it somewhere else.
Ditto the wetlands problem; when we were looking for farm land in the Brooksville FL area almost every farm had a section or more of wetlands which made the land unusable for our needs. Fortunately the farm we bought had no wetlands designated.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DVR View Post
That's a great deal.
As a former owner/operator of a forestry mulching machine- Breaking even at that # would have been a stretch. .
was thinking the same thing. Last time I checked Blanchard was the only one renting them, and they were well in excess of $1,000/day, and they was with credentials. Good friend runs a pair of pressurized cab Kubota SVL95ís with Fecon heads on them, and wonít even quote on time. Just quotes scope of the job all inclusive. He considers his cost all in to be a bit over $100/operating hour taking into account daily head maintenance. I honestly think that is cheap.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:39 PM
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$35 wont even cover labor cost and burden. $100 min a hr with a 8 hr min. Plus mobilization. And that’s for a skid steer size machine, anything bigger goes to double per hr quickly.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:42 PM
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We charged like this.

Dozer.....80 per hour
Drive time to get Dozer there...45 per hour
Operator.....50 per hour, so Dozer with operator 130 per hour
Stand by for driver when not operating Dozer....45 per hour

Might as well just pay for the operator because he will save the money over the cheaper driver standby time.
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:51 PM
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To add to what I previously stated:

Forestry mulcher was $100 hr 4 hr min within hour drive of his place.

That was for a med size Kubota w cab ac etc mulcher was 5-6 ft wide.

What he did for $400 I had another guy quote at $1600 so shop around.

I use him a couple times a year (I sold my own tractor etc bc he is so reasonable).

He looks after my place when I'm not around also.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:17 AM
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Standing water usually means excavator. For the real tough wet jobs we try to do in July- August. Local prices here are 125-150 hr plus mobilization. Comments above about going slow and obvious are very true. Only takes one asshat to set you back with a lot of extra time, money and aggravation. Pictures without giving exact locations would certainly help with recommendations.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ono loco View Post
Just purchased 2.5 acres and need to drain , clear , grade about .5 acres of it. The parcel is level and the trees (maybe 10) are small (less than 15' tall). It is currently holding water but can but there is an adjacent ditch that runs the length of the property so I am thinking that should be pretty easy. This is in Texas and the soil is typical coastal gumbo/clay mud. I just want pasture land finish quality. So to my question - what should I expect to pay to have a dirt work guy do this?

Small jobs, they may give a quote for the whole job, but the ballpark figure of $100/hr is reasonable.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:44 AM
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Thanks again. The back corner is just rutted up bad and thatís what is holding the water. We have had a ton of rain in the last few months so that hasnít helped. I think some of you are right - currently itís probably dozer work. A tractor would get buried.

Last edited by ono loco; 01-10-2019 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:51 AM
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Smaller jobs can typically be handled by a large track skid steer. Much of the work that used to be done by small dozers has moved that direction, as they are much faster and versatile. As far as clearing goes, your results will be much cleaner if done with a forestry mulcher vs a dozer pushing everything up into burn piles. Also leaves a thin layer of mulch behind that avoids having any runoff issues. Unless you are converting to lawn/pasture and need it to be root raked out, mulching will likely be cheaper/faster.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
I pay $35/hr tractor

$100 forestry mulcher

When they work they use two tractors so $70 hr combined but these guys dont mess around. They knock it out and on to the next one.

that is in ms mostly red clay fwiw
Send this guy to Charleston.....I'll make a small mint off of him
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
I pay $35/hr tractor

$100 forestry mulcher

When they work they use two tractors so $70 hr combined but these guys dont mess around. They knock it out and on to the next one.

that is in ms mostly red clay fwiw

I am going to need a mulcher this spring. Lemme know who you use at $100/hour. I got quotes anywhere from 140-160.
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