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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellas,

I own a 60-acre woodlot that I intend to make trails into, over the next few years. The forest soil is rocky, and the rocks tend to be quite sharp...

I am considering buying a loader-backhoe to clear about 2 miles of new trails, and improve existing ones.

My first choice would be a Case 580, considering its popularity and availability of parts.

But I get worried about the slashing and puncturing that sharp rocks will do to the rubber tires.

So, an alternative would be a Deere 450 crawler loader-backhoe.
Tracks can't be punctured, but they need more maintenance...

In the long run, which choice will bring the least operating cost?

Any comments are welcome!
 

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Hi fellas,

I own a 60-acre woodlot that I intend to make trails into, over the next few years. The forest soil is rocky, and the rocks tend to be quite sharp...

I am considering buying a loader-backhoe to clear about 2 miles of new trails, and improve existing ones.

My first choice would be a Case 580, considering its popularity and availability of parts.

But I get worried about the slashing and puncturing that sharp rocks will do to the rubber tires.

So, an alternative would be a Deere 450 crawler loader-backhoe.
Tracks can't be punctured, but they need more maintenance...

In the long run, which choice will bring the least operating cost?

Any comments are welcome!
Your best bet in my opinion would be a mini-excavator 10,000-14,000lb range depending. With a thumb, a few buckets and a knock down blade, you will outperform both the dozer and the backhoe.
 

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Captain California
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In my experience/opinion, the JD 450 would be way more versatile, assuming it has the removable backhoe.

The downside would be the beating that you (the operator) will have endure when traveling across the rocks, compared to a rubber tire hoe.

The crawler can't be beat for grading roads or trails, as it won't lean and bob like the rubber tire will.
 

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Hi fellas,

I own a 60-acre woodlot that I intend to make trails into...
I am considering buying a loader-backhoe to clear new trails, and improve existing ones.

Any comments are welcome!
Hire a contractor - you can start using the trails in March.
 

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I personally would lean tword the 450 if your thinking maintance on it depending on the rock think of the cost of tires you could go through imo.
 

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Vagitarian
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A crawler loader with a 4-1 bucket and a backhoe attachment would be ideal, but they are hard to come buy and are not cheap.

IMO a TLB is the morst versatile piece of equipment.
 

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Stud
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605 Posts
I would agree with an excavator with blade. But I would go bigger than a 14000 lb machine if it was a really rocky. Can't say much about crawler loader since I have never actually seen one working in my area.

Hope you have some money saved up because no matter what you buy for that terrain it won't be cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input.

I think I will be happy with a crawler, cause it seems better adapted to rough grounds.
I'm just a bit concerned about the maintenance of the track system, but then rubber tires aren't cheap either, right?

An excavator, though quite efficient at what it does, isn't really an option for me because I don't have the $$ to buy a separate loader (in forestry we don't make big bucks like excavation people do!), so I really need the versatilily of a loader-backhoe. I also find an excavator is nearly double the cost of a backhoe-loader.

Today I saw a JD 450C on a farm a few miles from my place.
Gonna go ask the owner if he's thinking of selling it someday, then what the crawler' condition is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Should've done as you said...

Finding no JD450 within a reasonable distance, and trying to minimize cost of maintenance, I finally got a Case 580C TLB in January.
While OK for general work around the property, NO it's not up to the task of clearing new trails....
Luckily resale value is pretty good, so I'm selling it now and looking for a track loader.
It won't be a JD though, cause I've read so many times that, although very nice when they DO work, JD crawlers are a b*** to repair.
It seems that a JD 450 is a bit small for the job, too, so it will be a Cat 955 or a Case 855.
It seems I haven't got a real need for a backhoe after all, so a simple track loader will be the best.
 
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