For most cattlemen, spring is another busy time of year. It means calving and the chance to release their herds onto new, greener pastures. With continued lean beef profits and challenges like wildfires, usable pasture is at an all-time premium.
The 2016 and 2017 fire seasons have been some of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the Plains. As Burt Rutherford pointed out in his blog post last month, farmers and ranchers are a resilient lot, and, they will rebuild, but first the fires’ debris must be cleared. Challenges range from the rocks that have been bush-hogged around for the last five years to the more pressing burned-out posts and trees now scattered across many pastures. Clearing and cleanup can be a long and unforgiving job that requires dozens of different tools, from chainsaws to axes to trucks for hauling debris away, not to mention many hours and pairs of hands.
Selecting the right attachments for this task is essential to restoring land in a reasonable timeframe. Glenn Danuser, co-owner of Danuser, provides this advice on selecting attachments for any land clearing job:
- Pick the right attachments for the job.
If you are driving T-posts, a small post driver may be more economical and efficient than a larger one, but the larger post driver may be worthwhile if you’ll be putting in wide corner posts. Clearing land may require several attachments, from box blades to tree pullers to stump buckets. Glenn suggests trying to find attachments that combine functions into Swiss Army Knife versatility: “Some attachments, like Danuser’s Intimidator, can clear land as well as remove stumps, rocks, posts, and carry debris. This kind of versatility can help save time by eliminating the need to swap out various attachments throughout the project.” If the choices seem overwhelming, a local equipment dealer can be a good place to start. Attachment manufacturers are also happy to help.
- Match your attachments to your vehicles.
Most modern attachments are powered by vehicle hydraulic systems. This means you need to know what your vehicle’s GPM and PSI are, and match those to the attachments’ rated specs when shopping. Some manufacturers, like Danuser, offer a database of skid-steer specifications on their website to help with this task.
- Be safety conscious.
The most effective safety device is a careful and educated operator. Read the Operator’s Manuals for your attachments and vehicles before you begin. Follow common sense safety guidelines like calling 811 before digging and keeping other people clear of worksites.
“Clearing land is only one of the many hardships to recovering after such devastating losses,” says Glenn. “An efficient cleanup can help reduce the overall burden these beef producers are facing, enabling them to focus on other recovery challenges.”