Earth-Moving Equipment for the Homestead

Check out this primer on the versatile machinery that can help you tackle those daunting projects around your property.

| October/November 2019

kioti
Photo from Kioti

People dream about and acquire rural land or acreage for many different reasons. They may long to return to their abandoned rural roots, or desire to live self-sufficiently by growing their own food and livestock.

Regardless of your reason for owning land, the ability to move, shape, smooth, or contour your property efficiently requires the right implements and equipment. From constructing roads, to designing landscapes, to creating building sites, there are equipment options for any size of earth-moving job.

Bulldozers

For moving soil, sand, general rubble, and tree stumps, nothing can compare to a dedicated bulldozer. Bulldozers, or “crawlers” (continuous tracked tractors), come in a variety of sizes and configurations. In essence, a bulldozer is a diesel tractor sporting tracks instead of wheels, with a substantial metal blade mounted on the front, and sometimes a set of “rippers” — claw-like teeth mounted on steel — attached to the rear. The blade can articulate in either direction or pitch, and the rippers are used to break up dirt, compacted soil, or pavement as the bulldozer moves over it.



Typically, bulldozers are used in heavy construction or road building. They can be useful to a new landowner if it’s necessary to cut a road into the property or if excessive tree removal is required. Bulldozers are often used to clear old windbreaks from smaller fields, and to create more land that can be utilized for farming. Leveling land for building sites, livestock enclosures, or loafing sheds is also easily accomplished with a bulldozer.

Even a well-used bulldozer can be expensive, with prices ranging from $30,000 up to $200,000 or more. Because of the initial price and maintenance costs of a full-sized bulldozer, it’s rarely cost-effective for most landowners. While bulldozers can be rented for $300 to $500 per day or $1,200 to $1,500 per week, depending on size and capability, operating a bulldozer without extensive experience is probably not the most cost-effective choice. It’s often a much better investment to hire a professional to do the work.






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