We have 43 acres in central Illinois with some steep hills which drop to a big creek. I want to dig swales as well as paths to be able to walk down to the creek and then build a bridge to access the other side and am considering buying a track skid steer as the main tool. I know Sepp Holzer uses an excavator and I've had a couple of loader backhoes but am leaning toward a track skid steer to dig and grade. Any thoughts, advice?
It can be done. Skid steers and steep hills are an exciting combination, and not in a good way!!
Hiring a good trackhoe operator is often cheaper than your time and fuel to do the job with a too-small tool. So if you want to build miles of swale all at once, hire it out. If you want to build a hundred feet at a time, then the skidloader or utility tractor makes sense.
I just broke down and bought a small utility tractor with loader to do this work. A skid loader would be faster for moving dirt, but a tractor was so much more useful all-around.
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I rent equipment often to do earthworks. I find it easiest to use track hoes for building ponds and swales. Skid steers are great for moving material or digging ut basements etc... Try a track hoe. They use less gas too. For the same price.
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