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Digging a pond with a tractor

 
Posts: 11
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Hi All,
Has anyone on the forum dug out a pond with their tractor. Not a tractor with backhoe attachment, I am thinking of they type of project such as the one shown in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uFHzDweD10
I don't have one of those box blades yet, but wanted some input on how well it worked etc. Also want to find out if the purchase would be worth while vs using the bucket of the tractor.
I only have a front loader / bucket on my tractor, so that is what I am going to have to use for the time being.
Anyway thoughts and comments would be appreciated.
Thanks
Cordell
 
Posts: 296
Location: Carbon Hill, AL
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Look into a 3pt hitch scoop. I've seen them down here in Alabama on craigslist for under $500


Depending on how soft your dirt is and the quantity of rocks and roots. You could go with a 3pt hitch ripper or a furrowing plow. Then come back and scoop the loose dirt with your loader bucket.

Honestly though I believe the extra stress and wear on the tractor trying to dig any sizable pond would be a bit much.

Might be cheaper in the long run to buy a loader use that to build your pond then resale it.

I'd pass on using a box blade to try and dig a pond of any depth. Maybe super shallow in sandy dirt. That would be it.
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I dug a duck pond that was 14x30 and over 3 ft deep with the bucket of the tractor shown below. I've also dug all my swales that way.
mowing.jpg
Bad pic of tractor without bucket
Bad pic of tractor without bucket
 
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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How big and deep do you want your pond?

I dug a 30'-40' diameter pond with a full size backhoe in heavy clay. It is 8' deep at the deepest. I used the front bucket and the backhoe attachment. It was a total pain in the ass. Digging and moving soil with a wheeled vehicle makes much more of a mess than a tracked vehicle, so you need to take into account extra cleanup time.

Tractor buckets are generally lighter weight metal and have lower carrying capacity than backhoe buckets. It is easy to over-load them (I have used tractors with buckets and never would have been able to dig my pond with one).

You should look into rental costs for a small excavator.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2502
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Karen Walk wrote:How big and deep do you want your pond?

I dug a 30'-40' diameter pond with a full size backhoe in heavy clay. It is 8' deep at the deepest. I used the front bucket and the backhoe attachment. It was a total pain in the ass. Digging and moving soil with a wheeled vehicle makes much more of a mess than a tracked vehicle, so you need to take into account extra cleanup time.

Tractor buckets are generally lighter weight metal and have lower carrying capacity than backhoe buckets. It is easy to over-load them (I have used tractors with buckets and never would have been able to dig my pond with one).

You should look into rental costs for a small excavator.


I actually found the biggest problem with digging with the bucket was bottoming out. Of course my pond was small. But the tractor was far wider than my pond was and I could only go so deep with the bucket. So there's that too.
 
pollinator
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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The box blade is just as useful for the rippers as the blade for digging a pond. I didn't have a box blade so I used my subsoiler to break up the dirt. It took a ton of passes to get it done.

I can dig 20-30 feet of swale per hour with my little 4' bucket 30 hp tractor. That is including disking and shaping the swale to ready to seed.
 
pollinator
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Since I'm not building a dam but simply digging a large shallow hole in the ground, I have every intention of using my two-bottom plow and then blade to build our pond this spring. It's how I built our swales, so I figure I can simply plow up the area of the pond I want, then move the broken dirt with my blade out to the perimeter and then go back and plow down another layer down with the plow and then move the newly broken layer of soil out to the perimeter again and repeat until I have the size, shape and depth I desire. It may require many passes, but I don't have a loader, back hoe, excavator nor do I have the funds to rent. I'll make it with what I already have on hand. I may be all wet, but it's what I'm going to try and I certainly will post photos of the effort here.
 
Posts: 76
Location: Illinois, zone 6b
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I've used a small tractor and most of the implements mentioned above on my land. But for digging a pond 40' diameter 8' deep I hired a bulldozer operator with a D4 Caterpillar to do it. I will do so again.

For really heavy work the bigger machine is really more economical. It helps to be friends with somebody who owns a bulldozer. The way to save money on bulldozer work is to be very lenient about timing. Tell the guy you want the work done sometime this summer whenever is convenient for him. He can leave the machine sitting at your place as long as he needs to. Try to work it so you minimize the cost of mobilization.
 
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For small ponds, yes a tractor will work. But I'd sure hate to do a large one that way.

If you want a serious pond or dugout, look at hiring a guy with a track hoe. Here (Alberta) a hoe and operator are about $160/hour. But a track hoe can move a bucket every 5-8 seconds. With a 1 yard bucket, that's 400 cubic yards an hour.

$2000 will buy a lot of pond.
 
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I have plans to put a pond on my property and i have a rear tiller 60in and a 60in bucket loader on her and i am hoping to put mine in also with what i have the tiller has been a god send for leveling ground to prepping for the garden to making paths threw the woods for Grandkids to ride atv’s and hopefully add to the list of putting ina pond.....Good Luck.
 
gardener
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J,

That tiller no doubt does an excellent job of loosening up the top few inches of earth that can then be moved by the loader.  I could be wrong, but I would bet that the tilling is a slow going process.

I once excavated a base for an above ground pool by using a 4’ box blade and a JD 2305 subcompact tractor on dense clay left brick hard thanks to a severe drought.

The box blade really shined.  With the rippers set down I drove back and forth and eventually loosened enough clay that I could simply drag it out with the box blade alone.  Had my clay subsoil had its usual moisture, the excavation would likely have taken only a third as long.  I would also imagine that if you were digging a pond, you would likely be dragging out substantial material with each pass.  It is surprising how fast one can dig a hole with a tractor and box blade.

Happy digging,

Eric
 
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all I can say is be careful. most farm tractor loaders are not built strong enough for digging dirt. I snapped the loader frame in half digging dirt with my 90 hp 4wd farm tractor loader with 4400lb lift capacity. I had to cut and weld braces to put it back together. farm tractor loaders are built much different than say the loader on a ford 555 or case 580.
 
bruce Fine
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I did not realize this post is 5 yrs old, wondering now how the pond turned out.
gift
 
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