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John Deere mini excavator, any opinions?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm going to be renting a mini excavator to put in some small hugelkutures and other earthworks. Assuming a novice operator and OK soil, how many cubic feet can be moved an hour? Assuming an experienced operator? Any experiences with this or a similar machine would be welcome.
 
Posts: 96
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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hugelkultur chicken solar
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Depends on a number of factors - what you hit once the top soil is gone mainly. Its harder to operate than it looks. I reckon it takes about 20 hours to become somewhat "proficient", but it depends on the person. Its like a big xbox really.

My recommendation would be to pay for a machine and operator. Here that is A$100-130 /h. You can direct him and run around planting whilst he's going....depends how big your place is I guess

 
gardener
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It took me 1 hour to learn the controls well enough to be fairly proficient at digging a full bucket and getting that dumped where I wanted it.
They work fine, the biggest issue is sizing the machine to the work to be done (in my case) then operating it well was the number two issue.

I did some planning ahead homework and downloaded the manual for the machine I rented (245.00 for a day).
After three hours of operating the mini trackhoe I finally got to where I could use the bucket to dig, dump and rake with it, using the blade was around another 20 minutes of learning curve.

All in all I think the day rent was worth it since I am sure I will need to rent this thing at least two more times and the cost is way lower than hiring one to do the work for me.
Besides the satisfaction I get from doing the work myself.
 
master pollinator
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Our experience with the mini excavator we borrowed from the neighbor was that it was too small to do much work.  So I would advise to avoid the most "mini" kind.  This had a bucket only a foot wide, if I remember right.  It couldn't do much in our heavy, rocky clay.

 
Peter Kalokerinos
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Our experience with the mini excavator we borrowed from the neighbor was that it was too small to do much work.  So I would advise to avoid the most "mini" kind.  This had a bucket only a foot wide, if I remember right.  It couldn't do much in our heavy, rocky clay.



Depends how you define "mini" I guess. In Australia a "mini" machine its anything up to 8 tonne.
 
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