View Full Version : What would you use for ROW maintenance

all ferris
12-02-2008, 09:14 AM
I was wondering what would be your tool of choice? Its about 120 miles of ROW maintenance. There are about 250 fence rows and creek crossings and about 25 miles, all to be mowed once every 2 years. Most of this ROW is farm ground where the farmers put crops in right over the ROW. There are only a few steep hills but they aren't long. The only things that needs to be maintained are the spots where the ROW crosses a ditch/creek, where ever there is a property line that is not maintained by the land owner, and where ever the ROW goes through the woods(about 25 miles). So basically I have to maintain what ever the property owners don't maintain. Maximum width of the ROW is 150' and there is nothing growing more than 2" in diameter. All work is to be completed in the winter (snow is not an issue but if the ground is not frozen it will be soft to muddy). I do know from looking at some of the ROW that there will be some hand work (i.e. handheld brush cutters).

If you could buy one piece of equipment and an attachment/implement what would it be? I know that previous maintenance has been done with both a skid/CTL and others have used a 75hp or less tractor, both with brushcutters.

BTW - I already have a bid price in mind and have penciled in about $70,000 for equipment costs on this 4 year bid.

12-02-2008, 09:34 AM
Around here a ROW company uses a modified tractor with belly pans, side shields heavy brush guard bumpers almost looks like a armored tractor.

Dirt Digger2
12-02-2008, 09:50 AM
Around here a ROW company uses a modified tractor with belly pans, side shields heavy brush guard bumpers almost looks like a armored tractor.

same...looks kind of like this..only they are New Hollands around here

i would go the tractor route personally

all ferris
12-02-2008, 09:53 AM
Those tractors are an idea. I see they have a winch. However, I would want a cab.

12-02-2008, 09:57 AM
Those tractors are an idea. I see they have a winch. However, I would want a cab.

I will say I have never seen one around here with a cab. Unless your talking about a hydro ax.

12-02-2008, 09:58 AM
You are looking at approximately 454.5 acres to mow if I did my math right based on the 25 miles out of the 120 you think you will have to maintain. I would think that the faster you can mow, the better.
Personally, I haven't seen anything that is easy to mow with in the mud. The tractors will get bogged down in a wet ditch (I've seen it happen numerous times on ROW) and a skid or CTL mower will awfully small for the long distances you may need to mow but very handy in tight areas. I would imagine a CTL or MTL would be useful in the ditch areas especially if you can use a mower that you can lift up and not have it shut off (ie bobcat brushcat) or modify a mower. Also, a Bobcat mower has a steel roller. No good in wet conditions..

I would think a tractor with flotation tires would be the most economical machine to operate. Any CTL will need radiator maintenance but again they would be handy around those ditches.

I have a Stihl FS550 brush cutter. I would recommend it to anyone taking on a ROW project. Very comfortable harness and plenty of power. There is one size smaller available that would probably hold up fine.

So, if you could have 2 machines, that would be ideal. If not, I'd go with the tractor first if you have long, uninterrupted areas to mow. If you have a lot of tight areas by guard rails, trees, etc., a CTL would be very maneuverable but you will only get about 6 feet of mowing per pass unless you can find a larger mower. Bobcat had one but discontinued, I think.

12-02-2008, 10:11 AM
Any CTL with a brush mower and a winch that can be swapped to the rear or the front would work for me.

Junior M
12-02-2008, 12:02 PM
What about a tractor for the open areas, a ctl for the hills, and a mini ex with a mower like minimax has for the creek edges.. I know that will be more than 70k, but it is going to be hard to get one machine that will do it all..

12-02-2008, 01:35 PM
something like this might be worth a look. they have a couple other models if it is more open area or steep work.

good luck,

12-02-2008, 02:06 PM
from experience, open cab mulching is no fun. Bees, bugs, dust, dirt, rocks, limbs, etc. Never do that again!

CAT powered
12-02-2008, 04:02 PM
I'd get a closed station four wheel drive tractor and put a winch on the front along with all the cab guards and radiator guards you can get. That way you can rescue yourself if you get stuck. Then for any creeks I'd get a boom arm mower mounted on a tractor or you could go the mini ex/mulching head route like Junior suggested. I'd make sure that anything you bring in is 4 wheel drive or tracked and has a full cab. That's just my recommendation. I've done some land clearing/right of way maintenance and getting covered in poison ivy is NO FUN.

12-02-2008, 04:10 PM
The city here uses machines like this for sewer line mowing. They also use tracked machines with the same style cutting head. Ground around here is just too wet for a regular tractor and bushog.


Junior M
12-02-2008, 04:16 PM
Our guys here use a tractor like the one dirtdigger posted earlier, and one just like you just posted dirtman.. I have seen them use a Cat 320 with a mulching head on it too for really wet area's..

12-02-2008, 04:22 PM
Pretty much all the ROW mowing stuff is closed cab. yellow jackets are a big problem when mowing around here. I get think I get stung or atleast get in a nest of them every time I bushog. Getting stung 7 times on the face really don't feel very good. But there's still a poor sob that get stuck running the open cab tractor bushogging:laugh:

RockSet N' Grade
12-02-2008, 05:01 PM
Just a thought along those same lines: carry an epi-pen in the machine and in the truck. Could save your life.

Gravel Rat
12-02-2008, 06:41 PM
What about modifying a small skidder that you can run a boom with a mower you can reach with and a mower on the front.

The machine is going to need wheels a tracked machine you can't walk that 120 miles :dizzy:

You can have some racks on the skidder for a Stihl Brush Cutter, chainsaws etc.

A skidder will go anywhere if its really slippery chain it up.

all ferris
12-02-2008, 06:55 PM
I won't have to worry about bees, wasps, hornets or any bugs because all this work is to be completed in the winter time for the 4 year bid. I will want a cab on whatever I would use (I'm not freezing). And I already have a Bobcat T200 with cab/air/heat. I like the idea of a tractor but I'm afraid it will make too many ruts and get stuck easier. I also need to be able to transport the equipment fairly easy due to the fact the work is spread out over the 120 miles. I'm thinking CTL with bush cutter but I'm also worried about the couple large sections that need to mowed. It will take awhile with a CTL and 6' brush cutter. I need a 100 hp CTL with a 10' brush cutter (with 1 wing) ??? How big of a brush cutter will a Gehl CT85 HF run and still be productive?

AWJ Services
12-02-2008, 07:19 PM
Everyone here uses Large tractors.


They equip them with winches as well.
It gets pretty nasty here as to.

12-02-2008, 07:29 PM
I Mow Right of way for a large natural gas company I do aprox. 115 miles and I Use to use a ASV Posi-track 4810 with a Davco 72'' cutter does a wonderful job but had so many problems with the 4810 that I traded it for a 297C Caterpillar it runs my Davco even better. The rubber track is great for steep hills and also if you have to drive through someones front yard

12-02-2008, 10:22 PM
I would use what you have and that is a CTL,I would look at a flail mower for the front of the CTL. get a 72" or a 84" high flow flail head and you can fly.One guy here in washington uses 3 T250 bobcat CTL's to mow 400 miles of ROW a year.He pull a little trailer with a quad on it down the ROW and drops the trailer and quad at the far end of where he is working for the day and goes to work then when he is done for the day he fuels up the CTL from the tank on the quad's trailer and takes the quad pulling the trailer back to his truck loads the quad and trailer on his trailer behind his pickup and goes home,and does it again the next day.I would look at US mower for a flail mower.A rotary will work but I have not seen one that wide for a CTL.
Here is a pic of my CTL and flail mower.Good luck


12-03-2008, 12:07 AM
That looks real good Minimax. How fast do you go?

12-03-2008, 06:16 AM
good morning I'm trying to download my pics. but since they are already download I'd can seem to get them onto here again...But go and look up an old thread...(7-08)rough cut mowing ditch mowing..also if someone know how to get these pics off my download save please help..Thanks Howard

12-03-2008, 09:13 AM
resize and rename pics and you can reload or host them on photobucket and provide a link

12-03-2008, 05:39 PM
Those newholland tractors are garbage for doing right of way with the brown cutter on them. Too much cutter for the tractor. You will spend more time working on it than using it. We have 3 at work. Why they keep buying them I will never know, prolly cause they are cheap...

Votum Gardens LLC
12-03-2008, 08:13 PM
If I was bidding on this job I would plan on using our Case IH 5240 and 10' Alamo Eagle flex wing. The tractor is a little bigger than what is needed at 105HP, but it has C/A/H and has FWA. If I needed a little more flotation, I put on the duals, I doubt I would need them, I very rarely rut up the ground when using it. It also has a loader on it, and we built a rack and storage box that attaches where the bucket does for weed whips, other tools and supplies. The flex wing will handle anything up to 3 1/2" easily and from the description you gave should be able to handle the ditch banks and hillsides.