Digging farm pond: Tractor Projects  -- General Tractor Discussion Forum and Review Digging farm pond: Tractor Projects -- General Tractor Discussion Forum

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 01-29-2001, 19:26 Post: 23795
tchunter13



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 Digging farm pond

I would like to dig a quarter acre pond about 4 feet deep. Will a JD 955 with a front load and backhoe be enough machine? Any suggestions would be appreciated since I am new to this.How about using the 955 for food plots(1 acre)? What attachments would it need. This is planned for a currently wooded area that I would remove the trees.






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 01-29-2001, 20:32 Post: 23798
Todd



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 Digging farm pond

Oh boy, a quarter acre is about 11,000 square feet. Times four feet deep is 44,000 cubic feet of dirt. Divide that by 27 cu ft / yard is about 1600 yards of dirt. I'd guess you can get 1-2 cubic feet per scoop with a backhoe on a JD955. That's 22,000 scoops. Then you'd have to move that dirt with the bucket!
Since I have a B2710 (about the size of the 955), and need our pond enlarged to something similar, I know this math is a little depressing. When I first got my tractor I had dreams of digging Lake Todd in the backyard, so we could skate on it in the winter. I've given up on that. If I had unlimited funding, I'd get a CAT 330B excavator and a dump truck. The 330B is 236HP and 76,300lbs, or about 35 times the size of the Deere955 or my Kubota, and it probably costs about the same as my house.
I guess the short answer is, you could do it, but it would take you forever. And that's assuming there aren't going to be any tree stumps too big to get out with your equipment. Me, I'm going to hire an excavator. If you have your heart set on doing it yourself, you could rent an excavator, but that's still a lot of dirt, and besides picking it up, you have to move it somewhere, somehow. There's another thread today about a scaper/dirt mover. The one for a 955 sized tractor is .8cu yards, but it only digs 3" deep. It rekindled my hope for Lake Todd for about a minute. Oh well Smile






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 01-29-2001, 20:46 Post: 23799
Todd



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 Digging farm pond

I forgot, you also asked about food plots. I rototill about a quarter of an acre for our garden each year, going over it twice with my similarly sized tractor, in about 1 to 2 hours. Our garden is a hobby, and a quarter acre produces more tomatos, squash, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and strawberrys than we can eat, and even gives us some corn. The real farmers here will probably need to know how many total acres would you'd be growing food on? I'm curious, iss this going to be a full time job, a hobby, or something in between??
Todd






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 01-29-2001, 22:53 Post: 23802
Alan L. Lewis



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 Digging farm pond

I also have a Kubota B2710. I wouldn't attempt it unless you are moving very soft dirt. Even then it would take a long time.

Around here you could have that dug with a bulldozer for $1,000 to $1,500. If the pond is for fish everything I read says it should be a minimum of 8 feet deep, otherwise you could have oxygen problems for the fish, especially you have hot summers.

One recommendation though regardless of who does the work. Scrape that topsoil off and put it in a pile and use it or sell it later. Its like gold. I have more than acre of good topsoil covered up by yellow clay fill dirt because I failed to have the dirt guy save my topsoil. Now I find that its about $10 a yard.

When I had all my dirtwork done, including a 1.5 acre, 12-foot deep pond, I was quoted 90 cents per cubic yard of dirt moved. This is probably more expensive than average, but I wanted this particular guy to do my work and I'm not disappointed. The tank was dug in August and after all these rains in North Texas this winter it is filled to brim and is beautiful - it has inlets and hardly any dam at all, plus a well-designed spillway.

A friend of mine had a small pond similar to what you're talking about quoted at $800 by a guy who has a bulldozer. He thought that was too high!






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 01-30-2001, 05:22 Post: 23803
Ted Kennedy



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 Digging farm pond

TC, a pond this size is a project and a half. I install small ponds of 3500 to 6000 gallons in the Japanese style gradens I design, and use a Cub with a 7.5 foot hoe and FEL, or a Case 580. I think you could do the job with your machine under ideal conditions: good soil, no rain, plenty of time, plenty of room for your spoil pile, etc. But since when do we have ideal conditions. I did one 6000 gal. pond for a young couple who couldn't understand why I had to sub-contract to an excavator for the removal of a ten ton boulder I had no idea was there, thus raising the cost of the project. The folks who've responded before me have given you good advice, bring in the big machines first for the rough-in, and do the finishing work yourself. Sorry I don't know a thing about farming, although I use a rototiller for lawn and landscape planting beds. Best of luck, it sounds like a neat project.






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 01-30-2001, 07:35 Post: 23806
TomG

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 Digging farm pond

Irrespective of the machinery issues, I'd seek some expert advice. Things like deciding whether the water source is adequate to keep the pond filled, or whether a liner is needed take some particular skills. Having a pond turn into a mud flat in August wouldn't be great. There also may be some options other than a large excavation. The stock ponds my uncles had all used earthen dams. It's easier to fill up an existing low place with water than it is to dig a new one. Of course, construction of an earthen dam takes its own set of knowledge. Finally, I'd check for local regulations. The natural resources people around here have gotten very touchy about their waterways. If the water source is a small creek, there probably would be permits etc. required around here.






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 01-30-2001, 08:41 Post: 23807
Todd



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 Digging farm pond

Ted,
Is my math wrong? I get about a 325,000 gallon pond, for a quarter acre at 4 foot deep pond. 1 cubic foot equalling 7.48 gallons. If you make this 8 feet deep, you'd double that.
Alan,
Is that what topsoil is worth delivered, or can we sell it to an excavator to offset the cost of the work? Since I'm going to have this type of job done this summer, your numbers are reasuring to me.
Tom
Good point. Because our current pond's inflow silted in, and the dam out was removed, we do get the August mud flat. Hoping to fix that!






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 01-30-2001, 09:20 Post: 23811
Art White



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 Digging farm pond

I often have this question asked about building a pond and I always give the same answer. Get a pro to do it the money is well worth it. I've enjoyed playing with these smaller machines as well as far larger excavators and dozers. Even with working with the commercial Kubota's, I haven't had a L-48 to play with yet I don't think there would be enough time to do it fast enough for the volume of fill to be moved. retail and wholesale prices of dirt are different but good silt should sell. Compact tractors can do the finish work and in a reasonable time period and cost. Thats my two cents for what it is worth!






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 01-30-2001, 09:47 Post: 23812
Ted Kennedy



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 Digging farm pond

Todd, a quarter acre in area is 10,890sqft, times 4ft, equals 43,560ft3, times 7.58 equals 330.184 and 8 tenths gallons. Close enough for this project. Remember, an irregularity of 6 inches by five feet by five feet will increse your volume by yards, or gallons, and it is hard to make a perfect grade unless you have experience. Even the walls will add, or delete, gallons because of variations in how the soil behaves when you excavate. The issue of permits was raised by TomG and he is square on the money. I didn't raise it because I figured that you are in farm country and that your codes are much different (liberal?) from ours in New England. But TomG is right, before you dig, have your plans blessed by the local powers. A big issue involving any existing waterway or stream, etc. is the Federal Wetlands law, you could face a huge fine or time in the lockup for violating these very strict laws, so err on the side of caution. Sealing the pond used to be simple, there was an oil based chemical you could pump into the standing water and as it sank, would seal any soil leaks. Too bad it is illegal to use now, you know, EPA restricted. Your pond is really too big for EPDM so you'll have to rely on the density of your soil, hope it's good thick clay. I would pump aerate the water at least twice a day, for a half hour. Finally, think about sinking a well, a deep well, with an automatic level replenishment switch to keep you topped up. I don't think you'll have much luck getting permission to divert an existing waterway, but you won't know until you try. Good luck.






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 01-30-2001, 11:42 Post: 23813
Frank R Taylor



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 Digging farm pond

The other posters have it right ... hire the big boys to do the hard work. After watching them build the dam for the lake at my mother-in-law's place, there is no way I would attempt that with a compact tractor. I doubt if I would live that long. You could certainly do the tidying up work with a compact but if the big equipment is there, why bother. I wouldn't even run my B2400 on some of the slopes that they routinely run their dozers on. If you have a spillway, it's design is crucial. You don't want the overflow running down the back of the dam or it will wash out. Best of luck with your project.
As far as the garden is concerned, it depends a lot on the soil that you have but either way your tractor should be able to handle it. Lots of people recommended plowing and then tilling but I went straight to the tiller and made 3 passes and it worked great. It'll be a lot of hard work with a walk behind tiller but it can be done. I just got a Kuhn 50" tiller for my 24hp (19 PTO) Kubota and it was expensive but it is a magic piece of machinery. I've extended my hobby garden to about an acre and I think it will supply us with fresh veg all summer long.






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