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Devonseano

Machinery for cutting firebreaks

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Hiya,

 

I'm trying to come up with an ideal machine for cutting firebreaks on heathland. The cuttings need to be removed from the break for it to be effective. The established breaks are mostly grasses with young heather and gorses - c. 1yo, so very small. New firebreaks would be more of the same but much denser and up to 4' high in places. We currently use a Rytec flail collector on a 46hp Massey which does a good job but needs emptying so often it's really slow. The ground is uneven and rocky in places so 3pt linkage mounted machine would be ideal.

 

In the past we've cut with the flail collector lid off and the cuttings have been blown into the air and away off the break if the wind is in the right direction, not always the case. I was thinking of a beefed up forage harvester to blast the cuttings in any given direction, and came across a:

 

Kuhn TRP 145 CV

 

- google it as I've only got a large pdf with it in. It looks good, but is not cheap (c. £10k) and requires a higher powered tractor than ours (we could hire one for the job but not ideal).

 

Any thoughts on this, or alternative suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks,

Sean

Cornwall Wildlife Trust

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Probably worth giving these guys a try Moor Heat - Home Page brash baler would cut and bale all the gorse then all you have to do is collect the bales with a loader or linkage mounted bale spike. Ahwi produce a mulcher collector system but you will need a fair size tractor to power it.

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Could you not use a disc mower, perhaps with reinforced blade edges that smash rather than cut? I've seen one of those made (steel welded along the leading edges) and behind an MF35 it was taking on 10' gorse on steep hills in mid-Devon. Mind you no-one wanted to be within 50 yards of the thing - it was lethal until some strong skirts were added.

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hire in a softrac with a jf forager on the front and tipping hopper on the back, or dumpy bag holder so the heather cuttings can be sold for moorland restoration

 

 

like this

 

5303681681_e99e6cff00_z.jpg

 

 

 

I should add this is what the NT and NPA up here run for this purpose, part funded by NE special projects element of a stewardship agreement, on SSSI's

Edited by Charlieh

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I have a trailed russel forage harvester. Ancient but strong and can trail a forage trailer as standard or modify to use IBC containers if you dont want to drag a trailer. Ours cost £150 but you will be had pressed to find one now as cheap as there now collectors items. We use for sedge chopping on bog land to reduce peat bog fires on heather and sedge moors.

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Hi Sean, I've been doing a bit of work on this especially for Rush cutting on larger area's.

You are correct that the flail collectors that are currently available simply don't hold enough and for Rush application the idea of adding more weight to the carrying tractor will simply end up in the whole lot bogged!

 

I am currently modifying a used (as new) direct cut flail forager for this type of work with a modified chute and LGP tyres.

The idea is to be able to cover large area's and collect with minimal impact using fairly compact equipment that can traverse wet/rough terrain.

 

Our initial testing of mowing the biggest crop of Rush imaginable on a pretty wet site was not without issues, but we learnt so much in a short space of time and hope to have the finished article shortly.

 

Our system will revolve around being able to cut and collect directly into a tracked dumper which can obviously carry a decent volume over the worst of terrain.

 

With a few basic mods a good direct cut flail harvester will do exactly as you require without huge cost and cutting heather is nothing compared to rush!

We hired a 4 cylinder Ford County for our initial trial as it was fairly light weight and traversed the ground nicely. It's around 90hp and was more than up to the job.

 

I have posted a link to our first efforts and if you check out the other video on my you tube channel you will see our first go at collecting cut material.

 

We simply couldn't straight cut and collect as the crop was just too big and kept blocking, but by cutting first without chute and then collecting after we were able to clear all material from site to a remarkable standard.

Hopefully the modified chute and a full body on the tracked dumper will result in a fast efficient system for all terrain.

 

I have another immaculate one as a spare and could possibly help you locate one.

 

 

Eddie.

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used to work for contractor down south where we would forage bracken of the forest and would also forage rushes of the marsh down in limington, all we used was a an old kidd direct forager with a 6 ton silage trailer behind that, used to do a great job.

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We currently use a Rytec flail collector on a 46hp Massey which does a good job but needs emptying so often

Sean

Cornwall Wildlife Trust

I sent a PM! We found the trouble with the Ryetec was it got so heavy on the back wheels the frequent long trips off the heath made significant ruts. Not to mention the heaps of cuttings dumped under trees.

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Very interesting thread guys,I have 7 acres of meadow restoration to do that's covered in rushes and jaggy grass and weeds.

I am waiting for my weed wipe and flail to arrive, I thought we might have to rake it up, but I have a tracked dumper so with 1 of those flails that's on the soft track I could beento a winner.

Any tips more than appreciatted:thumbup1:

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Used to mow a lot of heather/ rushes/ purple moor grass in order to de-nutrify (that's a word surely?).

We used a trailed forager, towing a modified German silage trailer (very light weight, high volume)

We had a 100hp same (very low weight) on the forager, on 80cm wide tyres front and back and a little 65hp Renault ferrying the trailers to and fro.

 

It was a lovely setup. Very light, easy to work and quite cheap to buy as well. We'd be on very sensitive peat soils, and any rutting was not acceptable, if the tractor made any ruts, it was time to turn as getting out was not an option, you'd be knee deep in peat.

 

Not sure if I have any pics, it was a while ago and well before the digital camera era.

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