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HullFencing

The 21st century fencing question - to go tracked??

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Im currently running my 120hp massey and a P200s - 240kg with rockspike and am finding I could do with bigger thumper - more mast height, bit more outreach etc etc.... BUT I am finding im doing a lot of back and forth getting materials and machinery to jobs and when im on my own getting in and out of tractor is killing my knees (I have a habit of jumping out of the cab!)

 

RG30 based set ups are getting on a bit now and a friend of mine who used to work for cautrac has informed me that parts are getting harder and harder to source so that leaves the likes of evo 1's or building a new conversion as Bryce are too heavy (I would probably tow with tractor most of the time but would be handy if it could go behind the truck if the need arose)

 

to put it simply - are they worth the $$ over a tractor mounted set up? would those who have bought one be able to go back to tractor set up?

 

also does anyone know the weight difference between a sideshift evo and a slew model??

 

 

 

 

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Now don’t quote me on this but I have had a bad experience buying an evo 1. I went for the 120 slew with extending track and was under the assumption that I was buying a machine that weighed somewhere around the 2.9 ton mark only to find out when collecting it that it was around 300kg more so even taking weight of and placing in back of truck I was still overweight. Now I believe a very standard evo 1 no slew etc is more like 2.9 tons but mud on tracks tools etc can you still legally tow behind a pickup probably not hope this helps with one part of your question. I must add that I had the auger as well and a longer mast for driving posts close to ground level but together they shouldn’t have been more than 100kg I don’t blame Protech fantastic machines by all accounts just bad communication between ourselves at time of ordering. I still have a machine that I use on my own and that is a must for me. One of the best setups I have seen is a Valtra tractor that the guy has converted to drive it from the knocker p500.

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The only decent track machine that is towable by a pick up is the evo1. And that is on the limit. Protech showed one on a weigh bridge the other day with only 20kg to spare. So a bit of diesel and mud or even some tools and your over weight.

It is legally doable but a lot will be overweight most of the time.

If you don't go for a machine on a weight limit there is plenty of choice.

Are they worth it?

Yes definitely, you will never want to go back to jumping in and out of the tractor again.

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Your question is one I've given a lot of thought to myself.  For me at the end of the day it came down to the level of investment required, and I didn't want to committ the capital to a dedicated tracked machine (in addition to or instead of my Massey 5445 and Kinghitter S2 expander- so 340 kg hammer with 1.8M drop).

 

I am also on the wrong side of 55, so the "wear and tear" on my frame  of climbing off and on was a big factor for me.

 

After a lot of consideration I decided Mark Hibberd's approach using a mini-excavator was the right one for me.  There are a few people doing this and they nearly all have a slightly different way utilizing the machine, my driver is a homebuilt vibratory unit with an integrated auger rather than a hammer like Mark's or Stephen Blairs - it suits me and the work I do but would not be for everyone.  All this illustrates is that there are several ways of skinning the cat . . . 

 

If you want something off the shelf (and customer perception comes into this as well, I know a lot of farmers who would laugh if I turned up with my Digger, but my lifestyle clients love it) then that also is important.

 

Cheers

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Tentman like you it's the investment of £ that puts me off the most! can be scary when you add up the value of tools and machinery sitting in the yard! I've got a kubota u17 with auger drive and a p10 that I love to hate - Using that had put me off digger mounted drivers massively

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I have no doubts that once setup in the field there is little to beat speed and ease of operation of a tracked machine.

 

But that's not everything, a tractor has some advantages, no unloading for one, tractor can tow a trailer of materials and knocker too so only one setup to take to the job- plus if you have a loader tractor you have something to clear fencelines and load fencing stakes.

A track machine is a one trick pony and knocking stakes in may only account for 30% -50% of a jobs time. So you have a huge investment tied up just for that. Having operated both I'd also say that a tractor can be better in some terrains, it's large wheels can adjust better to undulating terrain.

 

Similarly a digger with the RIGHT knocker, a clearing grab, buckets, auger, wire unrolling capabilities is going to be far more versatile- and you will get a lot of ancillary work ditching, groundworks etc which personally I welcombe as I can sit in a heated can with the radio on on a pouring wet day! I also agree with other- the best digger knockers are homemade by those who know what they want from the machine. The P10 is fairly dreadful- the geometry is all set up wrong for a small digger and it's unstable and makes for untidy fencing.

 

If however you do mega stretches of stock fencing- plan on towing with the tractor and fence pretty much 100% of the time a tracked knocker may be the best option for you.

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I have no doubts that once setup in the field there is little to beat speed and ease of operation of a tracked machine.

 

But that's not everything, a tractor has some advantages, no unloading for one, tractor can tow a trailer of materials and knocker too so only one setup to take to the job- plus if you have a loader tractor you have something to clear fencelines and load fencing stakes.

A track machine is a one trick pony and knocking stakes in may only account for 30% -50% of a jobs time. So you have a huge investment tied up just for that. Having operated both I'd also say that a tractor can be better in some terrains, it's large wheels can adjust better to undulating terrain.

 

Similarly a digger with the RIGHT knocker, a clearing grab, buckets, auger, wire unrolling capabilities is going to be far more versatile- and you will get a lot of ancillary work ditching, groundworks etc which personally I welcombe as I can sit in a heated can with the radio on on a pouring wet day! I also agree with other- the best digger knockers are homemade by those who know what they want from the machine. The P10 is fairly dreadful- the geometry is all set up wrong for a small digger and it's unstable and makes for untidy fencing.

 

If however you do mega stretches of stock fencing- plan on towing with the tractor and fence pretty much 100% of the time a tracked knocker may be the best option for you.

 

Good points raised here.  The majority of our workload is too far from home to consider driving a tractor, and most of the jobs we take are big enough to justify moving equipment.  We take the tracked knocker and a tracked skid steer to most every job.  It takes two trips now, but I'm hoping to get a smaller driver set up to eliminate one trip.  We usually are able to schedule our fence jobs on a route so as not to waste miles.  Also, I usually have a crew, so they can be clearing, scattering stakes, or stringing net while I'm driving posts, where a tractor mounted knocker would take away that capability.   What works for us, wouldn't always be the best fit for someone else.  We also can't legally exceed 25MPH in a tractor.....

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Having made the switch, I wouldn't go back.

Biggest saver is Labour, no longer Paying someone £10ph to sit on there **** in a tractor. Instead someone is following around strutting and wiring up.

 

Also mess, I will be able to fence 365 days of the year if I wanted, if we get a wet winter I don't have to worry about ruining a farmers field or rutting tracks.

 

It can be seen as a one trick pony, but at the end of the day, I am there to fence, so a machine that specialises in just fencing is what I'm after.

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It's like most things, it's easy to baulk at the cost initially, but once you get out there and start banging out the jobs you soon forget the money side of things.

I'd love a tracked knocker, but I know the versatile nature of my work will render it sitting dormant for long periods. For a full time fencer it's got to be the best choice.

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Bit of an update on this........... bit the bullet about 6 weeks ago and bought a P22 contractor RG30 and within an hour of fencing with it decided the tractor was going to be sold! the benefits far outweigh the few small cons and im definitely not missing jumping in and out of the tractor all day when working on my own.

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Been thinking a lot about this lately, what with the wet weather we've had, and lack of labour in these parts getting on tracks is definately the way foward. I guess i'll end up fabricating something as i have to have slew and justifying a new solotrak or evo on the average runs around here would be pretty difficult.

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6 hours ago, HullFencing said:

Bit of an update on this........... bit the bullet about 6 weeks ago and bought a P22 contractor RG30 and within an hour of fencing with it decided the tractor was going to be sold! the benefits far outweigh the few small cons and im definitely not missing jumping in and out of the tractor all day when working on my own.

It took you an hour to realise!, what where you doing drinking tea? They are a big leap forward in fencing efficiency and productivity aren't they. Your hips and knees will thank you.

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4 hours ago, Tubbylew said:

Been thinking a lot about this lately, what with the wet weather we've had, and lack of labour in these parts getting on tracks is definately the way foward. I guess i'll end up fabricating something as i have to have slew and justifying a new solotrak or evo on the average runs around here would be pretty difficult.

Even with average runs they pay their way as long as you have them working 5 days a week.

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23 hours ago, Tubbylew said:

Been thinking a lot about this lately, what with the wet weather we've had, and lack of labour in these parts getting on tracks is definately the way foward. I guess i'll end up fabricating something as i have to have slew and justifying a new solotrak or evo on the average runs around here would be pretty difficult.

I put a wanted ad up and had a few responses. I ended up picking up mine with a lightweight bateson for less than half of a new evo. I have found that tight corners can be a bit of a pain but with a bit of moving about and utilising the 800mm sideshift you get them in the end.

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