You can do a lot in an hour: jot off some hand-written notes, play a game of chess, or catch up on your favorite industry magazine, to name a few. Evan Peterson used his hour to sew up a long-term mulching and clearing contract.
The customer owned a farm of a few hundred acres and needed parts of it cleared. Peterson, the owner and sole employee of Peterson Land Services, recommended forestry mulching but the customer was hesitant. He had hired someone to do forestry mulching before and the end product was less than desirable. Rather than consistently mulched, the material was inconsistently sized, with larger chunks and smaller pieces throughout.
The owner took Peterson back to the strip of land that had previously been “cleared,” and Peterson agreed it did not look great. Volunteer pines and scrub oaks up to 4 in. in diameter peppered the landscape and brush covered the forest floor. Still, Peterson was certain forestry mulching was what the owner needed – and he was certain he could do a better job.
With the owner still hesitant, Peterson made him an offer: Pay him for an hour's worth of work and if the owner wasn’t happy, Peterson would stop. It was a small investment of time and money, so the owner agreed.
Equipment That's Cut Out for the Job
Peterson was confident that he could tackle the job because he knew his equipment -- a Bobcat T770 compact track loader and Fecon Bull Hog attachment -- could handle it. As the loader deftly steers around desirable “keeper trees” and quickly navigates the landscape, the attachment easily chews through material, leaving behind a finely processed end product.
Peterson first heard about Fecon as he was researching mulching equipment, but a personal friend and fellow land clearer sold him on it. “If it’s not red, don’t bother with it,” the friend advised. Even Peterson’s Bobcat dealer ran Fecon heads, further convincing him it was the right way to go.
The Bull Hog is equipped with a DCR rotor head and knives with depth control rings suited for processing fine end product. Their smaller bite enables a fast cut with less horsepower to save energy for production. The smaller bite also means it’s less aggressive but more efficient. Rather than taking a big bite that stalls the motor, the DCR takes small bites and keeps on biting. The attached Viking Axe knives are slicing as it chips, providing more consistent chip size. The knives also feature dual cutting edges, resulting in faster, smoother cutting.
Without the attachment, Peterson would be left to what he calls the “old school” method of grubbing, a more time-consuming process. Grubbing required bringing in an excavator to take stumps out and dig out the whole root ball for all the trees on the site., then switching to a compact track loader and grapple attachment to gather the material into a burn pile. Plus, there was the added time to move around the site and stack up material and the day to day and a half of just brining the material -- and the material still had to be removed.
With the loader and Bull Hog, this is already accomplished. Plus, digging up invasive trees could damage the root system of native trees the owner may want to keep. Rather than risking healthy trees and burning his time, Peterson prefers to mulch the material as he’s clearing it, effectively accomplishing two steps in one.
An Hour Sealed the Deal
At the end of the hour-long test, the customer returned to a neatly cleared and mulched patch. The mulch was finely chopped and consistent and accentuated the keeper trees that remained standing. The customer was so shocked by the quality of the test patch that he hired Peterson for the rest of the day, and offered a long-term contract to return for periodic clearing.
With a couple hundred acres to mulch but no need for a quick turnaround, the customer agreed to let Peterson come clear it as time allowed. The arrangement is a win-win situation: Peterson gets to fit in the job on an as-needed basis, providing a source of work between projects. And since he can do the work one day at a time, he can take more manageable bites out of the massive project. Meanwhile, the customer has a mulching attachment and can do regular maintenance in between clearings.
So, with just one hour of work, Peterson was able to show the customer just what a difference the right equipment makes and secure a work for the foreseeable future.