Well, today I met with the dozer operator and got a better idea of what the project will require. I don’t think I’ll be able to get all I want done for $2k. The biggest worry the operator, Curtis, had was where we are going to put all of the trees once we push them down. He thinks it would take at least 3-4 dozer piles based on the size of the trees. I planned to have him push up a blockade on the eastern side of the plot to cover my access route to the stand I plan to hang, however I think I would still be left with at least 1-2 large dozer piles. He suggested burning as we go, but that will require much more time. Basically, to get a nice clean field with minimal dead trees to deal with, he’s thinking $5-6k. Interestingly enough, I got a bid from someone a year ago to do this same project, and they came in at the same price. Unfortunately, $5-6k just isn’t within my budget this year. I am debating two options at this point: First option would be to have him start with the area directly adjacent to the tree I plan to hang the killing stand from. Essentially, i would tell him to make the biggest, nicest plot adjacent to that stand that I can get for $2k. Pros would be the resulting plot would be picturesque, and could be expanded in future years. Big con would be the resulting plot would be too small to grow soybeans without future expansion. I’ve tried 1 acre size bean plots on this farm before and there is too much browse pressure to be successful. I really think I’ll need the full 3 acres to be successful. Second option would be to have him clear as much as he possibly can, with primary focus on maximizing open ground available for planting, and have him push the trees to the edge of the field except for in a few critical areas to allow deer movement into and out of the plot. Pro would be maximum cleared ground available for planting (likely enough to do soybeans) as soon as possible. Con would be it wouldn’t look very pretty for another year or two until I could get someone back in there to clean things up. I’m going to discuss with the other guys on the farm, but until then I’d love to hear other thoughts.