Tractor attachments have always been a mainstay of large-scale farming, but manufacturers now also offer small farmers and estate managers a wide variety of attachments for compact tractors. Larger farms are more likely than their smaller brethren to use specialised attachments or dedicated, task-specific farm machines matched to their specific crops. Smaller establishments are more apt to rely on attachments with wider applicability.
Several types of mower tractor attachments are available. For compact tractors, a belly-mount mower that attaches to the underside of the tractor carriage is a popular option. Belly-mount mowers provide a neat appearance suitable for lawns. For larger swathes whose aesthetic appearance is less important, a pull-behind mower gets the job done faster.
Front End Loader
Front end loaders are popular attachments for compact tractors. A front end loader is a bucket on the end of an articulating arm that attaches to the front of the tractor. A front end loader can be used to scoop up earth, lift it and then dump it into the bed of a truck. The bucket at the end of the arm can be swapped out for other specialised buckets, a blade, a grapple, a tree spade, a hay bale spear or forklift tines. Blades can also attach directly to the tractor as opposed to the front end loader arm.
Like a front end loader, a backhoe consists of an articulating arm and a bucket. Whereas a loader is designed for lifting and loading, a backhoe is meant for digging. On some makes, such as Bobcat machines, backhoe attachments connect to the front of the tractor. The "back" part of the name actually refers to the action of the bucket, which digs as it comes toward the tractor's body. Many of the attachments meant for front end loaders can also be used with a backhoe arm.
A number of tractor attachments are available for tilling earth depending on the depth of penetration desired. Harrows provide the least penetration, while subsoilers or rippers provide the most. Ploughs, cultivators and rotary tillers give intermediate penetration and come in a variety of designs.
Rakes are available both as front end loader attachments or pull-behinds. A pull-behind rake can be used as an alternative to a harrow for light tilling, and box rakes are useful for levelling and grading. In addition to traditional raking, a front end loader rake is also useful for moving piles of brush or small timber.
Snow Removal Attachments
Many general-purpose tractor attachments can be used for snow removal. Blades will push snow like a plough. Front end loader buckets can push snow as well as move piles. Box rakes and other scraping tools can also be used for snow removal. For light snow, rotary brushes work well. Be careful not to use them on gravel drives, however. Snowblower attachments work well with heavy snow and even drifts, but they clear snow more slowly than the other options.
Hay Baling Attachments
Attachments for standard size hay bales require a full-size tractor with at least a 50-horsepower engine. However, attachments are available for compact tractors that make mini-roll and mini-square bales, which contain approximately 20.4 to 27.2 Kilogram of hay, respectively. According to Graeme R. Quick, author of "The Compact Tractor Bible," hay baling setups also include a sickle bar mower and either a hay tedder or side delivery rake.
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