Setting Fence Posts: Cub Cadet Yanmar

Reader Contribution by Hank Will and Editor-In-Chief
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by Karen Keb

My Partner in Culinary Crime and I have wanted to fence the dogs out of the vegetable garden for some time now. I have cut and stacked the Osage Orange fence posts earmarked for the project; the welded wire is in the barn too. Setting corner fence posts, especially the huge corner and gate fence posts is a chore that’s been waiting for just the right moment to happen. The folks at Cub Cadet Yanmar provided the right opportunity for setting fence posts when they dropped off a backhoe-equipped Model Ex450 tractor at the farm last week. Post-hole augurs work great when the fence posts are straight and true, but when gnarly Osage Orange posts – fresh from the tree – are used, a backhoe makes digging the post hole, and lifting the post into the hole, much easier.

Setting fence posts wasn’t the only chore on tap last weekend. The house needed its lichen- and dust- coated siding pressure washed, and the cattle and sheep needed some new temporary pasture fence set up. But in between those activities and painting the new mudroom, I managed to get three big garden fence posts in the ground. I will probably use the human-powered post-hole digger to make holes for the remaining line posts – one or two an evening this week. Then I will cobble up some Kiwi braces and string the wire. We’re going for the rustic look with this fence and plan to use the posts and wire as trellises for crops and assorted ornamental vines. With any luck, we will fashion an old-time hurdle from native wood for the gates.

The 45 horsepower Cub Cadet Yanmar Ex450’s backhoe attachment was a little overkill for the fencepost setting exercise but it sure made short the hole-digging work. And as a diesel junkie, you know I dug those holes just a little deeper than necessary because that four-cylinder engine’s hum is music to my ears. I have in mind some more appropriate work for the Ex450 – hopefully I will get to it in the next week or two.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines.

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