Get More From Your ATV

Save money by turning your all-terrain vehicle into a top hand.

| September/October 2008

As a hard-core tractor guy, I couldn’t imagine any use for an ATV around the farm other than riding fences and checking cows. In a pinch, I figured the capable little vehicles could be used to drag a feeder or pull a small cart, but it never occurred to me that the ATV would become my tool of choice for everything from preparing the garden to shredding fields and pushing snow. As I learned firsthand this past year, there are few chores you can’t ask an ATV to do, and in many cases, it will do them faster and with less wear and tear on the operator. For example, recently I hitched the DR Field and Brush Cutter to the 2008 Polaris Sportsman 500 X2 to knock down a few thistles growing on the side of a rocky draw. I was amazed at how quickly the work went and how much the ATV’s suspension absorbed the plentiful bumps. Even with my tractor’s high-quality, suspended seat, I felt more than a little beat up after mowing the same area last year with that piece of machinery.

With the day’s field mowing finished early, I connected Agri-Fab’s trailing rotary tiller to the ATV’s drawbar and tilled in some green manure (euphemism for weeds) in the garden, where the lettuce and peas were now finished. That chore took so little time that I spent the rest of the day sitting in the shade with Kate, my wife, pondering the size and layout of a proposed new pole building. 

Mowers and tillers are just the tip of the ATV toolkit, though. No matter what you need to pull, push, haul or plant, there is an appropriate add-on that’ll turn your ATV into the top hand at your farm.

Rough cut mower

Whether you have 20 acres of meadow to maintain, or clip your pastures after the cattle are moved off, there is an ATV mower that’ll suit all but the largest of operations. We mowed scores of acres with both the Kunz Engineering and DR Power products and found them to be capable of cutting in less-than-ideal, rough-country conditions at speeds up to 10 miles per hour. Both of these machines are trailing-type mowers with their own engines, and both are economical to run, shredded tree seedlings, and offered offset drawbars so that the ATV could run in the previously mowed area. Polaris and Swisher also offer front-mounted self-powered mowers that can be used at speeds up to about 4 miles per hour (for more on rough-cut mowers see “Mowing Machine Mania” in our May/June issue). Additional rough-cut ATV mowers are available from Agri-Fab, Swisher, QuadBoss, Cycle Country and others. Check on the Web or with your local ATV dealer for more information.

Finish-cut mower

Although not ideal for small, tree-populated lawns, a pull- or push-type finish-cut mower is worth considering if you have a relatively large and relatively open lawn you want to keep looking its best. We spent some time with the Kunz Pro60K 60-inch- cut finish mower, and it made short work of the lawn chores and was easy enough to navigate around the well-spaced trees at our farm. This particular mower also tackled a few volunteer seedlings growing along the fence line, and it might be all the mower you need if your rough-country mowing isn’t too rough. Look for other finish-cut mowers for your ATV from Swisher, Cycle Country, QuadBoss and others.

Snowplow and front grader blades

As a snow-removal tool, the snowplow-equipped ATV is hard to beat, especially if it has four-wheel-drive. As a dirt-working tool, the front-blade-equipped ATV also works well when pushing relatively loose material such as gravel or topsoil. We spent the winter with Swisher’s 50-inch plow blade mounted to the company’s QuickSwitch™ attachment system (see “Quick Change Artist” below), and it made short work of moving snow. The Swisher system, like most, requires the ATV to be equipped with a winch. Our Polaris wasn’t delivered with a winch, but installing an inexpensive Venom model was easy. Look for other front blades from makers like ACI, Warn, American Manufacturing, Curtis, Moose and many others. Unlike most makes, the ACI SnowSport plow doesn’t require a winch.

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