Augers and Drilling Tools

Get expert advice on choosing augers and other drilling tools for projects around your farm that require drilling into the earth down to the frost line.

| July/August 2016

I remember the day my wife and I came home after signing the papers to purchase 80 acres of very rough land. It was something we had wanted to do for a long time, but the reality of knowing that we actually owned the land made me determined to be productive with our purchase.

We sat at the kitchen table and discussed plans that night. I wanted to create an area that would attract wildlife and provide hunting opportunities for our family. I also thought about ways to use the land’s resources to help us make the payments that would be arriving every month. I had read about a growing market for locally produced table and wine grapes in our area, and over a celebratory glass of wine that night, we decided to plant grapevines.

After a lot of research that winter, we settled on varieties of grapes that could withstand our cold winters and short growing seasons in northern Minnesota. I attended several seminars on the basics of planting and growing grapes, which suggested that I would need to fence my vines to protect them from the wildlife I was encouraging to expand on our property. I would also have to build trellises to support the grapevines. What I wasn’t aware of at the time was that to accomplish my trellising and fencing, I would have to dig a lot of postholes – almost 60 of them – for a relatively small 5-acre vineyard.

I’d dug postholes by hand over the years for things like gates, decks and small fences around the house, and I’d driven my share of metal fence posts for wire fences, but the thought of digging all those 6- and 8-inch posts by hand had me a little apprehensive. Our soil was a mix of sandy loam with some clay and rock mixed in.

Where I live in Minnesota, wintertime brings frozen lakes and ice fishing. I own a powered ice auger, and with a little research, I found that I could purchase an Earthworks auger that would fit my Jiffy ice auger power head. With my newly equipped auger attachment and a cover on the power head to protect the carburetor from dust and dirt, I tackled the posthole digging with renewed confidence and was able to get the holes drilled and posts set in time for spring vine planting. I won’t say it was easy work. In fact, at the end of each day, I felt like the auger had won the fight, and most parts of my body ached from the constant vibration and the unexpected jolting when I hit roots or the occasional rock.

Although I complained about the physical abuse I received from the auger, I might have been digging holes for weeks if I would’ve had to dig them by hand with a clam shell or manual posthole auger.

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