There was a time when the tractor’s use was pretty much just to pull things — and with specialty hitches, that pulling could be converted to pushing by surrounding the tractor with a rear-hitched frameworks attached to a front grader blade. It’s much more straightforward today.
Twenty-first-century tractors still make excellent mules, but thanks to a lot of standardized engineering today’s tractor is capable of pushing, pulling, carrying and powering all manner of tools that’ll help you get the work done around your place.
One of the most useful mounted tools include the hydraulically operated front-end loader. You can use this implement with a utility bucket to dig, grade, carry, spread, and even remove snow. If you need to handle pallet loads of material, you can mount a set of forks on the front of the loader — want to move large round bales of hay? Swap in a bale spear up front and you are good to go. The tractor’s rear includes a drawbar, which is the thing that you generally hitch the tongue of a wagon to. But that’s not all.
You will also find a standardized hitching system called a 3-point hitch that attaches to specific mounted or semimounted implements at three locations and gives you adjustable positioning capabilities. Look between the 3-point hitch arms and you will find a splined Power Take Off shaft that you can use to power both drawbarpulled and 3-point-hitch mounted attachments such as mowers, tillers and balers. Today’s tractor is a true working partner and fitting it with the right set of tractor attachments will make that initial machinery investment work for you every day.
Watch the full episode! Hank shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The tractor attachments’ hints above appeared in Episode 8, “Leveling the Playing Field.”
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. Connect with him on Google+.