Compact Tractor Attachments

By Justin Tahilramani June 21, 2018 23:13

Compact Tractor Attachments

You’ve finally purchased the brand new (or slightly pre-loved) tractor of your dreams and it’s time to start tackling all of the projects that helped justify your purchase. As you contemplate each project you wonder if there are compact tractor attachments for your new tractor that will make each project just a little bit easier on you. Well – you’re in luck! We went ahead and compiled a list of the most popular tractor attachments for your new rig!


Front-End Loader

Front-end Loader

Digging a pond with a front-end loader. Picture by bindian.

Without a doubt one of the most popular compact tractor attachments out there is the front-end loader. It adds a level of utility to your tractor that is simply can’t be matched by other implements. Traditionally used for transporting dirt, sand and rock – a front-end loader can also be used for minor site preparation and grading. Opting for a loader equipped with a Quick Attach Mounting Plate will make installation and removal of FEL implements a breeze.


Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutter

Reclaiming land with a rotary cutter. Picture by bullbreaker.

If you’re like most land owners, you have areas of your property that are overgrown with brush and weeds. This is where a rotary cuter really shines. Designed for use in rough and overgrown areas, rotary cutters of the medium to heavy duty variety can typically handle bushes and saplings up to three inches in diameter. Caution should be exercised whenever using a rotary cutter as rocks, branches and other debris can be discharged from the rear of the cutter. A properly installed chain guard will greatly reduce the chance of injury or damage to property. Bottom line: the rotary cutter is one of the most popular compact tractor attachments.


Box Blade

Box Blade

Box blade in action. Photo by jebster54.

A box blade is the preferred implement for smoothing rough terrain and filling in low spots. If you live in an area with hard or compacted soils, you may consider opting for a box blade equipped with adjustable shanks that rip into the soil and loosen in up. A box blade works by collecting excess material in a three sided metal box and redistributing it over lower spots. Although some box blades are designed to be utilized in both forward and reverse, caution should be used when “pushing” a box blade as it can cause damage to your tractors three point hitch. When it comes to box blades – the old adage “practice makes perfect” certainly holds true. Don’t be surprised if your first few attempts produce less than desired results. With enough practice you will master the art (and the science) of using your box blade.


Pallet Forks

Pallet forks doing some heavy lifting. Photo by Porchfan.

When it comes to moving heavy objects, you’ll never regret having pallet forks at your disposal. Depending on the size of your tractor, and your anticipated use, you can opt for lighter duty clamp on forks that attach to a standard bucket or traditional quick attach pallet forks, which are intended for heavier loads. To further the versatility of your forks – optional hay spears are available on many models that make moving round hay bales a breeze! With a little ingenuity (and research on TBN) – you may even find some not-so traditional uses for your pallet forks! No wonder this is one of the most useful compact tractor attachments.


Snow Blower

Front mounted snow blower. Picture by robstaples.

You can try clearing the snow from your driveway with a front-end loader, box blade or rear blade – but why? There’s an implement for that! Available in both front mounted and rear mounted variants, a snow blower can make quick work of deep snow. A rotating augur pulls snow into the blower and discharges it out an adjustable chute.


Rear Blade

Rear blade at work. Picture by cat feaver.

Make easy work of road maintenance and ditch work with one of the most useful compact tractor attachments, the rear blade. The ability to off-set, angle, and tilt the blade ensures that you can achieve precise results every time. The rear blade is especially effective with “pulling” excess gravel from road sides and ditches and re-distributing it onto the road where it belongs. To achieve the best results, ensure that your rear blade is wide enough that it covers the tractors rear wheels when it’s set at an angle. Most owners have at least one rear blade in their arsenal of compact tractor attachments.


Grapple

Cleaning up with the grapple. Picture by snowback.

If you have ever tried to pick up irregularly shaped objects with your tractor’s loader bucket – you know that it can be an exercise in futility. The grapple solves this by using a lid that opens and closes with hydraulic cylinders. Grapples come in many different configurations including single lid and double lid. In order to maximize utility, you will want to size your grapple according to the lift capacity of your tractor.


Rotary Tiller

Rotary tiller prepping the field. Picture by BriansXR3037.

Make quick work of food plot preparation with the use of a rotary tiller. Farmers have used tillers since the early 1900’s to prepare soil for planting. Although there have been many design improvements over the years, the principles of the rotary tiller remain largely unchanged. Tillers break up and aerate the soil, allowing for a better environment for seeds to germinate and grow.


Post Hole Digger

Post hole digger. Picture by onetrackmind.

Let’s face it – digging holes is back breaking and monotonous work. So when it comes to compact tractor attachments, this is one of those that you might not use that often, but when you use it you absolutely love it. Luckily there’s an attachment for your tractor that can handle most of the digging for you! Post hole diggers use the tractors PTO and three point hitch to drive an auger into the ground – leaving you with a perfectly round hole.


Landscape Rake

Clearing debris with a landscape rake. Picture by EverythingAttachments.

Landscape rakes, also referred to as york rakes, are effective tools for clearing roots and debris from fields. Additionally, they can be used for grooming unimproved roads and trails. Most landscape rakes can be angled to either side to assist with moving material in a particular direction. With heavy use the tines can become damaged, so look for a rake with tines that are easily replaceable.


Land Plane

Land plane road maintenance Picture by Gordon Gould.

When it comes to driveway and road maintenance, it doesn’t get much easier than using a land plane to achieve professional results. Although it’s a one trick pony, the land plane is extremely easy to use, which is why it’s often preferred over a box blade or rear blade for this type of work. The land plane uses a pair of angled cutting edges to fill in holes, level high spots and reclaim gravel. For extremely hard packed roads, some models have adjustable shanks that help loosen the road base for better results.


Finish Mower

Rear mounted finish mower. Picture by rlgustafson.

If you already have well maintained fields that need to be cut throughout the year, you may want to opt for a finish mower over a brush hog. Finish mowers are specifically designed to cut grass in a uniform and consistent manner. Most finish mowers come equipped with anti-scalp wheels that allow the mower to contour the land without inadvertently cutting into the ground and damaging the grass. Depending upon the make and model of your tractor, a mid-mount mower may be available, which is more suitable for use in tight areas. For larger areas, or tractors that aren’t equipped to handle a mid-mount finish mower, rear mount finish mowers are also available.


Flail Mower

Flail mower ready for work. Picture by DocDryden.

If the brush hog is too rough and the finish mower is too precise, the flail mower might be just right! Flail mowers use a rotating drum and knives to mow just about anything in their path. Flail mowers can handle trash, small debris and weeds without fear of damage, which is why many highway maintenance crews choose flail mowers over brush hogs or finish mowers. This versatility comes at a cost as the results that a flail mower provides is in-between that of a brush hog and a finish mower.


Backhoe

Stump removal with a tractor mounted backhoe. Picture by Muxster.

When it comes to digging, nothing compares to a backhoe. The digging capability of a tractor’s front-end loader is limited at best so if you plan on using your tractor to dig – a backhoe is a must have attachment. From trenching in water lines and drain tile to digging ponds and cleaning out ditches, the uses for a backhoe are only limited by your imagination. Although universal backhoes that attach to a tractor’s three-point hitch are available, the preferred option is a sub-frame mounted backhoe. Sub-frame backhoes are stronger, easier to mount and remove, and are designed to reduce the likelihood of damaging the tractor during use.


Disc Harrow

Disc harrow at work. Picture by Jeff9366.

The disc harrow is arguably one of the most iconic attachments that you can own for your tractor. The disc harrow uses multiple round blades set at an angle to break up soil, chop up existing crops, and prepare soil for planting crops.


Plow

Tractor plow. Picture by tylertown.

Tractor plows are primarily used to prepare gardens for planting. The plow is designed to break up hard ground and roll grass and other organic material down to the bottom of the ditch . The organic material is left to decompose and fertilize the newly planted crop. Plows are available in many different sizes, so it’s important to size the plow according to the tractor that will pull it. The plow is not the most popular of compact tractor attachments because the tiller gets the job done with power, and you need a lot of tractor to pull a plow. Also, there’s a bit of a learning curve to set up your plow for best results.


Front Blade

Curtis snow plow blade on a John Deere Tractor, posted by NorthernMainer.

Front blades attach to a tractors front-end loader and can be used to push sand, dirt, gravel and even snow. Most front blades can be angled left and right in order to assist with back filling trenches and removing snow from roads. When using a front blade, it’s important to remember that a tractor is not a bulldozer. Over stressing the tractors front-end loader can cause serious damage to the loader arms and mounting brackets.


Broadcast Spreader

Tractor mounted broadcast spreader. Picture by Roto.

When it’s time to overseed or fertilize the fields – a broadcast spreader will make quick work of an otherwise daunting task. Available in pull behind and three point hitch versions, spreaders can be used for pelletized lime, salt, sand, fertilizer and seed. Some spreaders are designed for a specific use, so ensure that the spreader you select will work for your needs.


4-in-1 Bucket

4-in-1 bucket. Picture by KennyV.

High on the wish list for compact tractor attachments is the 4-in-1 bucket. As the name implies, the 4-in-1 bucket allows the operator utilize one implement to tackle jobs that would normally take four different attachments to accomplish. The 4-in-1 bucket opens and closes using hydraulic cylinders and can scrape, dump, grab and dig. This saves both time and money as the operator does not have to switch between multiple attachments to get the job done.


Quick Hitch

Quick hitch used with a middle buster. Picture by Henri88.

If you’re like most people, the thought of switching between the rotary cutter and the box blade is enough to make you think twice about putting the work off for another day. The quick hitch turns the once daunting tasks of swapping compact tractor attachments into a process that’s as simple as backing up your tractor to a quick hitch implement, lifting the three point hitch, locking the levers on the quick hitch and you’re done!

By Justin Tahilramani June 21, 2018 23:13
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1 Comment

  1. Pontific8 November 15, 21:49

    I find the “Ratchet Rake” (check out ratchetrake.com) one of my very favorite attachments! I use (2) Peerless ProLok66 Adjustable Lever Binder with Self-Locking Handle for quickest attachment and security to my bucket.

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