No Backhoe? No Problem! How to Dig Without a Backhoe

Most tractor owners have a backhoe somewhere on their wish list. But with a steep price tag and often only occasional uses, on that wish list is where the backhoe will remain for a while.

So how do tractor owners handle digging when the need does arise? Well that’s easy. Improvise.

In this article we’ve found a handful of ways that tractors can dig without a backhoe. Some are pretty nifty…

1. Digging With Your Front-End Loader

Technically, you can do a lot of digging with just your loader. Check out how deep this hole is, dug by BabyGrand in CT. He said he took about an inch off every pass and uncovered thick clay soil.


  • I’ve done this myself. And yes, it takes longer than it would with a backhoe, but not that long, and it’s a hell of a lot faster than digging by hand.

  • I’ve used a method that deserves a look when burying a pipe. A long ripper shank is first used to clear a desired path. Then, tie the connected length of pipe to the tip of the ripper and follow the path, sinking it all the way down. the pipe follows remarkably and is buried thereby with little ground disturbance. It is of course limited to the depth of the ripper shank. Oh, and be sure there are no OTHER buried lines. CALL first!

  • This is how I clean my ditches on my farm track.The track is steep, measured at 30 degrees, and about 2 km long.

  • I’ve dug many good size watering holes with my tractor loader over the years. Just takes a bit of learning the tricks, but can save you a ton of cash!

  • Need info whether the backhoe shown is powered
    from the tractor PTO connection…Have a Ford 1975.
    2000 series tractor….If it does, provide me price & availibility /location….Richard Gregory, Evans, Ga

  • True DrBRT…….LIVED IN CT all my life…….Rocks, rocks and more rocks? I wick I had a thumb for my Mahindra 22 max.

  • Here in Northwest Arkansas you’d be bouncing off rocks at a depth of 1 inch or less. Very little clear dirt here unless you find a frequently flooded field.

    Nice to see folks able to do that though.

  • That’s called a plough/plow. It’s been around roughly 2000 years.

  • Will a compact/sub compact tractor be able to do this. . Doubt it . . Will try . . But wanted to hear feedback

  • I did it with my little Ford 1110 compact tractor 13 horsepower hi low 8 speeds 4 wheel drive did good on my waterline I got it below freezing line Curtis

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