Tractor “Lessons Learned”
#15 Bucket Size Matters!
Especially with backhoe buckets, the size matters. If you have clay soil, small buckets might be too small for the soil to easily fall out of. Might want to get a wider bucket if your soil requires—or a smaller if your main jobs are narrow trenching. As for loader buckets, extra width is usually only good for light duty applications. Light duty loader buckets are also more prone to bend over time if you use them for heavy duty stuff.
Bought a boom pole. Stored it for years. Sold it for yard art to another tractor owner who thought he needed it. I’m with you, If you have a loader, spend your money elsewhere.
I don’t see any mower in this pic. Looks more like that tree pulled it over when it fell the wrong way.
I have a Kubota L45 with a backhoe. You can dismount from the backhoe end, and once when I did so, my un-tucked-in shirt went over the boom swing control lever and moved the boom towards where I was dismounting and could easily have crushed me. Tuck your shirt in!
I don’t have a loader attachment and use the boom pole to lift and move things. I’ve used it for moving engines, transmissions, differentials and whatever.
B brother in law and I both owned a Ford 3000. Lever on floor, left side somehow ends up under our pants leg. Luckily, I hold on to somethin when I get off, BIL didn’t. When he fell, he broke his toe and eventually had it amputated after a year of infection and pain.
AWESOME! We need more safety information shared to customers. Tractors are fun and can help productivity but Tractor Safety is nothing to fool around with. Things can happen very fast and put you in dangerous situation quickly often too quickly. Would love to see more TBN features on Safe Tractor & Implement Operation Tips. We can share enough…why we did a video after hearing a disastrous story on skid steer quick attach not being latched and injured a dealer salesman…that should know better. But we all do it. Please keep sharing Safe Operating Tips! Here is video we did on Quick Attach Safety: https://youtu.be/3TnERDiFitI
Remember that there is no such thing as overkill…period.
I use my boom pole often. It is the only tool I have for lifting implements on to trailers and I find it much easier to use for moving implements around than hooking them up and unhooking them, because hooking them up requires close alignment.
I used boom to set cross ties when i was building a pasture. If you dont have front end loader there are many uses for boom poles to pick up implements, ect.
Those ROPS are really dangerous if you mow around trees. Good way to get your head cut off.
I have had more trouble with it up caching on tree limes and bring the front end up in the air. mind is always down for that reason.
I used a boom pole to set cross ties when fencing a pasture. Guess you forget some folks may not have front end loaders. The are handy for picking up lots of things too heavy to handle by hand.
I use my boom pole mounted to the loader bucket. I also have a small winch I also can attach to the bucket. I used them to lift and set the post for my pole barn and to set the trusses. I use it to remove and install my 5th wheel hitch between trips. I have used many times lifting and setting various things.
Yea ROPS are real safe when mowing under trees. Good way to pinch your head off.
Several years ago I had both rear tires on my JD 401C replaced. The shop guy asked me if I wanted them balanced. “BALANCED”, says I? I want them filled with the heaviest water you can find. End of conversation.
I have a 40hp tractor. I use the pole all the time. I don’t have a back hoe. I use the pole to arrange my STUFF in the pole barn for the winter, need a bigger barn. I move trees every year with it, works great. I added a wench & now can reach an extra 40ft back into the woods that the tractor cannot fit . Some times a tree falls into a drainage ditch that I need to get out, pole works great.
Really good tips. Thanks
This needs to be an ongoing list! There are certainly many tractor related near miss and disasters that are total surprises and a mention may save someone’s bacon.
Mine: Never drag a chain or cable when clearing debris. Happened 50 plus years ago but still fits. Just as the turn was made to attach to the next bunch of debris the chain snagged a stump. The angle of tension was 90 degrees to the tractor which flipped over immediately. No injury but too close!
Buy a skid steer adapter and bolt your 3 point boom to it and get more use out of it. I can use it on my Kubota L4400 or on my CAT skid steer. It sure comes in handy when it is mounted on the front, you can see what your are doing and get more flexibility from the boom.
A note on #10. You should never try to jump a dead battery in the winter unless you just drained it down trying to start your vehicle. A frozen battery will explode if connected to a charger or other battery, and plastic parts along with battery acid can go everywhere. Very very dangerous. It didn’t happen to me, but I did see it happen to a friend many years ago, and it’s scary to see the results…
Branson 3510i has PTO knob with a big handle right about knee high. Can’t count how many times my leg touched it and kicked it on. Cut off the handle to where it’s now just a round knob, no longer an issue…. I never used the foot throttle, so that is disengaged after getting stuck on too many times with ice or mud or clumsy boots.
After too many incidents of two wheels up off the ground with something heavy in the front end loader on slightly uneven ground, I spent half a day flipping all my wheels and wheel hubs around on this Branson 3510i for maximum width. Way way more stable, and still fits on my trailer. You can get wheel spacers for the fronts so they still line up with the rears and only create one track in the dirt.
When I did not have a front end loader used my boom attachment for moving heavy objects, it was very useful for unloading things from the back of my truck like engine blocks, tractor implements ect. Not everyone has a front end loader so this is still a useful piece of equipment for them that doesn’t cost a lot.
Use my boom pole to raise/lower my chain harrow when transporting from field to field.
I used my Boom Pole a lot for all kind of lifting jobs .
then I bought a tractor a few years later with a bucket on front of it and the Boom pole is not needed now .
I love Roy697’s comment, The many visuals that came to mind, adding a wench to his ah “pole”, We take it’s the 3pt lifting pole but having a wench attached could have some health and safety issues and she may not appreciate being used in such a manner, Ha-ha
Wear pants. Seriously. I was wearing cargo shorts on more than one occasion and snagged a lever with the shorts getting on or off. Luckily I didn’t engage/disengage/idle up/down/raise/lower or break anything. Almost went assoverteakettle though. Lesson learned.
Also, watch you knee swinging into the operators platform. Luckily I still have a key and working ignition switch!
A boom pole is extremely useful for lifting up large items like a 4′ x 8′ sheet of metal or any time a long reach is needed.
the lodged tree says it all. The good lord looks after wannabe farmers / loggers
Kubota L4400 hydrostatic. Can’t tell you how many times my ass kicked the lever for low/medium/high out of gear and allows the tractor to free wheel. There is no flat ground where I live, so once out of gear, very quickly starts rolling out of control.
I fixed it by welding tabs in the slot in order to index the speed ranges. Warned Kubota about it twice, with a never heard of that happening before response. It’s a very dangerous fault with the L series. This is my 7th Kubota, always loved the product prior to this.
By the way, I have a boom pole that I use in retrieving logs and hoisting large stoned for walling work. I also have a front end loader and backhoe attachments.
It would be nice if comments were linked to an image. What was the ”lesson” with the tractor tipped over in the woods? Why not explain what happened and turn it into a lesson for the rest of us?
I would strongly disagree with putting a spinner on a tractor without power steering, when a front wheel hits something at the right angle the steering wheel can spin two revolutions in less than a second. Power steering serves as a buffer against this.
I use my boom pole for scalding hogs when we butcher them
I have a boom pole that I have had for over 20 years. It gets used mainly to lift me up and put me on or in something else. I am a paraplegic and it is just the easiest way to get on mower, dozer, or into my fishing boat. I have also used it to move implements around.
I use my John Deere tractor with a front and loader for many jobs.But every year I have to put in sections of dock for my house at the lake, and I have to take them out in the fall. The boom pole is much safer and gives a lot more control when I lift the sections. Also I can see exactly what I’m doing without a bucket in the way.
I just started using my boom pole for dragging logs. Mounted logging tongs to it. Sometimes I don’t need to get off the tractor to catch a log and go.
Welded 3 weld-on chain hooks to the top of my loader bucket. Very handy!
I use mine for moving tree trunks.
I use my boom pole for placing large landscape rocks, I don’t have a backhoe
That home made boom pole is a very poor design. Useful for lifting stock or bodies out of a creek or well.
Very familiar to me, seems like I can never find my 10 mm sockets, very many applications for this tool.
The email notification that I received about this article was a typical TBN deception. I wanted to know how the John Deere with the loader and blade incident caused it to tip over. The article didn’t say, as the email stated it would. No wonder I don’t visit this website very often.
I’ve sold tractors and heavy equipment for a living for 30 years now before that I farmed cotton and cattle. I cant count my own customers that put that darn loader all the way up WITH and without a load now some of them should know better as they are older and have been farming almost as long as I’ve been alive but they know better.
Used a boom pole for years to load and unload about everything. Yes they need to be used with care, but are a useful item to have. once I purchased a tractor with a loader I gave the boom pole to a friend. He was happy to get it.
Money is used for trading time, equipment and talents between people. Pay for help and charge for your time. In the end it may work out to be a zero sum gain but at least there is a fair accounting. If someone expects you to work for nothing…see it for what it is.
From the picture I would say that the tractor should have been in line with the ?. I Know that this is not possible without a long cable, but is the way I would have done it. Alot of circumstances could come into play here such as why he had to toe onto the tree in the first place!
I have used my boom pole many times paying for its minimal costs many times over. Could I have found another solution, sure, but it was not as efficient. Some examples: Pulling a fence line of T posts, dragging logs, placing large boulders in creek protecting against bank erosion, moving large heavy objects that the FEL does not provide adequate horizontal clearance for. I believe I spent $160.00 for it…a real deal for usable yard art.
I use my boom pole to pull logs out of the woods. I have lots of hilly terrain, so I have to be careful. I hook a chain to the end of the log and to my drawbar. Then I hook another chain to the log and to my boom pole. I can lift the end of the log, making it much easier to pull. And, if I start to slide, I can drop the log and it digs into the dirt and stops me from sliding downhill. I also use it to pull things–much easier than having to back up pulling a post or tree with the loader. And, surprisingly, when lifting a load at the limit of my boom pole’s weight, I can get underneath it and push it up with my back. You can’t do that with a loader.
used boom one time to set 39′ wide joist onto 12′ tall wall plate when building my garage.
That boom pole thing is so funny. I thought, “Hey you could use that to pull a motor out of a car. Then, I remembered that I had done that with my bucket and a chain. Even though I had an engine crane on hand.
The one in that Pic looks dangerously oversized for that tractor too. Maybe you could fish with it?
A boom mounted with some chains to the edges makes moving my 10′ by 10′ chain harrow with pick up and then dropping to the ground to drag easy.
Boom pole used to remove and install the shell on my 3/4 ton pickup… I made a removable “T” platform which I bolt to the business end of the boom, back the tractor/boom into the open back of the shell and lift slightly… then I drive the truck out from under the shell.
If you want something done YOUR WAY then do it yourself. Right has nothing to do with doing it yourself.
Your photo of the blue tractor shows what is commonly known as a suicide knob on the steering wheel. I had it on a JD 318 garden tractor because the type of steering moved the wheel around so it was never in the same place. I went to mow up a bank where a water line had just been buried and reseeded and I was mowing the long grass for the first time. Done it for years going uphill. Didn’t realize the angle of the bank was now steeper than previously. Near the top, the front end of the tractor came up and over on top of me in less than a second. I survived by pushing off with my legs when I felt the back of the seat hit and the tractor was straight up in the air and it tipped it to the side, throwing me off. The knob cracked some ribs and also hit the inside of my left thigh turning my entire leg back and blue. Took me 6 weeks to recover. I got my other compact to right the 318 which was leaking gasoline. I knew I wasn’t bleeding but the adrenaline masked the bruises.
I mow with the ROPS up and seatbelt on when I’m on a slope. On flat ground under trees the ROPS is more of a hazard than an asset, especially when it catches on a low limb and brings the tree top crashing down on you.
Other lessons – always set the parking brake before using the backhoe. There is a sequence of actions that needs to be followed religiously. Shuttle to neutral, brake on, bucket down, rotate seat, outriggers down – now move the boom. Got in a hurry, didn’t set the brake, shirt sleeve caught the shuttle lever and put the tractor in gear as I was rotating the seat. Not good.
When I was young, I worked for an old fellow who got very angry at me for something I’d done while hitching up the spreader. He sped off to finish the job and yelled at me to get inside, have my breakfast and he’d talk to me later. His wife had overheard, and told me the story while I ate..
Back when they’d bought their first tractor, he’d been real loud about how much better they were going to be than the horses his Father had hung onto for ‘too damn long’ – the old man didn’t trust machinery, or electricity, but that was a different story- and on a real cold morning had gone out to run the new spreader with the new tractor. Jumping down to clean out a few lumps that had stuck, he stepped over the pto shaft, which caught the cuff of his heavy duck coveralls and sucked him in- and around once- before the seam ripped and pulled the entire garment right off him, finally stalling the motor. He staggered to the house bruised and bleeding, but alive, and never went near a tractor again.
I got a lecture that day about tractor safety, and to NEVER step over a pto shaft- running or not! It was his sense that if you got used to doing it at all, someday when you were tired or not thinking, you’d do it while it was running. Since then I’ve probably put in 5 miles of walking *around* things rather than stepping over that shaft, but I’ve never forgot the lesson.
I have an earlier RHINO auger that I put on the L3130DT Kubota. Mounting and demounting that damned thing is like wrestling a Five Hundred Pound NOODLE… it has a mind of it’s own; hell bent on EATING whatever fingers may be close. Ultimately, I discovered the ONLY [safe] way of putting it ON and OFF, was using an engine hoist with a thick-wall pipe “pole”… Now, it’s slower, but I still have all TEN of my digits, and only use a “portion” of my nautical vocabulary.
Tom in CO
One very important fact is to be sure the Boom Pole is built and hopefully tested by a reputable manufacturer. Stay clear of ‘home made Boom poles’ with mystery material and questionable welds.
ALWAYS come down a ladder on a machine FACING the ladder, and do not carry pets or kids.
Use my boom pole (we call it a crane) when I butcher sheep/cattle/. Also for pulling out metal standards and posts. Planning to use it to pull out my deep well pump too. It’s a very handy tool, especially if you have a good snib chain.
I have a boom pole and it basically has only one job. I use it to lift and lower a heavy drag harrow when we recondition out pastures. It’s great for that and pretty much lives its life hooked up to it.
I use my boom pole to put the front mount snow blower in my little storage shed over the summer. I also use it get the box blade out for the summer. Works great to get the items out of the storage shed and back and forth to the garage. It was free and I don’t have a FEL as I live in town, but needed a bigger tractor and snow blower.
The half tipped over tractor with the boom 3/4s of the way in the air is one thing. Looking in the back ground at the hand falling skills….From the looks of things there is no undercut in the tree that is hung up. Only do the back cut no under cut when you are cutting down fence posts and can push over by hand…..6 inch butt max. A tree that size…..Sketchy doesn’t cover it. IMHO This person is lucky to have made it back to the tractor
Would have been nice to see Boom pole attatchment in the first of the comments – also would be nice to see pic of boom pole attached to loader bucket as described in one comment.
When using my 4WD front loader tractor to either lift or drag something, I cannot tell you the number of times I have had the tractor up on one front wheel ready to tip over. The first time I was cleaning my pond, wet heavy dirt on the bank, tractor came up on one wheel while backing up. I thought it was going to flip upside down in the pond. As I stood up to jump off the tractor to the left I stepped on the clutch, which took the tension off the drive line and the tractor flopped back down on all wheels. Now I keep my foot on the clutch when trying to move something heavy, especially on hills
Used my boom pole to set trusses with skid loader with 3pt adaptor.
The near misses I have experienced involve my hat and tree limbs mostly. Equipment is hard on a hat sometimes. I adapted my bucket to accommodate a boom. Needed extra height for setting rafters in a barn. Used it this way for a few other things since then. Handy.