Blower vs. Plow

Bob_Young

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2002
Messages
1,180
Location
North of the Fingerlakes - NY
Tractor
Ford 4000; Ford 2000(both 3cyl.);JD40; 2004 Kubota L4300; 2006 Kubota B7610; new 2007 Kubota MX5000
I lost my enthusiasm for snow blowers the winter I had responsibility for keeping the snow cleared from a country airstrip. The equipment was a NH TV140 Bi-directional with 105HP and HST. The blower was a 9ft. 2-stage Woods running at a PTO speed of 1000RPM.

I tried several times to put that thing to good use, and it was JUST.TOO.SLOW. In 14" powder, I could make about 0.6mph. That just wasn't going to work with a North-South 4000'x75' runway, not to mention a taxiway, turnoffs and ramp. Luckily it had a warm toasty cab, so I didn't freeze to death....the problem was staying awake.

As bad as the speed, was the fact that I was at the mercy of the wind. That winter it blew continuously from the west for nearly two full months. Every morning found the West edge of the runway drifted in. Throwing snow into that wind was hopeless; the cab was plastered in 20 seconds and I was on instruments. Throwing it East meant it had to go across the entire runway and leave very little mess on the pavement. That didn't work well either; though the sight must've been impressive because people would stop to watch and take pictures whenever I tried it. And did it drink fuel...glad the county was paying for it.

Finally, around the end of January, I parked the blower and used a pusher on the NH to clear the ramp and a Chevy dumptruck with a Western blade to clear the runway and taxiways. Worked much better and, unless it was snowing continuously, I usually had the place pretty much cleaned up by noon.

Now, tractor/snowblower experts, this poor performance may have been my fault. I could monitor the PTO RPM on the NH. I also had enough power reserve to bring it back up to rated RPM when it got loaded down....but was reluctant to do so. Usually what I'd do is set it to 1000RPM, hit the snow and keep increasing ground speed until PTO RPM had dropped maybe 20%. Then I'd give it more throttle to bring it back to 1000 and then keep it there. I might push up tractor speed a bit after that, but wouldn't let PTO RPM drop below 900 and wouldn't add more throttle. My goal was to get through the winter without breaking anything.

My question is; should I have kept pouring the coal to it whenever it loaded down and kept pushing the tractor speed up until I had no more power reserve?
Bob
 

ronjhall

Super Star Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2000
Messages
13,232
Location
SW Oakland County Michigan
Tractor
Kubota 2910 HST
I have a blower, rear blade and front blade. The front blade is by far the fastest way to move up to 24" of snow. I have 250' of drive to clear. But do several of the neighbors drives and a 2000' 2 lane road. I have cleared all the drives and road in about 1 hour with my B2910 tractor. No way would I want to clear the road with a snowblower. One neighbor has a circle drive. The blower works very well cleaning the drive off. But I seem to be playing with the chute all the time to keep from blowing snow where it is not wanted.
I only use the rear blade as counter weight. My neck and back gets to sore turning around watching the rear blade.
 

rebuilder

Bronze Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2006
Messages
52
Location
WNY
Tractor
Ford 861
[QUOTE=Bob_YoungIn 14" powder, I could make about 0.6mph.

Wow, that seems incredible. I've run a 66" two stage on an old Ford 861 for over 30 years in Buffalo (including January of '77) and except for extreme circumstances I can run as fast as reverse gear will take me. I think ya needed to get the deer carcass out of the drive chain or something. 14" of powder shouldn't even nudge the TV 140 awake, let alone bog it down.

As for the original question, much as I love my blower, you're better off with a simple rear blade in your neck of the woods. Grandpa and Dad both used the blade and it worked fine, except in heavy snow years we'd run out of room to put the snow.
 

WayneB

Elite Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
2,829
Location
New Hampshire
Tractor
Kubota B-7500
ToadHill said:
Wayne, we get plenty of snow in Catt County NY. My drive is 300 ft long and I use a backblade to move the snow. When the piles on the edge of the drive get too high I use an old snowblower I bought at an auction for $150. I attach it to the 3pt hitch and run it along the edges to blow the snow about 50 ft. away. So far I've only had to use the blower about twice each year. The blade is a lot faster than using a blower for the usual snow fall, usual being no more than 18".

Paul, I am not sure where Catt County is? We have a place up near Potsdam NY and spend three seasons there, one not being Winter. although we go up there once or twice during the winter just to check things out. Snow isn't the big problem there just the cold weather.

I often wonder how people move snow back in the snowbelt area? Around here we have the woods and stone walls to deal with and during winters where we get lots of snow I find myself out there moving banks back and thinking this stuff will never melt away. I am looking into a 3pt hitch snowblower, but today it is cool (31 degrees) but the sun is out and the ground isn't frozen yet! go figure. Tough to sell the idea of buying a snowblower when I should be out raking up what I didn't finish last fall.

The few times I have used a snowblower I found I was getting hit with tons of snow and would come in looking like a snowman. The way I see it is I get a Grand L with heated cab and front mounted snowblower, but I not sure how to sell the idea at home.

regards,

Wayne
 

zzvyb6

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
4,409
Location
michigan
Tractor
jd 1070

From my perspective here in central Michigan, the plow wins every time. Ground speed is the key factor. I do 800' of driveway and both directions of a 3/4 mile county road just to get out on the main highway. I can do a few neighbor's drives at the same time. The blower is great for snow dispersal way off the road but the reverse gear limit just kills you. You could even try to argue that mounting up the machine is easier, but the plow wins every time in moderate to deep snow, here. You need some weight and 4wd to get the most out of it but you already have that. I'm amused by people who are crawling down their driveways going 3 mph backwards to use their expensive pto blowers but if you have a life other that clearing a 300' driveway get a 4wd truck and a tractor mounted plow. You win very time.:)
 

joe48

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2004
Messages
363
Location
Rochester,NY
Tractor
Kioti CK20HST
ok, I'll throw in my $.02 now. (Goofing off today ,take a break from work)

My snow experience goes back to the 60's on the farm in the Fingerlakes(NY).
The older folks will remember the blizzards then ,especially 66. We were snowed in for 10 days and were dumping milk($), until the town opened the road with a D8 bulldozer for the milk truck. We only had a JD630 and loader(trip bucket) for snow duty until '63, then a welding shop made a blade from an oil tank for the loader , boy was that an improvement! We had 2 big barnyards and drives and 3 neighbors , one with a 1/4 mile drive to care for. Many times Pa would be plowing snow from morning milking till nite milking, or until one us boys got home from school to give him a break.

The engineering response is right on,(my degree in Agr engineering), whether you're blowing snow ,corn silage, wood chips, etc. Its all about blade tip speed and air velocity.

I have a Kioti CK20HST and have been handling the snow in Rochester NY just fine the last few years with(in chronological order of acquisition),the loader, a 7' back blade from TSC(barely used $150) , an old 7' meyers truck plow(used $50), and just dying to get enough snow to use my new 5' SMYTH blower purchased from TSC last spring. The blower was new list at $1895, on clearance in spring for $1200, the CFO figured it would be a lifetime investment.

The plow is mounted in my bucket and swung manually for now, do hydralics when I can. I used 2 pieces of angle bolted at the back of the bucket. The plow frame pins to the angles useing the stock mounts. The farther back the angle can be mounted the better, as this will shorten the length of the whole rig and lessen the side push with plow angled. Also this method eliminates having to use a chain from plow to top of bucket to lift plow, the bucket bottom lifts plow ,but still allows flexing.
Best part is this setup is cheap easy and quick, takes ten minutes to bolt on angles and 5 min to hook up plow, angle iron and bolts , maybe $5.00.

Both blades work great on everything except heavy wet snow over 6", which loads up and pushes tractor sideways. Got to get the tires loaded and make some wheel weights, but its amazing how much the little ck20 can push.
When it gets too much just use the loader(can't wait to use blower)( then I'll have to build a cab!)

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HEALTHY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

joe48
 

rebuilder

Bronze Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2006
Messages
52
Location
WNY
Tractor
Ford 861
zzvyb6 said:

I'm amused by people who are crawling down their driveways going 3 mph backwards to use their expensive pto blowers but if you have a life other that clearing a 300' driveway get a 4wd truck and a tractor mounted plow. You win very time.:)

I can certainly agree with you on a straight driveway, but when moving in around the barns, shops, garage and various other outbuildings in the yard, a plow just can't do what I need done and a truck mount is too long to be nearly maneuverable enough. Fortunately, for me I can blow 90% of the snow off to the east, so I typically come out pretty clean and dry. However,... that stretch between the garage and the old granary is a different story.

Also (lucky me) I can leave the chute in one spot for most of my work so I don't have a need for a hydraulic adjustment, but it would be nice. there was the time Dad wasn't paying attention and blew the driveway through the living room window. Needless to say, Mom wasn't very happy with him that day.
 

TMcD_in_MI

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2004
Messages
298
Location
NW Lower Michigan
Tractor
JD 4310
Everybody's situation is a little different, it seems. Here's why I bit the bullet and went with a front-mounted blower and a heated cab. My driveway runs north-south and is about 800 ft. long through an open field. There's plenty of room for the usual west wind to pick up snow and blast it across the driveway. We get enough snow (usually) that it doesn't take all that long to build up 2 foot banks if you're using a plow. When we get a windy night, the next morning we can have 2 feet of snow plugged in the driveway from bank to bank, and, as often as not, it is fairly hard-packed snow from the wind. That's pretty tough for a plow to handle - hard to move and where do you put it? Yes, I have done it, but now - ahhhhhhhh - when that white stuff goes a-flyin' out of the driveway, my blower seems like it's worth every penny I had to shell out for it.

It's true, with a plow I could get up in the middle of the night a time or two to keep it open, but a) I hate that, and b) I will more than likely just sleep through it and start grumbling the next morning when I see what Mother Nature has done to me.

If I lived in KY, though, I'd buy a front blade.:)

Another man heard from,
Tom
 

Dutch445

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2001
Messages
2,720
Location
Upstate NY
Tractor
JD X585
Snow Blower - REAR STEER / ERSKINE™ ATTACHMENTS, INC.

a link to a rear, pull type snowblower that would work great in your
conditions. yes, more expensive than a blade. (and personally i think the
blade is the way to go) but if you want a blower, I would think you
would love this style, and not have to back up. I don't expect that you
would get any amount of snow that would prohibit the tractor from driving
thru, and with smaller snowfalls, your groundspeed should be pretty decent.
they are a quality machine.. and maybe other manufacturers make the same style.
 
 
 
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