Let’s take a look at some of the most common tractor attachments used by equine farm owners, and why they’re beneficial.
I like to think of compact tractors as the multi-tool pocket knife for horse farms. They’re small, they’re easy to use, and they can do just about anything you need. But no pocket knife is complete without the blades, screwdriver, corkscrew, and other tools that fold out of the handle. In the same way, a compact tractor needs the right attachments to move materials, maintain the grounds, and do the work of operating the farm. There are a lot of tractor attachments to choose from – from the versatile to the highly specialized. But in my opinion, there are seven that are absolutely essential.
Before we discuss tractor attachments, let’s talk about the tractor itself. The tractor that’s right for you farm depends on the size of your farm, and therefore how hard it has to work. It also depends on who will be operating it.
On my farm, I have a KIOTI NX6010. At 60 horsepower, it’s strong enough to handle heavy loads and large implements. It also has a hydrostatic drive, making it easy for even novice operators to use. If you have a smaller farm, you might consider a tractor with horsepower closer to 20–40.
With that in mind, here are the seven essential tractor attachments for your horse farm:
If this list was limited to just one attachment, the loader would be it. The loader is the most versatile and hardest-working attachment you can have. And if it has a skid steer-compatible quick-attach mounting system, you can attach the bucket in seconds.
From hauling feed and hay to cleaning out the barn, the loader is a go-to attachment. I use mine almost every day.
2. Reverse tiller
One thing we all want to avoid is having our horses sustain hoof and ligament damage. That means keeping the footing safe in arenas, runs and paddocks.
The tractor attachment I use for this is the reverse tiller, as it pulls against the tractor to soften cohesive soils like clay or dirt. However, if you live in an area with sandy soils, you may just need a groomer to do the same job.
3. Rotary cutter/mower
It’s important to maintain your pastures, and that means keeping them mowed down so the horses can graze more easily. A mower also helps to knock down any manure and keep it from piling up.
4. Precision seeder
Another part of maintaining pastures is repairing bare patches that horses create during wet winters and hot summers. A precision seeder makes it easy to reseed those areas in the spring and fall to keep the pastures full.
5. Grading scraper
It’s not always about the horses. You also have to think about the tires and suspension of your cars. Since many horse farms, like mine, have gravel driveways and dirt access roads, a grading scraper is a handy tool for smoothing out the potholes and ruts that seem to come up every year.
6. Post-hole digger
This attachment can make quick work of the otherwise back-breaking task of fixing and building fences – especially if you have hard or rocky ground.
7. Bale spear or hay grapple
Another daily job on the horse farm is moving hay around — out of the field and to the stalls and pastures. Which of these tractor attachments you choose depends on how the hay comes to your farm, in round or square bales.
The equipment you have needs to work just as hard as you do. Today’s compact tractors, along with the essential tractor attachments, can do just about everything that needs to be done on your farm.