Tractor Grapple

Tractor Grapple

Decisions on a tractor grapple. Do I need a grapple? Which one should I get? Bucket, Root, Rake, Rock etc. So many to choose from.

Why I need a grapple. Tractor grapples or skid steer grapples are just different animals compared to the typical front end loader bucket that you have on your machine.  Choosing grapples and deciding why you need a tractor grapple is important. Theses are things to consider before you make your purchase.

If you have ever cleared trees off your property or someone else’s land you will know gathering, sorting, and piling is a task not to be taken lightly. You maybe able to push a pile with your current bucket, but it is not easy. Sometimes the pile will snag on another root, tree, or stump shifting the entire operation the wrong way. With a tractor grapple you can pick up large piles or logs while they stick out each end which will not happen with a plain bucket.

The typical tractor or skid steer bucket is nice for digging and moving materials such as dirt. They are usually wide open on top and can hold a fair amount of material. It will not  hold brush, stumps, or grab debris like a wicked grapple. Buckets will sometimes hold things along with lots of unnecessary dirt. Grapples hold the brush and debris letting all the dirt slip through the tines.

Scrap grapples have a solid bottom. Rock grapples have their tines close together. Rake grapple really do not have a bottom. Root grapples we believe is the best of all worlds. Although it may not hold small rocks or just skid along the ground or hard surfaces with a flat bottom it can manage to do most of the grabbing and holding of debris as necessary.

3rd Function Hack

3rd Function Hack

As much as we would love to have a 3rd function valve on our tractor we do not. Rather then spending the money we figure we could just add lines from the front to the rear remotes. Now we have a 3rd function hack. Now we can use grapples and other equipment that requires hydraulic fluid up front.

This was really simple to do. At the time of writing this we only spent approximately $170. This included the hydraulic lines which measured forty four feet and all the quick couplers. Most new 3rd function valves start at $400 and at times can be over a $1,000. In most cases after you buy the valve you still have to buy the hydraulic lines and fittings.

This is why we decided to do what we call a 3rd function hack. Relatively simple. In our situation we had the lines done at a Jet Hose and Packing. Rather then spending money on labor or guessing where to mount a third function valve all we did was just run two lines. Since the hoses was built in a couple of hours it was possible for us to install and have the hydraulic lines ready for use the same day.

Now in the future we may very well give up our 3rd function hack. Then we can actually install an auxiliary 3rd function valve and/or other remotes of some sort to be more productive. Until that time comes this is all we need to be satisfied and provide one more option for our customers when it comes to what we can do for them.

Finally it is up to you rather to just choose function over looks with a 3rd function hack or spend a lot more money for the real deal.

PTO Power Take Off

PTO Power Take Off

PTO or Power Take Off on your tractor makes it a wonderful machine. This gives you the option of running different implements to do various task. The most common is the rotary cutter. You will need to engage the pto some how. This usually requires pushing the clutch of the tractor down as far as it will go and then moving a lever to engage the pto shaft coming out the back of the tractor or just moving a lever, knob or switch. Now whatever you have on the PTO power take off will start doing what it is intended to do. When disengaging you do the steps in reverse.

Also there is the choice of the live pto and independent pto. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. I think it is more personal preference and how you will use the tractor. One will stop receiving power when the clutch pedal is push down and the other will not. When using an independent you normally do not have to engage the clutch to use it where as a live you must fully press the clutch pedal as far as it will go to engage both the transmission and the pto clutches at the same time. The hydraulic independent clutches are real nice. Just flip a switch or turn a knob and your done.

Now there is the older models where the pto drives directly through the transmission and if the implement doesn’t stop neither does the tractor. In this case you would need an over run clutch so the rotary cutter doesn’t push the tractor off a cliff while you are on it.

Basic rule of thumb is 5 horsepower for every foot of implement. There is a difference between engine and pto horsepower. If you have a 6 foot rotary cutter you will need 30 pto horsepower. Hope this helps.

Rotary cutter and tractor from the rear of the unit with the pto shaft hooked up.

 

 

How Much Tractor Do I Need?

How Much Tractor Do I Need?

How much tractor do I need? That is a good question. There is a lot of things that can make this decision or break it. Lot of times more is better, but not always. If you have 5 to 100 acres something with 35 to 50 horse power is usually plenty. Of course this does depend on the use of the unit as well. I think as long as you can manage 5 – 6 foot implements you will be fine.

One thing to keep in mind is weight. One deciding factor in us buying a tractor was we wanted the ability to stack round bales if necessary or to be able to off load round bales from a trailer. So lifting height and capacity of the front end loader did play a factor in our decision. If not for that we could have picked a smaller unit for our farm. At the time of this article we have a 4 wheel drive 4025 Mahindra. Believe me it is plenty for a small farm. Now that we have customers a little more under the hood would be nice.

Always keep in mind when it comes to tractors more power doesn’t mean you can go faster when doing a job. It means that you can run bigger implements, attachments or not bog down as much running smaller ones. You may gain a little speed, but odds are your travel speed will remain the same.

Here you can see in the video below that with 41 engine horsepower and 31 pto (power take off) we can run a 6 foot rotary cutter through some serious stuff. So bigger is better, but not necessary if you have the time to go slower. The canopy on the tractor is approximately eight feet off the ground to give you an idea of what is being tackled on the jobs we do.

Side shot of the berm.

How Much UTV do you need?

How Much UTV do you need?

We tried to decide for a long time on our small farm what would we get? We had a four wheeler atv. The carb would gum up every time we turned around and that was so annoying. One day a guy said I’ll trade you my golf cart with new batteries and charger for your 4 wheeler. We spent $2,000 buying the atv. When we couldn’t fix the carb it was always a shop bill. I thought rather than a UTV we could have a golf cart. Sure why not. It has been love ever since. We used this electric golf cart more in 3 months than we did that four wheeler in 3 years.

We have flat mistreated it. It really needs some TLC now. The right rear passenger spring has actually started to reverse arc from the weight and abuse we put this thing through. Almost all the bushings are gone. Only thing we ever did to it was break off the roof, replace an occasional corroded wire, and charge it. We did add a $18 digital volt meter and $12 LED lights that I have had on for hours. They didn’t even make the digital meter move. We will be buying more of these LEDs soon. I will put links at the bottom.
I will say it cost us about $2,000. Still way cheaper than one of those $15,000 dollar new UTVs that I really want. Or even a good used one at $6,000+. We have had this thing in ditches, mud, water over the floor board, etc. Never stops. When it is time to replace it and that time is coming sooner than later I really think we will get another, but maybe with a lift kit.

Affordable LED lights click here.

Digital volt meter click here.