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Choosing Implements Size Matters

We're out today to have a short conversation about sizing implements to your tractor with skid loader couplers becoming very common on front loaders and category one three-point hitches on even the smallest of tractors. There's all kinds implements that can fit on your machine but even though they fit doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea to put them on there. We're going to have a short conversation today about why you should not put an 84 inch skid loader bucket on your BX Series tractor.

We are huge proponents of industry standards you haven't noticed things like three-point hitches have created a huge variety of implements in the tractor market because of their universal nature. We're starting to see the same thing happen here with skid loader couplers as well. This coupler has been used on skid loaders for years and years and it's part of the reason why there's such a healthy industry for all kinds of attachments for construction equipment. Now we're starting to see the same thing happen with compact tractors also where years ago you only ever really saw a loader bucket pinned on the front of somebody's tractor.

A skid loader coupler is becoming an option that we had nearly a 100% take rate on. Almost every person will opt to purchase this coupler because of the huge variety of stuff that we can find put onto it. That said when you have attachment made for skid loaders and small tractors using the same thing it doesn't necessarily mean that just because it fits on this coupler it's a good idea to put on your machine. When we start talking in terms of lift capacity a skid loader like this can lift upwards of 3,000 pounds or more and really heavy-duty attachments can fit on this machine and still work very well.

That 84 inch skid loader bucket that we just picked up weighs several hundred pounds in and of itself. The BX Series tractor though on the flip side can lift in the neighborhood of about five to 600 pounds. When we take those implements and we put the implement onto the hitch we really have to watch the weight of the implement itself. The implement is too heavy then all that weight is being lifted when that loader goes up and down and not available to lift loads. We always want to be watching that we're picking an implement that scaled down to the size tractor that you have.

Whether that be a BX series tractor or an M series tractor the loader can only lift so much and we need to pick a duty of the implement whether it's a light duty, medium duty heavy duty whatever to fit the tractor that the attachment is going on to. We also want to watch the width of the attachments as well so typically when we're sizing say a loader bucket or a grapple for a tractor like this we're sizing that piece, it just covers the width of the tires. That's one area where I really don't always trust manufacturer spec sheets, there could be a lot of variation in the width of the tires from one machine to the next so that's why we always carry with us our trusty tape measure to go out and actually pull a whip across tires in order to see how wide the machine actually is.

Typically this BX series tractor is going to measure to somewhere in the neighborhood of about 44, 46 inches across the tires and we're generally going to equip it with about a 48 inch loader bucket. Let's say you wanted that loader bucket to go do snow right, you could at that point really kind of justify a light material bucket something that might be maybe 54 inches wide and a little bit higher capacity because you're manipulating those light materials. Application we talked about application a lot here when we talk about tractors, application is really important when we talk about our attachments because the materials that you're handling are really important in determining the material handling attachment that you're going to put onto your loader.

In order to fully operate a lot of skid loader equipment many, many of these tractors including even the BX series are being offered with factory third function hydraulics. Third function hydraulics will add an extra set of couplers out here on your boom in order to plug an additional hydraulic function into a front implement. Years gone by we always put hydraulics out the back of the tractors but frankly anymore it's becoming almost more common to be putting hydraulics out the front. Those hydraulics are typically used more often than not for grapples but we also will see a lot of guides wanting to run the full suite of skid steer implements on the front of a tractor.

It's a guy sees a skid loader coupler and a set of third function remotes and thinks heck I can do whatever I want with it right and I can tell you frequently very, very frequently we're getting asked to run say snow blowers out in the front of a loader because it's a very convenient place to put one. Applications like that are just typically not a good idea because none of these tractors are going to have enough hydraulic flow in order to properly run and implement with a spinning motor on it. You really got to watch things like hardly rakes, snow blowers, brooms those things. These small tractors don't have quite enough flow in order to pull off a skid steer implement.

Even though you could pin it on and plug it in it's simply not going to work for you real well. The one exception to that can be post haul hoggers[sp], we can get some low flow post haul hoggers and it could do a really nice job on the front of a lot of these tractors. That is a hydraulically driven implement that you can actually get away with but for the most part when we talk about third function remotes unless we've got some really specific applications for the most part we're talking about grapples and things with cylinders that were operating out on the loader.

We're standing out here in our rental lawn today and we can take a quick walk around here look at some of the attachments that would work on a tractor and some that won't. A hammer here for instance you know we could take this and put a skid loader plate on it and it will pin up to the front of the tractor not a good idea. The hydraulic post haul hogger over here this is a McMillan 1975 typically usually needs in the tins to high tins to low 20s for flow. An M62 can about manage that but none of the other tractors are going to have enough flow to run this particular hogger. And like I said there are some low flow options for these that you can actually spin a small bit but my preference in a huge way over doing on the three-point hitch.3. post haul hoggers are a pain.

We keep on moving over here we've got some front brooms and we go back talking about that hydraulic motor again. Right over here there's a hydraulic motor in order to spin that broom you really don't have enough flow and enough pressure to really run and implement like this properly. Thumbs down to doing it on a compact tractor, this is a really stout heavy blade over here but this is something that we do on compacts quite a lot. Infact Kubota even has some stuff in their own product line now in order to do this. More and more rather than putting belly implements underneath of a tractor guys are choosing to put those implements out on their loaders because they're much easier to install.

Kubota actually offers now some small snow plows and stuff that can be hydraulically operated so we can use those third function kits in order to operate those cylinders out on the snow blade in order to push our driveways, that's really nice. Back here is a preperator, we got another implement here with a big hydraulic pump up here on the top to run it this is a lawn pret piece that will go through and grind up the the topsoil and stuff in order to make a nice smooth seed bed not going to work on a tractor. A grapple though it's something that we sell quite a lot on a tractor anymore more and more all the time now this obviously is a really heavy construction piece but there are some really lightweight grapples that Kubota and Lamb Pride actually have themselves to fit on tractors starting at BX series machines and up.

Becoming a hugely popular thing for brush cleanup way and clearing and those kinds of things to be able to take your tractor drive into something grab a load and go haul away with it somewhere else, really popular application. You can see with the huge variety of implements that we got out here there's a lot of things that could potentially pin to the tractor but it's simply not going to run it properly.

In the back of the machine is another place that we sized our implements and we typically start here with a tape measure. If you take a tape measure across the back of your machine measure across the width of your tires you're going to come up with the distance, in this case here right about 48 inches.

Whenever we size and implement to a machine like this we want to make sure that we're always covering at least 48 inches of width because we want our working area here in the back to match the track of the tractor. In the terms of say a rotary cutter or a brush hog you know you use a 48 inch mowing implement behind the machine at very least. Sometimes we can get a little bit bigger. If you sized a rear blade or a rear landscape break. Typically we're going to size those a with the implement angled sideways that we're covering the track of a tractor. If you're 48 inches across here generally you need about a 60 inch implement across the back, that when it's angled sideways you're covering the track of the machine.

Take care of snow clearing and those kinds things. If you put a snow blower behind the tractor and you back up with the snow blower the last thing that you want is for the snow blower to be more narrow than the tractor because then you're driving over snow on the outside edges of the snowblower. Always have a good idea exactly what the width is across the back of your tractor. Know too that this is a place that I never trust manufacturer specifications, if you need to be down to say two or three inches or so always pull a tape measure on a tractor. There's too much variation between tire options and many machines say in the M-series where we have 12 and 15 options for tires and who knows how those rims are dished and those kinds of things, checking with a tape measure is really the only way that you can be sure.

Another thing that's back here on the three-point hitch is to specification, there's the size of the pins based on here the size of the hole. Most compact tractors under 50 horsepower are category 1 when you go over 50 horsepower you'll see some machines move to category 2 and that's basically a bigger pin denoting more bulk in capacity in the three-point hitch to handle a larger implement. When we get up into really large eggs tractors we've got category 3 and some other specifications too for heavy draft implements and stuff but in compact tractors typically category 1 and category 2. In some very small subcompact say the original BX series there's a specification-

Neil: -called limited category 1 and generally what that means is that those attachments can't lift very high up off the ground. They typically would actually pin up to your tractor but you're not going to get enough lift height. If you have a limited category 1 hitch you need to look for limited category 1 implements.

You'll notice on all of your spec sheets there's usually a specification for the lifting capacity of the three-point hitch. In my experience I've never seen a properly sized implement that a tractor could not lift. Our actual three-point lift capacity in my opinion is pretty not relevant most of the time.

We're really needing to look more at the width of the tractor and making sure we have the right pins and if you've done that part more than likely the tractor is going to lift your implement just fine. When we do get into some of those really heavy implements in my experience of cedars and those kinds of things, you can have a very, very heavy implement, we have to watch how much weight we have up on the front of the tractors.

Say this machine right here, I've got a 48 inch use pre-sitter right now that would fit on the back of this machine that you know weighs 1,800 pounds really big heavy implement but the tractor is going to lift it and manipulate just fine because it's relatively close to the machine. What I would find if I pinned that implement up it's because I don't have a loader on my tractor right now I've lifted so much weight off of my front tires that it's difficult to steer.

So if you're starting to push near the limits of what your three-point hitch can lift. Also be thinking about the front of your machine as well. In those applications we would hang weights across the front weight block or at least make sure we've got a loader installed on the tractor or maybe even put some dirt or a load in the bucket in order to get enough weight in front of the machine in order to properly steer and ballast the load that we have behind us.

That's just a little bit about matching and implement to your tractor. Now in summary we're big fans of the tape measure. We always want to go and measure across the machine and pick typically the smallest implement that we can fit that's going to cover the track of the tractor. If you keep that in mind 9 out of 10 times you're going to pick the right implement for the machine even by ignoring all the other specifications of your loader capacity or your hitch capacities just picking something that's the right width most of the time you're going to get it right.

If you have any need for implements for your tractor or we can help you buy a machine like this give us a call at Messick's we're available in 800-222-3373 or online in

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