For most horse farms, tractors rank right up there in usefulness next to the wheelbarrow. They move hay bales, mow pastures, drag arenas and much more. But tractors don’t come equipped to perform these tasks on their own: they rely on attachments or implements to get the job done.
Fortunately, since tractors aren’t practical or possible for every farm owner, today there are also a wide range of attachments made for UTVs (utility terrain vehicles; also called ATVs or all-terrain vehicles) that help make life on the farm easier. UTVs don’t have the power to do as much work as a tractor, but they can handle the work-load on smaller farms. They offer the added benefits of driving more like automobiles and being easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
There are so many attachments that it can be hard to figure out where to invest your money. After all, you don’t want to buy an attachment only to find out that it doesn’t do the job you need, you rarely use it or your tractor or UTV can’t operate it. If you don’t have a tractor or UTV yet, research the implements you need for your common chores and buy a tractor or UTV that can operate them. If you already have a tractor or UTV, make sure it has the power to run any implement before you make the purchase.
In order to find out what attachments barn owners can’t live without, we went out and informally polled our readers through our Finding Out forum, and did a little research on our own. Here’s what we came up with:
For Tractors and UTVs
Companies sell versions of the following implements for both tractors and UTVs. The versions offered for UTVs are less powerful, but still good for smaller jobs.
1. Mowers — Finishing mowers for tractors work like a lawn mower, creating cross-copped lawns around your home and barn. Pull-behind UTV mowers offer different types and settings that work for everything from lawn cutting to pasture mowing.
2. Blades — Depending on the size of the blade and what it is attached to (tractor versus UTV), you can use a blade to grade driveways, spread gravel, clear light brush, remove snow, clean out run-in sheds, scrape old hay away from hay rings, etc.
3. Manure spreader — If you’ve got the land, you can reduce your waste. Use the spreader to distribute composted manure on gardens and pastures or spread fresh manure on empty pastures.
4. Arena drag — If you have an arena, an arena drag is essential. These handy attachments come in many different varieties—some purely dig in, while others roll and water at the same time. No matter the type, arena drags take care of and preserve your footing and keep your arena in great shape.
For Tractors Only
5. Front End Loader — Farm owners say the front end loader is one of the most versatile tractor attachments they own. They use the bucket attachment to move square bales, shavings or feed, scrape manure out of paddocks, turn the compost pile, scrape old hay and manure away from hay rings, pound T-posts and level out paddocks, arenas and barn aisles. You can also buy a hay spear that attaches to the bucket to move large bales of hay or a rake attachment for grading your arena, barn aisle or driveway.
6. Hay spear — Some hay spears attach to the front end loader, while others attach to the tractor’s rear three-point hitch. If your tractor is big enough, you can use both hay spears to move two round bales at a time.
7. Auger — Have you ever dug a posthole by hand? If you answered yes, treat yourself to an auger. Most augers hook onto a rear three-point hitch and are PTO-powered. These handy tools will save you an enormous amount of time and back-breaking work.
8. Shredders — A rotary cutter or shredder helps control brush and weeds in pastures and can handle heavier workloads and thicker weeds than a finishing mower or pull-behind mower for a UTV. For equine operations with a lot of land, these attachments can help keep the land from being taken over by harmful weeds and brush.
For UTVs Only
9. Basket — Baskets are good for carrying a square bale of hay or buckets of feed out to pastures, carrying fencing tools or moving feed.
10. Trailer — The small trailers UTVs can pull are big enough to move a couple of square bales of hay, several bags of feed or bedding or fence posts and tools. They’re also useful for carrying trash and debris out of your pasture. And these handy little guys can often be driven straight down the barn aisle.
11. Dump cart — Dump carts are useful for carrying grain between barns or pastures, for hauling manure and used bedding from stalls to the compost pile or for hauling buckets of water to distant pastures.
Most tractor manufacturers also sell a wide range of attachments designed specifically for their tractors.
Augers, front end loaders, hay bale spears and forks, mowers
Utility carts, mowers, rotary cutters and arena rakes
Harrows, mowers, hay bale spears, arena rakes
Hay bale spears, front loaders, grader blades, rakes, post hole diggers, rotary cutters, rotary brooms, mowers and mid-mount mowers
Rotary cutters, mowers, front end loaders, augers, arena rakes, snow removal equipment
Additional attachment manufacturers include:
Arena drags, manure spreaders and water wagons
Rotary cutters, finishing mowers, post hole diggers
EZ Groomer LLC
Arena drags for tractors and UTVs
Arena drags and harrows
Mowers, rotary cutters, blades, harrows, augers/post hole diggers, snow removal equipment
Manure spreaders that can be pulled behind UTVs, cars, trucks, etc.
UTV attachments – dump bucket, front mount mower, fork lift and plow
Tractor Supply Company
Tractor and ATV attachments – especially dump carts, sprayers, etc.
West Coast Footings
Tractor buckets, blades, finishing mowers