Must-Have Tools and Equipment for Small Farms

posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 in How To


Big farms require big equipment. But when you’re running a smaller operation, or just need some equipment to maintain your acreage, large-scale agriculture equipment doesn’t make much sense. It might be too big to store on your property, too advanced for your needs, or just too much tractor for your budget.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of other equipment options, each designed to fit the scale of your hobby farm, acreage, or small-scale operation.

Essential Equipment for Small Farms

Your equipment needs depend on the needs of your farm or acreage. You wouldn’t have much use for harvesting equipment if you’re raising animals or hay equipment if you’re a vegetable farmer. But there are a handful of essentials that every farm — no matter the size, no matter the type — needs to get the job done.

1. Pickup Truck

This is a no-brainer. No other vehicle is a substitute for a good ol’ pickup — they’ve been a farm staple since Henry Ford added a pickup bed to the Model T. Today’s pickups are built for hauling, whether it’s a load in the truck bed or a trailer on the hitch.

A truck is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of equipment on a small farm. Building supplies, fencing, tools, feed, you name it — a pickup helps you get the job done. Hitch on a trailer and you can haul heavier loads like livestock, poultry, crops, and produce.

2. Utility Vehicle

Some farmers get by with an ATV to move around their property. But if you need to carry anything more than yourself and a few tools, you’ll probably need to attach a trailer. A utility vehicle is much more practical.

UTVs offer many of the same benefits as a truck, just at a smaller scale and expense. With a cargo box, hitch, low center of gravity, light-weight body, and rugged tires, UTVs are built to go where trucks can’t. If your farm or property is under 60 acres, a utility vehicle could be enough to get most of your tasks done.

3. Compact Utility Tractor

For farms over 160 acres, adding a compact utility tractor to your farm equipment lineup is a must. You can use your UTV to get across your property quickly for small tasks and save the big jobs for the tractor.

Smaller than a traditional tractor, compact utility tractors still have the horsepower to do the heavy lifting. They provide even more versatility than a UTV or truck. With a quick hitch on both the front and back, you can add any Category 1 implement you need, like a bucket on the front and a mower, box blade, box scraper, aerator, mulch finisher, or rear blade on the back.

4. Lawn Tractor

A compact tractor with a mower strapped on the back can cut large swathes of land. But if you have a smaller acreage or a lot of lawn, you probably prefer a more manicured look than a tractor can provide. And that’s where a lawn tractor is handy.

Lawn tractors are bigger than your typical riding mower but won’t disturb the turf like a compact utility tractor. They’re packed with more features, too. A heavy-duty rear equipment mounting system lets you attach a material collection system, rotary tiller, aerator, lawn roller, or utility cart. You can even put a blade or shovel on the front for the tough jobs a compact tractor might normally handle.

Implements to Make Your Farm More Efficient

Equipment today is designed to do more. There’s little need for handcarts and hand tools. Why expend all that manpower when you can rely on horsepower to do the work more efficiently? Depending on the size and type of your hobby farm, you’ll need a shed full of implements to handle all the work. Your equipment lineup isn’t complete without these additional tools.

1. Front-End Loader Attachments

Compact utility tractors can double as compact loaders. If you’re only using implements on the back of your compact tractor, you’re only getting half the productivity. And there are dozens of utility loader attachments that can help you work more efficiently.

Scoop, move, and dump manure, soil, or rocks with a material bucket. Attach a pallet fork to move pallets and other bulky objects. Or combine your forks with a bucket to better handle large, loose loads. If you have a lot of timber or brush, a debris grapple lets you easily move all that into one pile.

2. Lawn Care Equipment

Maintain a beautiful lawn on your acreage with a grooming mower. It provides a smooth, uniform cut that’ll make your local golf course jealous. For farms that have pastures, roadside edges, or large back lots that can be left a little rougher, a rotary cutter is the tool for the job.

3. Blades

A box blade is one of the most versatile attachments for any farm and the one attachment you’ll likely use the most. It’s an all-around workhorse that you can use to grade and level ground, build paths on your acreage, terrace a field, level land for a new outbuilding, or just spread dirt on your property.

Rear blades are also helpful. Dig a ditch, grade and smooth your driveway, or maintain gravel drives and roads on your property. For vegetable farms, it can be used to level out your garden.

4. Rotary Tiller

A tiller is another important piece of equipment for small vegetable farms. It’s also useful for crops on other hobby farms, like cotton, indigo, or grains. Rotary tillers prep your soil before planting in the spring, and again in the fall if you plant cover crops in your fields.

5. Post Hole Digger

Fencing is a necessity on farms of all types. Whether you need to keep your livestock or poultry enclosed, or keep pests out of your vegetables or crops, you have to build a fence. And a post hole digger will save you several hours of back-breaking labor. You can also use it around your property to build a pole barn, deck, or new machine shed — or just plant some trees.

Again, your needs are going to vary depending on the size of your acreage or what you’re producing on your hobby farm. But these pieces of small farm equipment and compatible implements provide you the tools to get the job done  — no matter what the job is.

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