From general maintenance and light excavation to transplanting trees and stump removal, farm and landowners are faced with myriad challenges. For these and many others, the backhoe is a vital compact tractor attachment.
Start with your tractor’s power. If you’re using a compact tractor, it’s safe to assume you’re working with a large area of land that includes open fields and minimal need for precise maneuverability, allowing for higher horsepower. The most critical assessment to make for your compact tractor regarding power is to compare gross horsepower and PTO horsepower. PTO horsepower and engine torque are often not advertised, so be sure to talk to your tractor dealer about your tractor and backhoe needs and ask if you can try the attachment on-site prior to purchasing.
Just as it’s important to test your backhoe attachment for operational qualities, be sure to also test for comfort and ease of use. Comfort can often be overlooked as an unimportant detail of backhoe attachments and tractors in general. However, sitting comfortably in your tractor’s cab decreases fatigue and allows for greater productivity. Another important aspect of comfort and ease of use is visibility, and boom design has a great affect on this. Straight boom designs have been proven to be useful and reliable, however, the more innovative curved boom design allows for greater visibility to the operator, higher strength and increased digging depth. Give both options a try and see what feels best for your unique needs and comfort level.
Finally, the last consideration to make when purchasing a backhoe attachment is the function and storage of the attachment. Backhoe attachments come in two options — a removable sub-frame design or a four-point mount system. The sub-frame design requires that you remove the entire sub-frame and a long ladder bar-framed section when not using the attachment. While the process is relatively simple, it requires a large amount of storage space. The four-point mount system allows removal of the backhoe alone, making removal quick and easy, and reducing the amount of storage space needed.
When purchasing a backhoe attachment, the most important thing to remember is to assess your unique needs and remember to test different options. Once you know what level of power you’re working with, the importance of comfort and ease of operation and your functional storage capabilities, put each backhoe attachment option through the ringer to be sure you get what’s best for you and your compact tractor.
Tags: Backhoe, Kioti, March 2015 Issue