What equipment do you need to maintain a 3 acre farm?

There are some pieces of equipment that are really necessary in order to keep your property in top condition. Of course, there are many “toys” that would be nice to have, but the cost of buying and maintaining them is much higher than renting them once or twice a year. Depending on how much of your land is grassed for beauty alone, how much pasture or garden areas, or maybe even chicken or sheep pens, will dictate what equipment you really need. All properties need some type of lawn or garden tractor, unless you’re a marathon runner and want to push a lawn mower over an acre or two twice a week in the spring. A general-purpose tractor with an engine of 20 HP or less and a 42- or 48-inch cutting deck can easily handle three acres of grass. Accessories like a spring-loaded rake that makes it easy to aerate your lawn or a lightweight snowplow for winter use can make your workload lighter. Turf rollers, planters, discs and harrows, power rakes, and even mini-font front loader buckets can be purchased from different tractor and subcompact tractor companies.

When you shop, you’ll find that tractors fall into several different categories based on their capabilities. Riding mowers are basically large riding mowers that can pull a small trailer, a leaf rake, or maybe push some snow. A tractor will weigh more and have bigger and stronger components. A tractor may have a slightly larger engine, a cast-iron rear deck, and may also be able to drive a snowplow attachment. A subcompact tractor for around $12000 or less, is even heavier, can use wheel weights or weighted tires, front loader and backhoe attachments and mow 5 acres more easily. The frames are also much stronger and can move mountains of snow with ease. If you own a horse stable or plant a large garden area, a subcompact tractor will handle all of these cleanup tasks without breaking a sweat.

A long trailer tag is also a blessing when raking leaves, moving dirt, hauling gravel, or any other yard chore. It’s much easier to load the trailer with all your spring flowering plants and drive from bed to bed along with your pallets and soil supplements than it is to carry it all by hand. Moving buckets of water to pens or moving stones or firewood are tasks that are carried out in a small trailer. My trailer is now over twenty years old and apart from some occasional touch ups of paint and grease it is still going strong.

A gas leaf blower and vacuum are also a real time saving device. From blowing sidewalks and patios clean, to removing leaves from flower beds, a gas-powered leaf blower does the trick. If you have any kind of hedges or trees in shape, an electric hedge trimmer makes that task easy too. Trimming a hundred feet of hedge by hand is no joke. A good wheelbarrow is a tool that is often overlooked. Don’t buy one of those $29 carts. If you’re paying around $100 or so, you’re in the right neighborhood. Oak handles, heavy-duty poly tubing or metal (I prefer poly, it never rusts), and a ten-inch tire is the bare minimum. Mine is now about twelve years old and I have replaced the handles only once.

I own a fairly large wooded area and the grassy areas also have a lot of trees. These produce just tons of branches and fallen leaves each year. I bought a small shredder for branches 3″ and smaller and it does a good job. Anything larger than 3″ cuts down for firewood. This machine produces a good amount of mulch for us, so it was well worth the price.

Roto-tilling my garden once a year didn’t seem to justify buying a power tiller that would sit for 11 1/2 months a year. Daily rental is about $45 so for $45 I grow our garden and the rental center store can maintain it year round.

A pressure washer is another great tool for the average home. Washing decks or sidewalks, house siding or barn floors is much easier with a pressure washer. They are pretty cheap and do a great job. Maintenance basically consists of making sure it is drained to prevent it from freezing when stored and checking the engine oil.

If you own these tools, you can pretty much get by. As time goes on and you can afford it, adding a few extra attachments to your tractor, like a post hole digger or dozer blade, can make larger tasks easier and faster.

Ask your salesperson what size machine you need and they’ll be happy to help you decide. They want a happy customer to come back and recommend them to others.

pete ackerson

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