You have just purchased your small dream farm and you can’t wait to reclaim those remote old fields, plant a large garden and establish a wildlife food plot down by the creek. However, you must wait because after buying the property, an ATV and fixing up the house there isn’t enough remaining in the budget to buy a farm tractor and all those large expensive implements.
- RELATED STORY: ATVs And UTVs: What To Know Before You Buy A Horse
Hold on, don’t give up yet. If you have an ATV or SXS that has a 450cc engine, 4×4 drive and a low range, chances are good that you can do almost anything on your property you can do with an expensive tractor. And you can get the ATV into some remote places that a tractor can’t go. All you need to do is to shop for some of the ATV farm implements that can turn your ATV/SXS into a workhorse, and many are available at reasonable prices. Let’s look at what’s available for each farm chore you might want to accomplish.
Hauling & Hacking
Small farms often have old fields that need to be reclaimed or clearings in woods that would make good wildlife food plots. Perhaps the garden needs expanding. You will need a heavy-duty trailer for hauling off rocks, limbs, etc. You may want to cut the trees you remove into firewood and will need to haul that to the house.
For heavyweight hauling, the dual-axle ABI Workman XL trailer, designed for off-road hauling and dumping, features 25-inch tires, four-wheel independent torsion suspension, electric brakes and a push-button power dump. The 45-by-73-inch bed can carry up to 1,100 pounds and is made from 14-gauge steel. For lighter jobs, the 4-by-6-foot Tarter Utility trailer with a tilt bed features a single axle with 12-inch tires and a wire mesh floor. This is a strong but lightweight trailer that is easy for one person to hook up and use.
During warm weather, mowing to keep weeds and brush under control is a constant and important job. Kunz Engineering offers a variety of mowers in 44- and 57-inch cutting widths that have been engineered to use as pull-behind mowers for ATVs. Ranging in price from $3,645 to $4,645, these heavy-duty mowers are available with commercial and non-commercial Briggs & Stratton electric-start engines.
Tilling A Seedbed
I have written many times that one of the most common mistakes made by those who plant crops and wildlife food plots is not to prepare a good seedbed for the seed they are planting. Tilling a small plot or field should not be rushed. Remember to break the field when the soil is dry and to take your time. Good seed-to-soil contact is essential for a productive crop, and a fine-textured seedbed is what you want. Check these out.
For cutting up new ground or breaking up hardpan to get a deeper seedbed, the Kunz Till-Ease 43-inch chisel plow/field cultivator is equipped with a five-shank chisel plow that is depth-controlled with an electric lift. In front of the plow are five blades that break the dirt clods. Priced at $2,295, this multi-purpose implement can make a seedbed that is up to 6 inches deep.
- RELATED STORY: Make Your ATV Into A 4-Wheeled Farmhand
Another multi-purpose tiller is the Tarter Disc/Culti-Packer Combo. It combines deep cutting from the eight-blade tillage disc with soil compaction from an adjustable cultipacker. It is easily raised and lowered with a front-mounted winch. The cutting width of this implement is 48 inches, and it has rubber tires that can be adjusted to make moving to other locations effortless.
For tight spaces, such as small gardens, Tarter has the 36-inch Compact Disc, which features 10 notched, 16-inch blades for deep cutting. It is equipped with rubber wheels that can be raised or lowered to transport the disc to other locations.
For wider cutting, the Tarter 8-Blade Disc Harrow features eight 16-inch blades that can be adjusted from 0 degrees through 20 degrees, and provides a 48-inch cutting width. It also has rubber tires that can be adjusted to make moving the disc easy.
Once a seedbed is cut up and the dirt clods broken, a bed needs to have a smooth surface, and a chain harrow is an inexpensive piece of equipment that can get the job done. Using the ABI ATV Tow-Style Chain Harrow is an economical way to lightly harrow gardens, food plots, pastures, paddocks, lawns, and more.
The harrow mat itself is reversible and can be flipped for three levels of aggressiveness. Level one is the most passive, with the tines facing upward. Level two allows the tines to face downward but also to release under pressure. Level three is the most aggressive, with the tines fully locked downward when pulled forward. The harrow mat is a 0.5-inch-thick chain made from high-carbon, heat-treated steel. Each mat is 4 feet long from front to back, and the tines themselves measure 4 inches long.
Tarter has two chain harrows, the 4×4 ATVH44 and the 4×8 ATVH48. Both are ideal for smoothing seedbeds, garden soil and dragging driveways, riding tracks or arena footing. Each mat has teeth for grabbing soil or grading surfaces.
Lime, Fertilize & Seed
A valuable, multi-purpose ATV implement to have on a rural property is the broadcast spreader. One is ideal for spreading seed, lime and fertilizer on gardens, small fields, and wildlife food plots, and is useful in the winter for spreading salt on driveways.
ABI offers a Broadcast Spreader for ATVs that is axle-driven. The seamless, one-piece steel hopper, which holds up to 470 pounds of materials, provides strength for heavy loads and spreads up to 46 feet with directional spreading available. Each spreader includes an application rate decal that adheres to the spreader, removing any guesswork while out at the site. The levers on the unit allow you to make adjustments to vary application rates based on material.
Tarter has a 5-Bushel Pull-Behind Spreader/Trail Feeder that is designed for ATV use. It is axle-driven with an all-steel gear drive complete with grease fittings. It has a 300-pound capacity and can spread up to 20 feet wide.
Cover Seed Carefully
One of the most overlooked pieces of farm equipment is the cultipacker. When planting crops, it should be used following tilling and harrowing to firm up a seedbed to give the seeds good soil contact. Seed covered too deeply will not come up. Seed not covered enough will be eaten by crows, wild turkey and other pesky critters. Rule number one is, good seed-to-soil contact is essential for a high germination rate. A cultipacker can do this.
- RELATED STORY: 9 Tried-And-True Tips for Woodsmen
The ABI Versa-Drill Cultipackers are built in 4- and 6-foot widths. For use with an ATV or UTV, the Versa-Drill flips easily between transport and operational positions. Packer wheels are 9.5 inches in diameter with crushing knobs and are mounted on a 1.75-inch shaft. This cultipacker is equipped with agricultural-quality, greaseable, pillow block bearings.
Kunz Engineering offers two Till-Ease ATV cultipackers, one in a 48-inch width and one with a 72-inch width. They feature 9.5-inch, cast-iron packer wheels and the shaft pillow block bearings are greaseable. The 48-inch model weighs 257 pounds and cost $795, while the 72-inch model weighs 384 pounds and cost $1,045.
As wildlife food plots have become popular, smart engineers have developed an ATV-pulled, all-in-one piece of equipment that is designed for small fields. Wildlife managers have found the equipment time-saving, as have small-scale farmers. The machine will till, level, plant and pack the seed all in one trip around the field.
Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment offers the Firminator G-3 ATV model. This is an 800-pound, ground-bursting, seed-planting, seed-tamping machine designed to plant seeds to their optimal depth and density. It has six 14-inch discs with an ACCU-Seed delivery system and a cast-iron cultipacker. This machine costs $5,500.
Plotmaster Systems offers the Plotmaster Hunter 400 with a 48-inch cutting width and the Hunter 300, which cuts a width of 36 inches. These all-in-one machines have 12 heavy-duty, 16-inch notched discs with sealed bearings, a Versa Seeder, Reverse Auger Brush System designed to plant all types of seed and seed blends, a cultipacker/drag with metal grating and a unique down-pressure system for the one-point hitch. The Hunter 400 costs $5,299 and the 300 costs $4,499.
Chores Made Easy
For keeping gravel field roads and driveways smooth, ABI has the Gravel Rascal. This implement combines scarifying teeth, a landscaping rake, a soil pulverizer and a rear-grading blade into one ATV attachment. With the Gravel Rascal’s teeth for tough work and commercial-quality construction, you can grade driveways, repair rutted trails, prep for seeding lawns and pastures, and more.
Fencing is always a chore on rural property and Tarter offers a heavy-duty Wire Unroller that attaches to the ATV to make stringing wire fencing easier. Made from steel, the drum will hold rolls of wire in various sizes. By using the ATV to pull and stretch wire, the Wire Unroller allows the ATV to do the work of a crew, and it will go into tight places with ease.
Remember, you do not have to be a large-scale farmer to have good crops and beautiful property. Much of it can be done with an ATV and the right implements.
For More Information
Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment
Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment
This article was originally published in The NEW PIONEER™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.