Using Your Implements: The Bucket Loader

Contributed Article

Using Your Implements
The Bucket Loader
by Curtis Von Fange

Introduction: Dad was raised during the depression years of the thirties. As a kid he worked part time on a farm in Kansas doing many of the manual chores. Some of the more successful farmers of that day had a new time saving device called a tractor. It increased the farm productivity and, in general, made life easier because more work could be done with this 'mechanical beast'. My dad dreamed that some day he would have his own tractor with every implement he could get. When he reached his early sixties, he got his dream.

The tractor he ended up purchasing was not a classic, it was a seventies model tractor loaded with attachments and implements. As time went on he kept increasing his inventory so he wouldn't have to do much of the hard physical labor he remembered as a young man. This article is to share some of those tools and procedures that will, hopefully, help the reader the save some sweat at the cost of a little fuel.

The Bucket Loader: Probably the most universal implement that came with dad's tractor was the front end loader. The uses for this unit were endless. In the winter he would clean the snow off the driveway and make huge hills that the kids would play on for days. In the summer it was used for work projects such as digging out sections of dirt for extending the driveway or making a place for some fuel oil barrels. The bucket was great for carrying tools around the property, trash to the street, or taking grandkids for a ride to the mailbox. When using the loader for carrying loads it is best to have some sort of counterweight on the rear of the tractor. The weight will keep the rear of the tractor on the ground when lifting or digging under extreme conditions. It will also provide greater traction in wet soils and help in braking when going down hills with a load on the front. Some operators use a poured concrete block with eye bolts or anchors cast into it and then attach this weight to the three point hitch. Others might put a heavy implement like a bushog on the rear of the tractor. Make sure when driving with a load on the front that the bucket is kept as low to the ground as possible. An elevated bucket will create an instability in the tractor that might not be recognized until the tractor tips over. One little tip when using the bucket for lifting, moving and loading heavy objects is to place two small marker flags at the bucket edge corners. This lets the operator 'see' the bucket edges from seat and will keep him from hitting objects out of his view when moving the tractor in tight areas. One might also weld a couple of hooks to the back of the bucket. It makes a spot to hook up a chain.

Next Month: Dad's experience with the plow and disc.

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