PHOTO: Ken Slade/Flickr
December 6, 2016

When the calendar pages turn to December, it means that the year is almost over … and also that winter is just beginning! If you live in an area that receives significant snowfall, you know that dealing with snow can be a nuisance. When walking paths, driveways and doorway openings disappear under a thick blanket of snow, doing farm chores (and even getting your car out of the garage!) becomes a lot harder.

While snow can be cleared with a snowblower, plow truck or even an old-fashioned snow shovel, there’s another option that you might not have considered—plowing snow with your lawn tractor or ATV/UTV. Thanks to special attachments, these common farm machines can be prepared for winter work by installing plows that will help keep your pathways and driveways free of snow.

Because chances are good that you already own a lawn tractor or ATV/UTV, enhancing your machine with an attachment can be an appealing option. But plowing snow with these machines isn’t quite as simple as attaching a plow and heading off down your driveway—here are a few things to keep in mind.

Good Traction Is Essential

Because lawn tractors and ATV/UTVs are small and much lighter than a plow truck, making sure that the tires have enough traction to grip the snowy ground is essential. Lawn mower tires aren’t designed for use in snow, so you might need to purchase some tire chains (as their name implies, chains that wrap around tires) to give your machine better grip. You might also need them for your ATV or UTV, though quality tires designed for traction in poor conditions might be enough to handle the job in some cases.

You can also increase the weight of your tractor or ATV/UTV by carrying heavy objects (such as sandbags) above the drive wheels; the extra weight will press down and give the tires better traction on slippery ground. You can also attach weights directly to the wheels, as this can increase traction without weighing down on the entire machine.

What Kind of Snow Will You Be Plowing?

If snowfall in your area is typically light, fluffy and not very deep, plowing it with a lawn mower or ATV won’t be very difficult. On the other hand, if your snowfalls tend to be heavy, wet and deep, you’re going to need a lot more power to get the job done. A larger, heavier machine with superior traction might be required for these tough conditions, so if your lawn mower or ATV/UTV is on the small and light side, you might be better off with a plow truck.

How Wide Is The Plow?

Snow plows come in a variety of sizes, and while a larger plow will allow you to clear more snow in less time (a benefit if you’re plowing large areas), keep in mind that a larger plow also means your machine will be pushing more weight, which is harder and will require better traction.

Snow Plow Vs. Snowblower

If simply plowing the snow into a pile won’t work, which could be the case if clearing a path to you barn door, don’t worry—you can also purchase snow blower attachments that will slice through the snow with an auger and blow it out of the way.

Preparing your lawn mower or ATV/UTV for plowing snow requires some effort, but if you’re up to the challenge, it can do the job well!


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