PHOTO: Ground Hog
November 29, 2016

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I have a fondness for old-fashioned hand tools and enjoy using them on many projects. But when the going gets tough and a lot of hard work needs to be done in a short amount of time, you need machines to get the job done.

Digging post holes for farm fencing is one project that can benefit tremendously from machines. Unless you’re building a small pasture that will require only a handful of fence posts, a gasoline-powered post hole digger with an auger can greatly speed up the process of digging fence post holes and save you a lot of effort.

However, choosing just the right auger for your needs can be a tricky task, as there are several different types to consider. To help you find the one that’s right for you, here’s a brief introduction to augers and some things to consider when purchasing one.

Handheld Augers

A handheld auger (pictured above) is exactly what its name suggests—a self-contained machine that is held in place by hand while its removable auger drill bit does the work of digging the holes. The main consideration with a handheld auger is its level of power—an auger with a two-cycle, 40cc engine is small and controllable by a single person, but it doesn’t have as much digging power as a heavier auger with a four-cycle, 190cc engine, which will require multiple people to use.

Tractor-Mounted Augers

Want to avoid the struggle of controlling a handheld auger? Consider purchasing a tractor-mounted auger. Depending on the model, these augers can be powered by the power take-off (PTO) or the hydraulics of your tractor and often mount on the three-point hitch. The convenience of being able to drive your tractor from place to place to dig holes is a big advantage over a handheld auger, and a powerful tractor with a large auger can dig holes that are much wider and deeper than a those produced by a handheld auger—it’s not uncommon for these machines to be able to drill holes two feet wide.

However, it’s important to make sure that you purchase an auger that will fit your tractor; confirm that your tractor has the right hitch and horsepower to match the auger that you have your eye on.

Auger Diameters & Lengths

The actual auger drill bits that do the digging are removable and replaceable, an important feature because you might want to vary the size of your holes from one project to another. Auger drill bits come in many sizes, so when shopping for the right size, be sure to consider the diameter of the auger (which will determine the width of the hole) and the length (which will determine how deep the auger can drill into the ground). In addition, if you need to drill very deep holes, you can purchase extenders that will increase the length of your auger.

By keeping these general ideas in mind, you should be well on your way to finding the perfect auger for your farm.


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