3 Unusual Uses For A Three-Point Hitch

The front-end loader isn’t the only lifting power a typical workhorse tractor provides. The three-point hitch can also be put to use in creative ways.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

You might be accustomed to lifting all types of objects with the front-end loader of your tractor. Maybe you use the bucket to move dirt and compost. Perhaps you switch to a grapple or forks for lifting logs and brush. Maybe you even move large rocks, small machines, etc. by chaining them to the front-end loader. But the front-end loader isn’t the only lifting power a typical workhorse tractor provides. There’s also the three-point hitch at the back of the machine.

You might think of a three-point hitch as merely a means of attaching rear implements, but if you don’t have a front-end loader, a three-point hitch can be called upon in a pinch to provide lifting power in creative ways.

Need examples to get you thinking outside the box? Here are three unusual projects I’ve tackled using a three-point hitch.

Read more: Does your tractor really need a front-end loader?

  1. Removing Old Fence Posts

Have you ever tried to remove an old fence post, only to find it refuses to budge? Maybe it was set in concrete and you’re having trouble digging it out. Maybe it’s just set really deep in sticky clay soil.

When removing a simple fence post becomes an unexpected challenge, a three-point hitch can save the day.

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The strategy is simple: back up your tractor to the post, tie or chain the stubborn post to one of the hitch arms, and slowly lift the post from the ground. Talk about a timesaver!

  1. Lifting Heavy Rocks

For a recent garden decorating project, I wished to place a large, flat rock on top of three smaller stones, creating an impressive stone table centerpiece. The rock wasn’t ridiculously large—three or four strong people probably could have lifted it.

But rather than strain backs, I decided to let my tractor’s three-point hitch handle the job.

Using a digging bar, I managed to pry up the rock sufficiently to slip rope underneath. After tying the rock securely to the arms of the three-point hitch (and after removing the tractor’s drawbar for better clearance), I slowly raised the rock, backed the tractor up to the three smaller stones, and lowered the large rock into place.

Easy as could be!

Read more: Got a stubborn fence post? Your three-point hitch can help with that.

  1. Moving (Small) Buildings

Okay, you’re not going to move a barn with your hitch, or even a large shed. But tiny buildings with small footprints aren’t out of the question.

Just recently, I decided to move a small chicken coop measuring about 3-feet wide by 8-feet long. The foundation was simply a frame of 2x4s resting on the ground. By chaining two corners to the arms of the three-point hitch, I was able to elevate one end of the coop and carefully drag the whole building to a new location.

Speaking of “carefully,” safety should be first and foremost when using a three-point hitch in creative ways. Check your tractor’s specifications to see how much weight the three-point hitch is able to lift, and don’t exceed it.

Consider adding ballast at the front of the tractor (such as suitcase weights) to counterbalance the load at the rear. You don’t want to throw your tractor off balance and raise the front wheels off the ground.

But so long as you employ caution and common sense, a three-point hitch can help you out in many unexpected ways. Give it a try!

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