4 Front-End Attachments Your Tractor Needs

A front-end loader is a must-have tractor attachment, but other front-end implements can be helpful too. These four attachments can boost your productivity.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

One of the most popular and versatile attachments for any tractor is a front-end loader. For hobby farmers in particular, who tend to tackle a wide variety of tasks from week to week, a front-mounted bucket is perfect many tasks, including:

  • moving compost and manure
  • digging and shifting dirt
  • clearing snow
  • transporting materials
  • grading driveways

But the hydraulics that power your front-end loader can do so much more! You can install many other useful attachments on the front of your tractor. They further expand its capabilities while making your farm chores easier, faster … and maybe even fun!

Some attachments can be installed directly on the bucket of your front-end loader. Others are installed in place of the bucket.

Here are four worth considering:

Read more about grading a driveway using your tractor.

1. Bucket teeth

Adding a row of teeth to the bucket of your front-end loader can increase its capacity and—more importantly—its versatility as a digging tool. It literally gives it the teeth it needs to take powerful bites out of tough ground.

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The shape of the teeth can be an art form in and of itself. Varying sizes and shapes offer ideal performance for working with rocks, clay soils, soft soils and more.

2. Forks

Forks can be installed on the bucket or in place of the bucket to quickly turn your tractor into a forklift. This offers you the ability to transport pallets of supplies, hay bales, logs, large branches and more.

As with a front-end loader, how much your forks can handle depends on the strength of your tractor. But even a utility tractor of modest size can handle a lot of material. I’ve moved multiple 8-foot pine logs at once with forks installed on a 40-horsepower diesel tractor.

In many cases, forklift attachments are adjustable, allowing you to change the width between the two forks. This is an important feature if you wind up working with pallets of different sizes, or if you’re moving something more obscure and need the forks to be set a specific distance apart.

Round or square hay bales—which is best for your farm?

3. Bale spear

A hay bale spear is a lot like a forklift attachment, except it’s specifically designed for transporting round hay bales.

Designs vary, but a typical bale spear uses a handful of tapered spears to penetrate a round bale in multiple locations. This provides a secure means for the tractor to lift and transport the bale to wherever it’s needed.

Since round hay bales are large and heavy, a bale spear is a must-have attachment for farmers feeding these bales.

4. Grapple

A favorite attachment of mine, a grapple installs in place of the bucket and is the perfect tool for dealing with logs, branches, brush and more.

The hydraulic-powered jaws allow you to secure a tight grip on your load and lift it up for transportation to a more appropriate location, whether that’s a brush pile, a wagon or a sawmill.

A large grapple mounted on a strong tractor will significantly speed up your efforts to clean up tree debris on your farm. In turn, you will save a lot of time and manual labor.

Hoping to increase your productivity and farm work output this year? Fire up your tractor and give these attachments a try!

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