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traveler

snow removal with a tractor w/bucket?

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looks like I'll lose my plow guy this winter; looking for alternatives. i've got about a 200 ft drive, with a large turnaround/apron area in front of my pole building and large garage. Way too much for my snowblower. So...I hire someone else to plow, or buy something to do it myself. Considered a blower for my 18 hp lawn tractor, but I'm worried it will shorten it's life considerably, and i don't know if it's up to the job. My own older truck w/plow is another idea, but I don't really need another vehicle sitting around, and the cost of a decent one seems high for limited use. I could use a tractor for various work (round hay bales, for one thing), and they can be had fairly reasonably. But...I don't know much about 'em. Would they be effective clearing/moving even a heavy snow reasonably quickly? Do they start well in cold weather? Any thoughts? Suggestions on brand/size?

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It's a hard question to answer.

"remove RELATIVELY quickly"..... what's relative in your mind? 20 minutes? 1/2 hour? Sometime before the next storm?

How wide is your drive way?

If you're going to look for a tractor with a bucket, you're going possibly look for one with 4 wheel drive.

The problem with the bucket and 2 wheel drive is going to be lifting a fairly full bucket of somewhat wet snow, you're going to lose the traction on the back wheels.

If you're looking for something big enough to move round hay bales also, you're going to be looking for something of pretty decent size, and therefore probably in the $6k+ range, if not quite a bit more.

I know right now, looking on hsolist, there's alot of decent priced trucks, couple even with plows on that are fairly reasonable, under $5k.

If your drive is one that's 8-12' wide, at 200 feet with a 5' bucket, you're looking at about an hour for a 4" snowfall, again depending on how clean you want the drive.

I'm just throwing that number out because you mentioned that you don't know alot about them, so I'm giving you some extra time with the learning curve.

Once you're used to a tractor moving the snow, depending on how heavy it is, and how frozen your drive is when you're trying to clean it up, you could probably have it done in 30 minutes, from the time you put your boots on, until you're having the hot chocolate afterwards.

Also, is your drive paved / concrete? Or is it gravel?

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How about a tractor with a rear-mounted snow blower?

Pushing snow with a tractor and bucket is a mess - and it leaves HUGE piles, unless you are very careful/talented.

If you are thinking about moving round bales, you will need a bigger tractor, which should run some sort of snow blower.

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the drive is gravel, more like 12 wide, with the turnaround area in front of the garages maybe 40x60 ft, it's a pretty big area, to the point that I thought I'd be willing to leave part of the turnaround snow covered for the winter. I'd like to be able to clear it in an hour tops, it takes my plow guy 1/2 hour with a 6 in or so snowfall. Sounds like the tractor would be fairly slow. Another thought, I have a 94 explorer that i use as a fishing truck, it ain't much:) It's just a 6, would it have adequate power for plowing? Are there used plows around much, and how expensive/difficult would it be to put one on the explorer. Obviously it would be hard on the old truck, but I would only be plowing my own drive.

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How about a skidsteer. they will do the job in half the time of a tractor and loader. Plus you can move your haybales. You can get just about any attachment you could ever think of for one also. I'm particular to the Mustang brand.

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the drive is gravel, more like 12 wide, with the turnaround area in front of the garages maybe 40x60 ft, it's a pretty big area, to the point that I thought I'd be willing to leave part of the turnaround snow covered for the winter. I'd like to be able to clear it in an hour tops, it takes my plow guy 1/2 hour with a 6 in or so snowfall. Sounds like the tractor would be fairly slow. Another thought, I have a 94 explorer that i use as a fishing truck, it ain't much:) It's just a 6, would it have adequate power for plowing? Are there used plows around much, and how expensive/difficult would it be to put one on the explorer. Obviously it would be hard on the old truck, but I would only be plowing my own drive.
plow on the explorer be the cheapest. Neighbor has a plow on his old explorer and it works fine. For your use it would be perfect I'm not sure on price but a 6 to 7 footer used should go for $900 tO $1200

Though a skid loader would be the awsome with a snow plow attachment.

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Yep, i would second the skid steer.

You can pick up a used one for a decent price. Comes with the bucket usually, but you can get a snow bucket too.

I personally would opt for the snow blower attachment, that way you wont have the furoughs and the drifts wont become as bad. just another option

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Biggest problem with the skidsteer, price.

You're probably going to get into one for no less than $5,000, and that's one that's going to be fairly old, most likely without a heated cab.

Also, anything with a snowblower and gravel drive isn't usually a good combination, unless you drive on the first 2-3 snowfalls and pack down a base.

I would look for a plow for the explorer. They'll have a light duty plow for it, it's called Sno-way, or even Western makes a light duty homeowner type plow.

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All you need to do is mount some skids on the bottom of your snow blower to ride up an inch or two. I have a gravel drivey and the plow guy I hired left a hill of gravel every place he had a pile. Now even with the 4 wheeler and plow you have to keep it up until everything freezes good.

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thanks for the responses guys. I'd love a skidsteer, but I hate buying old machienery that I'm not able to work on myself (which is pretty much all of it) so a late model Skidsteer is way more than I want to spend. I'm going to look into getting a plow for the explorer; that sounds like the most economical way to go, and the redive has been cleared with a plow for years so i know it works well. We do leave the first snow or 2 for a base and haven't lost much gravel that way.

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