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ADVANCES in affordability, quality and
performance have made the backhoe
far more accessible to the average small
This article provides an overview of what
can be done with a backhoe, some tips on
operation, types available and what to consid-
er when purchasing one.
What you can do
Dig Trenches: A narrow bucket about
180mm is used for trench work. It is ideal to
take the back-breaking work out of laying
General purpose: A slightly wider bucket is
generally used for general purpose digging -
300-500mm. Uses include digging pits, dig-
ging out tree stumps, digging holes for tree
planting or breaking up soil so it can be han-
dled with a 4-in-bucket.
Batter: Wider buckets about 900mm can be
used to transfer soil that is already dug up. It
can also be used to scrape surfaces for final
Ripping: A hook-type fitting can be attached
to the backhoe to break up hard soil or rip out
objects such as tree roots.
Changing attachments: Buckets or rippers
can be easily removed by pulling out the two
pins that hold them in place. This means
buckets can be changed over in a matter of
Digging must be done such that the
machine is stable. Work on flat ground and
always put the stabilisers down.
On larger commercial machines, the stabilis-
ers lift the wheels off the ground. But on small
acreage machines, the stabilisers should be
pushed onto the ground firmly but the wheels
should not be lifted into the air. If the tractor
has a loader mounted on the front, lower it to
the ground for increased stability.
Digging should be completed in small incre-
ments. Best practice is to scrape material to
loosen it and then scoop it out. If you simply
plunge the bucket deep into the soil and pull
it straight out, it may simply not come out and
work the tractor hydraulics excessively.
Boom options: There are two types of boom
options available. The ‘fixed’ boom is for all-
round general requirements and the ‘side-shift’
boom brings a new level of performance to the
small area farmer. Previously only available in
commercial level equipment, this feature
enables the boom to be hydraulically shifted to
either edge of the tractor. This allows digging
closer to fence lines, building etc. It also
enables more compact stowage when driving
around. This is very handy when going
through farm gates.
Drive types: Backhoes come in two drive
styles. Universal models can be retrofitted to
many brands of tractors and are driven by the
tractor PTO. Other models are factory issued
for a particular brand of tractor and driven
through the tractor’s hydraulic system.
Things to consider
Backhoes come in different sizes so you
need to ensure the one you choose is rated to
Manufacturers will generally provide a guide
based on tractor horsepower.
There are backhoe models for tractors as
small as 20hp through to 55hp and upwards.
The bigger the backhoe, the bigger the
hydraulic rams fitted.
This means more digging force can be
applied. However, if you are looking at a
hydraulically-driven backhoe, the hydraulic
pump on the tractor must have sufficient flow
to drive the rams.
Think about the depth you may need to dig.
Various models range from about 1.7 metres
Adding a backhoe puts a lot of weight on
the rear of the tractor. It is important that the
front of the tractor does not become too light.
If the tractor has a front end loader, the bal-
ance will probably be OK. If the tractor does
not have a front end loader, ballast will prob-
ably be needed.
Backhoes for small area tractors are general-
ly designed to be mounted to the three point
linkage. Have a look at how easily the system
can be fitted/removed and also how secure the
attachment method is.
A robust ‘A’-frame system will prevent the
backhoe from moving up and down on the
linkage arms allowing the full force to be
applied to digging.
And, of course, check out prices - they start
at about $7500.
•Safety is always the highest priority. Always
use a tractor that complies with Australian
Standards including Roll over Protective
Structure, seat belt and protective covers.
Only take on tasks within the capability of the
machine and operator.
• Need to know more?
East Wind tractors and Hanmey implements
feature in this article. For more information visit
eastwind.com.au or hanmey.com.au or ring 1300
TRACTOR (1300 87 22 86).
Get the most from a backhoe
Use a general purpose bucket for tasks such as
FITTING a backhoe to a small area tractor can really increase the range of tasks undertaken on around the
farm. JOHN HUGHES says the beauty of a backhoe is that it can still be removed and other implements
fitted, extending the versatility of the tractor.
Use narrow bucket for trenching.
A backhoe is a handy addition to a small area
Buckets are easily removed by removing two
Five different backets are available.
Use a better bucket for scraping loose material.
A universal PTO-driven backhoe.
A side-shift bucket is ideal for digging close to
A side-shift backhoe stows away neatly.
Sales to all areas including the Riverland,
South East, Barossa, Mid North, York Peninsula,
Fleurieu Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills.
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Ph: (08) 8569 8159 Fax: (08) 8569 1354
Phil: 0427 708 002 Carl: 0418 813 276
Specialising in the sale of
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