Hybrid Equipment: Is It Right for You?
Whether you have a couple hundred or a couple thousand acres to care for, or you’re plowing, planting, clearing, mending fences or moving snow, farming and landscaping equipment comes in many different sizes. For small-to-medium farms and landowners with extensive grounds, hybrid equipment strikes the perfect balance. For example, you wouldn’t buy a 42″ lawn mower to clear 500 acres of grass — would you ever finish mowing? At the same time, you wouldn’t buy a $100,000 tractor and an 8-foot brush cutter to cut the little strip between the flagstones in your driveway.
Hybrid equipment isn’t anything new, and you may already be using it. Of course, what we’re referring to is the equipment that attaches to a base platform that you already own, such as an ATV, utility vehicle, small tractor, wheel loader or skid steer. Depending on what you own, you may be able to buy an attachment for plowing, seeding, applying pesticides, mowing, harvesting or hauling.
Of course, all these equipment options come with both advantages and disadvantages.
Hybrid Equipment: What’s the Deal?
- Utility. As you would expect, a “does-it-all” equipment platform won’t really excel in one area or another. For example, you may be able to load a small amount of feed (5 cows) with a skid steer attachment, but not nearly as much as with a dedicated front-end loader (300 cows). You could plow a couple of shallow rows, or harrow a little wider, but the main platform simply doesn’t have the power and weight to handle more. You may be able to mount a 6-foot mower to a skid steer, but it wouldn’t be as comfortable as a riding mower.
- Versatility. Depending on the task at hand, you can switch attachments in a matter of minutes, to dig a trench, clear brush, spray pesticides, haul bales and much more. At the end of the week, some options, such as the ATV or UTV, can be used for other things, like a weekend camping trip in the woods at the edge of your plot.
- Comfort. Certain options offer better comfort than others. Large modern tractors are just about as well-equipped as some modern cars, and some UTVs are just as comfortable as driving around in a pickup. In use, a back-hoe attachment on a skid steer may be comfortable for a couple hours, but mowing for 8 hours could be a chore, whereas mowing on an ATV might even qualify as “fun.”
In the end, whether you own a small farm or a large plot of land, hybrid equipment may be exactly what you are looking for. Their versatility and practicality speak for themselves. On the other hand, you’ll have to consider the comfort and utility of the different options to figure out what’s right for you.
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