What are the Different Types of Tractor Attachments?

KD Morgan
KD Morgan
Cultivators are pulled by tractors.
Cultivators are pulled by tractors.

Tractors are all purpose, off-road utility vehicles used for everything from sophisticated commercial farming and construction to personal gardening. There are tractor attachments for just about any job you want to undertake. Tractors range from small rider mowers, or lawn tractors, for your yard and landscaping to very significant, heavy-duty equipment tractors made for agricultural, excavation, farming and industrial purposes. Typically, a tractor refers to heavy equipment.

A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.
A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.

Most tractor attachments that are used for jobs such as digging or cutting attach to a power take-off (PTO) drive shaft. The PTO allows tractor attachments to be run by the power of the tractor engine. This saves significant time and money as this turns your tractor into an all-purpose vehicle.

Most people who use a tractor on a regular basis will agree that a quick hitch is one of the most important attachments available for a tractor. This allows all your tractor attachments to be attached quickly and easily. Before the introduction of the quick hitch, putting on and taking off each attachment was a tedious task.

Tractor attachments add versatility to a typical tractor.
Tractor attachments add versatility to a typical tractor.

Some of the most common tractor attachments are backhoes, blades, buckets, bush hogs (mowers), harrows, and hole drillers. The backhoe is a valuable piece of equipment as it allows you to dig precise holes from the comfort of your tractor. Many of the more sophisticated ones have GPS and depth gauges to allow construction to dig specific alignments for foundations.

Tractor attachments such as spraying devices prepare the soil with liquid nutrients and pesticides.
Tractor attachments such as spraying devices prepare the soil with liquid nutrients and pesticides.

Blades are great for plowing snow and large quantities of dirt. Tractor attachments also offer snow blower attachments to move the snow out of range. Buckets, which are a semi-permanent attachment can also be used for moving but also can carry rock, equipment and many other options. They have a hydraulic lift for greater mobility.

Mowers come with a variety of capabilities. The typical bush hog is a large mower that can comfortably mow acreage. Side mowers are tractor attachments that allow you to drive on the road while mowing the side ditch, or any area that the tractor cannot reach.

An auger is one type of tractor attachment.
An auger is one type of tractor attachment.

Harrows and tillers drag, loosen and cultivate the soil in preparation for planting or finishing the ground. Equine arenas and baseball infields are examples of uses for harrows. Hole diggers and augers are used to drill for installation of fence posts, footings or drilling through soil or loose rock. Rake attachments form rows of your cut hay or straw so it can easily be dried, cured and prepared for baling. Balers actually form the hay into condensed hay bales.

Augers use a spiral -- or helical -- shaped bit to drill, typically into the ground.
Augers use a spiral -- or helical -- shaped bit to drill, typically into the ground.

Planting attachments create rows of seeds specific for the crop with the appropriate distance in between. Spraying devices prepare the soil with liquid nutrients and pesticides. Spreaders are used for spreading manure or prepared compost or other soil composites. They allow for even distribution and ease of removal of large mounds of manure.

For the lawn tractors, many of the tractor attachments available for the standard tractor can be purchased for the smaller home versions. Snow blades and blowers, buckets, and wagons are available. In addition, these mowers have attachments that will bag the lawn clippings. This vacuum device will stores clippings until you are ready to empty. These tractor attachments are available for the zero turn radius mowers as well.

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    • Cultivators are pulled by tractors.
      Cultivators are pulled by tractors.
    • A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.
      A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.
    • Tractor attachments add versatility to a typical tractor.
      Tractor attachments add versatility to a typical tractor.
    • Tractor attachments such as spraying devices prepare the soil with liquid nutrients and pesticides.
      Tractor attachments such as spraying devices prepare the soil with liquid nutrients and pesticides.
    • An auger is one type of tractor attachment.
      An auger is one type of tractor attachment.
    • Augers use a spiral -- or helical -- shaped bit to drill, typically into the ground.
      Augers use a spiral -- or helical -- shaped bit to drill, typically into the ground.
    • A farmer uses a tractor tiller to turn and aerate new ground, and to further break up soil that has already been used once.
      A farmer uses a tractor tiller to turn and aerate new ground, and to further break up soil that has already been used once.