What Is a Farm Jack?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A farm jack is a multipurpose tool originally developed for agricultural applications that can be used for lifting, winching, and clamping operations. In addition to being useful in farm settings, it can be used in construction, car repair, and a variety of other activities. The operation of a farm jack is relatively simple, and the device is very rugged and durable, capable of withstanding extremely high strain without failing or buckling. Agricultural and tool suppliers often carry these tools along with components to replace worn parts.

A farm jack can be used to lift a tractor to change its tire, similar to a car jack.
A farm jack can be used to lift a tractor to change its tire, similar to a car jack.

The farm jack consists of a long beam with holes and adjustable clamps with pins that lock into the holes. The user can attach a lever to move the clamps, allowing the jack to be adjusted up or down for different purposes. For example, on a vehicle with a high suspension that a normal jack could not reach, the farm jack can be used to lift the vehicle to work underneath. Multiple jacks can be applied to a project to position it appropriately and hold it safely.

Farm jacks can be used in foundation repairs, work on vehicles, and activities where people need to stretch and tighten cables, fencing, and other materials. The device may come with insulation pads on the clamps to avoid scratches and gouges. The height it can reach is determined by the length of the beam, with a number of sizes available. Each jack also has a weight rating to let the operator know about the maximum weight it can handle.

It may be helpful to keep several farm jacks on hand with beams of different lengths. A long beam can be cumbersome and difficult to handle when it is not strictly necessary, and it may be useful to have a range of options for projects. Operators should also take note of weight ratings and respect them with their jack use, as a low-rated jack could fail on a heavy lifting job. This could be dangerous to people working around the jack.

Like other mechanical equipment, a farm jack works best when properly maintained. It should be stored in a covered area to limit exposure to rain and the elements. If it is used in a wet or messy environment, it can be advisable to wipe it down after use to make sure it is clean. Periodic oiling can keep the jack moving smoothly and prevent halts or stutters while jacking weights up and down.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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