Richard L. Parish | 4/22/2005 12:47:58 AM
One of the handiest implements you can put on a small tractor is a lift boom for the 3-point hitch, says Dr. Dick Parish, an engineer at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station.
"In some areas these are called boom poles or gin poles," he says.
"A lift boom mounts to the 3-point hitch of the tractor and turns your tractor into a small crane," Parish says.
He explains that the boom has hooks or brackets on the end to attach a chain.
"You can attach the chain to whatever you need to lift, and then use the tractor 3-point lift to raise the load," Parish says. Most lift booms allow you to hook in close to the tractor for heavier loads and have an attachment at the end of the boom for maximum lifting height.
"Screwing the 3-point hitch upper arm in or out gives you more lift range," he says, explaining that some lift booms are designed to mount directly to quick hitches.
Parish says a lift boom is handy for loading and unloading heavy objects from trucks or trailers, lifting heavy machinery parts onto and off of machines, and pulling posts.
"If you need to drag a tree trunk or limb, it becomes much easier if you use the lift boom to lift the end slightly off the ground rather than just dragging it from the tractor drawbar," he says. "And it tears up the ground less."
To increase the useful lifting range of a lift boom, Parish suggests replacing the upper arm that attaches to the tractor with a hydraulic cylinder.
"This will allow you to tip the lift boom up or down for a greater lifting range," he says. "This can be very useful if, for example, you’re lifting something into or out of a truck. The lift range available from the 3-point hitch alone may not be great enough."
Parish says another option to gain even more range is to use a lift boom with an integral hydraulic cylinder to swing the boom up and down.
"Combining the 3-point hitch lift with a cylinder on the boom and a cylinder replacing the upper arm of the 3-point hitch provides a wide range of lift and greater control of the object being lifted," he says.
"A lift boom is one of the most useful attachments you can own for your tractor," Parish says. "You can buy a basic category-one lift boom for a small tractor for less than $100. Heavier booms and the hydraulic cylinders will add to the cost."
For related information on landscape topics, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. In addition, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: www.louisianalawnandgarden.org
Contact: Dick Parish at (985) 543-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or email@example.com