Tom’s Tips 5 rea­sons you need a winch

The hand­i­est piece of equip­ment you may ever own on a farm is a winch – and not nec­es­sar­ily for the rea­sons you think, writes Tom Dick­son

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

The ve­hi­cle-mounted winch was de­signed as a means of re­cov­ery in the event some­one’s ve­hi­cle be­came stuck, bogged, or just sim­ply didn’t have enough grunt to climb a steep in­cline. How­ever, af­ter 30 years of farm­ing, I’ve found so many uses for a winch that I’ve for­got­ten what half of them were. Here are five of the best:

1 A rock stuck between a trac­tor’s dual wheels can cause ir­repara­ble dam­age in a very short time. You would prob­a­bly try to bash it out with a ham­mer, which takes a lot of time, en­ergy and skin from your knuck­les. An eas­ier and quicker method is to wrap the winch ca­ble around it and sim­ply pull it out. The same can be ap­plied to rocks stuck between the discs and tines on cul­ti­va­tion equip­ment.

2 Strain up ringlock and wire net­ting on fence lines, straighten gateposts so the gate swings prop­erly and pull a bent tine back into line. It’s even pos­si­ble to pull a steel post out of the ground by nudg­ing up to it and at­tach­ing the ca­ble to the base of the post. This will give you about 30cm of lift.

3 Pull up the un­der­ground pipes of a wind­mill by loop­ing the winch ca­ble over a pul­ley at the top of the mill tower.

4 Hitch­ing up mul­ti­ple rollers to a tow­ing frame can be a tricky and time-con­sum­ing task, but thread­ing the winch ca­ble through the draw­bar on the frame and at­tach­ing it to the hitch point on the roller pulls the two ends to­gether for easy con­nec­tion. This is a per­fect ex­am­ple of a winch turn­ing a twoman job into one you can do on your own.

5 Every live­stock owner knows the mess you can get your­self into by drag­ging live­stock out of the sticky mud sur­round­ing a dry­ing dam. A winch and a har­ness have the job done within min­utes and you don’t get cov­ered in mud. I have even used a winch to as­sist cows with the de­liv­ery of their calves when they couldn’t get the job done on their own.

WHAT TO BUY

First and fore­most, make sure you have enough pulling power to get your ve­hi­cle out of a sticky sit­u­a­tion. You can choose the brand, but get some ad­vice and don’t be afraid to spend a few ex­tra dol­lars for qual­ity. Prices start from as lit­tle as $300 or $400 for a cheap unit, with bet­ter-qual­ity units go­ing up to around $1500 to $2000.

The guys at Umhauers, who spe­cialise in 4WD ac­ces­sories, rec­om­mend a 5670kg/12,500lb unit as a min­i­mum for farm­ers be­cause the weight of the farm ute it­self can of­ten be around 3500kg. The key to main­tain­ing com­plete con­trol and ac­cu­racy comes from buy­ing a winch with a plug-in or wire­less re­mote to op­er­ate it from out­side the ve­hi­cle.

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