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How to Handle Tough Terrain With Your Tractor

8 Tips for Operating a Tractor on Tough Terrain...

Whether you’re encountering steep hills or trails packed with rocks and logs, there are some specific precautions you should take when navigating your tractor through tough terrain. Here are eight tips to stay safe and work effectively.

Utilize Safety Features

The first step to navigating any type of terrain is using your tractor’s standard safety features. All Yanmar tractors come equipped with seatbelts and a rollover protection structure (ROPS). Whenever the tractor is in motion, your seatbelt should be buckled with the ROPS locked firmly in place. Both features add significant protection for the operator should a rollover occur.

Ballast for Balance

When working on loose or slippery terrain, you can increase the traction by filling your tires with liquid ballast. The wheels are the lowest point on the tractor, so the additional weight lowers the center of gravity to provide better balance and traction. Common liquids used for ballasting include water, calcium chloride, antifreeze, washer fluid, and even beet juice.

Remove Obstacles and Debris

Tractors can take you a lot of places, but sometimes obstacles are just too big or risky to drive over or around. Driving over large rocks or logs can cause your machine to tip and even damage critical components. Luckily, a tractor can also help do the work needed to clear your path. Larger Yanmar options like the YM Series boast up to 59 horsepower and 2,500 lbs of front lift capacity at the pivot pin.

Operate Up and Down

Even if a slope is clear, it’s one of the more risky areas to use your tractor. The sharp angles of hills or ditches can make you more prone to tipping over. You’ll also want to avoid moving heavy objects on a slope that could pull or tip you in one direction.

Alternatively, when working in low lying or flat areas, the rear differential lock helps maintain traction in muddy or slippery conditions. The bottom line is, always try to know the terrain you’ll be operating your tractor on and assess the possible risks ahead of time to help avoid a dangerous situation.

Keep the Loader Low

The front-end loader is a versatile feature that can help you accomplish tasks you never could otherwise. At the same time, you want to stay in careful control on rough land. Always keep the loader as low to the ground as possible when it’s both empty and full. The higher you raise the loader, the higher your center of gravity. As the center of gravity goes up, so does your chance of tipping, especially on bumpy or sloped terrain.

Slow and Steady

While modern tractors allow you to pick up some speed, slow and steady is the best way to operate on rough terrain. When moving down a steep hill, keep your tractor in low gear to help restrict the momentum pulling the weight of the machine downward and prevent yourself from riding the brakes. Also, don’t hesitate to use your four-wheel drive for increased control. This feature should be utilized