Every year, tractor owners in northern and central climates wrestle with the question: "what am I going to do about the snow this winter?". Here we offer a couple thoughts for your consideration on this important (and potentially costly) decision.
The first consideration is: How much snow do you REALLY get? Many folks can remember a time of getting "the big one", but how many times a year do you get a snowfall that exceeds, say, 3" overnight? Conversely, how often do you get snowfalls that are more than 24" overnight? Increasingly, there seems to be a trend in more variability, with less overall snowfalls, but also relatively more very large ones.
The second consideration is: How much do you want to spend? There are two aspects to this: MONEY and SPACE. Snow blowers and snow pushers carry both costs. Both can cost in the $1,000-5,000 range, and unless you want them to sit out in the weather in the offseason, both take up space in your garage or barn.
The last consideration is: What kind of driveway do you have? If you have a stone/gravel driveway, moving snow with a blower or pusher can take up a lot of stone, leaving springtime mess. Stones coming through the impeller and out the chute of snowblower have the potential for property damage and injury.
Given those considerations, we would offer:
- If you have a lot of consistent, significant snowfall, and cost (money and space) is not a big consideration, a snow blower makes a lot of sense, especially if you have a paved driveway. There is no question that snowblowers are an efficient means of snow removal, providing you are using them often enough. Note that for very small or very large snowfalls, this solution is not quite as effective.
- If you don't have a front/mid PTO but have similar needs, a snow pusher is another alternative. By design, it does push more than a bucket can, especially if you have a heavy enough tractor. Note that for very large snowfalls, where the snow needs to be lifted away, this is not quite as effective. For stone driveways, these can take up quite a bit of stone, leaving springtime cleanup.
- If you either:
- Don't get a lot of consistent snowfall
- Are watching your budget, are mindful of space, or just don't know what you want to do for next season
- Have a gravel driveway
- Want to move snow on non-hardened surfaces (grass, field)