John Deere Maintenance Monday: Dragging and pulling stumps | Living the Country Life

John Deere Maintenance Monday: Dragging and pulling stumps

Every year there are fatal farm accidents that occur when farm tractors overturn while pulling trees. Learn how to drag and pull stumps safely.

Radio interview source: Dennis Murphy, Extension Safety Specialist, Penn State University

In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Matt in Minnesota. He has some trees along a fence row to take out, and is wondering how to safely do this with his utility tractor. 
Dennis Murphy is an extension safety specialist at Penn State University. He says there are fatal accidents every year from farm tractors that have overturned when pulling trees, logs, and limbs. For example, some farmers might put a chain around a log and drag it. The log digs into the ground, and the tractor ends up in a rear overturn. Murphy says there are safer ways to handle the job.
"They really should try to use chokers, and log arches, things that are meant to pick up the log up off the ground so that it can't dig in and cause that rear overturn," he says. "There's a variety of winches, and log arches that can fit on the back of smaller tractors that at least reduces the risk of trying to pull something."
Any device that prevents the log from twisting or rolling while being dragged will increase safety. If you have to use a chain, only attach it to the drawbar. Also make sure it's short enough that it doesn't catch on the rear tire when the tractor is turning right or left.
When you're pulling out a tree stump, hook the stump as low to the ground as you can.  
"Then you would put your tractor in its lowest gear and give it throttle, and then let out the clutch slowly," says Murphy. "Do not try to get a running start, or try to jerk the tree stump out, that's when you get the rear overturns. Or, trying to use high gears and full throttle. You will get a rear overturn."
If the tractor is in low gear, the object you're pulling won't budge, and the engine dies, Murphy says you need a larger machine.

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