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Plowing on gravel

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Hedfarmer, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Hedfarmer

    Hedfarmer Junior Member
    from ND
    Messages: 4

    Hi, Im new to this forum but not new to plowing. I wasn't able to find the information I was looking for in this site regarding my applications. Lots of good useful information, though pertaining city/urban settings. Anyway, here goes. I have used a mid sized tractor with snowblower/loader w bucket for years. Getting tired of this slow painstaking time consuming scenerio. I have decided to go with a 8'5" V-plow to put on my 99 k2500 crew cab Chevy. I have to travel in a 25 mile stretch when leaving the farm shop and returning to the shop after every snow fall, especially the constant heavy hit snowstorms in a short period of time. 4 and half total miles of gravel roads to plow and 4-5 farm yards to do. I may assist a cousin's bobcat snow removal during pinch times 10 miles away in town.

    My main concern is, which V-plow would be able to withstand the use on gravel the best/longest. For the roads, I don't plan on having the plow on the road fully but low enough to get most of the snow out of the way. For the yards, I would have the plow on the ground as it would be slower speeds and the gravel are already packed flat--basically smoother. I know the edges will need constant replacement, so that one I can live with by having a few replacements on hand. The nearest dealers are 75 and 100 miles away. Boss, Western, Fisher, Hiniker, and Sno-way. Of course, if I have issues, I will be fixing myself because Im not going to bother with the long trips to the dealer for service. However, I would be willing to take the plow in once a season for seasonal checks and whatnots. So, that aside, I am not too concerned with service. After each use, it would be cleaned up and dried in the shop so it would always be clean and ready for the next snowfall. Just want the best possible plow for my application. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    I plow my gravel drive acreage with a Hiniker straight blade so I'm not going to tell you which brand of v-plow to buy. However, I prefer to get a snow base built up on the gravel. I set my skid pads a little lower than the blade. This way I am not pushing gravel around. My edge then has minimal wear because it isn't touching the gravel 80% of the time. Less rocks too to pick out of the grass in the Spring. Hiniker is a farm equipment company as you probably know. Their plows are very well built.
     
  3. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Welcome to Plow Site Hedfarmer.
    I'm with Snowzilla as I like to pack the snow down hard and hopefuly the ground is frozen. Once you have a good hard base, forget the shoes. Most guys say to use them as boat anchors. The shoes will work if the ground is fairly level and hard. That is until you forget that you have them on and try to back drag an area. It will dig a couple of nice trenches. I can only speak for the shoes on a Meyer. I don't know about the round style. There has been a lot of talk here about the 2 inch pipe installed on the cutting edge here lately. You can read some back posts or try the search function and read about the different projects.
    Good luck plowing
     
  4. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Get a Boss V and have fun.
    Raise the plow just a bit for gravel till the ground and snow pack is solid
     
  5. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,361

    Since your plowing gravel you should get a trip edge IMO. A Fisher or a Western would be a good plow to get for your situation IMO.
     
  6. Hedfarmer

    Hedfarmer Junior Member
    from ND
    Messages: 4

    Thanks for the inputs, fellas. I did a little more research as far as weight and issues and this is what I came up with. I put my choices in order.

    Boss--the lighest and most popular. This is what I see around here. A relative of mine runs a boss plow in the largest city of ND. Almost all of his plowing counterparts runs boss. Good reviews as a whole. My advantage is his knowledge at any time.

    Western--a lil heavier. About the next most common plow besides the boss. Overall good reviews

    Fisher--right up the alley behind Western. Good reviews. Not as many though plows seen as above 2..

    Hiniker--next lightest behind Boss. Seems there is mounting issues not being strong enough. Still not sure if its worth looking more into this model. Strangely, this MN built plow is not seen hardly in my part of the state of ND. Maybe not enough exposure or there is a reason.

    Sno-way--The heaviest and least common. I feel this may be putting my truck to the max as far as weight goes along with almost nonexistent counterparts around the area. I think I am going to put this one in the don't bother to think about stack.

    In a nutshell, Boss and Western is what I have narrowed down to. Prices will be pretty close. I have quotes and their only $100-$150 apart. If any of you fellas have a couple cents to put in on certain brands, feel free to comment. Thanks.
     
  7. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    You may want to check out Equipment Specialists (plowsite sponsor and regular contributer) via their sponsor link at the top. If you aren't going to worry about dealer support due to working on them yourself. They might be able to save you some money. Good Luck to ya.
     
  8. jimspro

    jimspro Senior Member
    Messages: 200

    I have 3 Boss v-plows, used to have a western v-blade, the boss is better in my opinion hands down, we do do some gravel lots, and keeping the blade just off the ground is what works best for us until there is a layer of hard packed snow to go over, hope this helps
     
  9. Hedfarmer

    Hedfarmer Junior Member
    from ND
    Messages: 4


    You got a very good point. I see their plows can be had for much cheaper than the local retailers here. I'll have to check and see what shipping would run me. Thanks
     
  10. Bill QT

    Bill QT Junior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 29

    I also, have a gravel road to plow this winter, It is a one lane, that is 2.5 miles long, up the side of a mountain residential area. I have a Meyers 8 ft blade with no feet[ pads ] . His association says 6" and call the plow. Do I need to install pads,or just plow it as close as I can, without ripping the gravel up. Bill
     
  11. Drottlawn

    Drottlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    My buddy in northern michigan uses pipe on his edges. It works good for not ripping up the ground and it also helps build a base the first couple of plowings. Once the base is set, run with out the pipes. Once it starts to thaw in spring, use pipes again.
    Also I highly recommend Equipment Specialists. I bought from last year and planning again this winter. They are definitely the cheapest!payup
     
  12. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375

  13. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Maybe it's one thing to plow a personal gravel drive & another to plow a gravel road. I don't really see the county maintainers running their blade off the ground or special blade edges. Their blades are very heavy and on the ground. If they left a snow pack the roads would be icy and dangerous. It might be good to consult someone who maintains county roads for a living to get some advice on this.

    However, I am thinking of a road grader though where the blade is suspended by design of the machine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  14. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375


    I have property on a gravel road and the county plows with a belly plow and do a very nice job. Sure they may screw it up if the ground starts to thaw. Of course they have the money and equipment to fix it in the spring.. Every spring they re surface the roads.
     
  15. Bill QT

    Bill QT Junior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 29

    KenYou, Thanks. Read all five pages of that thread you sent me to. Lots of good info. I like the pipe idea, but Snowzilla has a very valid point, this is a mountain road,and I cannot have it slick. What do you think about spraying calcium chloride on it after plowing.I am going to the NCDOT guys this morning, to get opinions. Thanks Bill
     
  16. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    Plow shoes work for me....... Cheaper than buying cutting edges ...
    Adjust just until you see a little light under the plow,...
    I am able to scrape right down to pavement....
    Original cutting edge 8-9 years old...
     
  17. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    You are very welcome Bill. A lot of my plowing is on gravel and the last thing I want to see is for the ground to thaw out.

    The county plows here, spread sand on gravel and salt on pavement. As for spraying calcium chloride on gravel roads... I wouldn't think so, although I have never tried it. I'm sure some of the real Pros will know more about it.

    Hey, Good luck Bill
     
  18. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Maybe another strategy for plowing a long gravel road and avoiding wear & tear on road, blade, & truck would be to drop the blade, then lift it a little to put some weight on the truck (& less on blade edge). Just an idea of something to try. I've only seen gravel roads maintained by county road graders.
     
  19. jimspro

    jimspro Senior Member
    Messages: 200

    i wouldn't apply the calcium after plowing the road, it will start thawing the road and then plowing up gravel and leaving tracks from the tires
     
  20. MattR

    MattR Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    I have a gravel driveway and live on a gravel road. Actually most of the roads in my area are gravel. What the town does here is they do NOT plow the first few times on the gravel roads. This allows the residents to drive and pack it down for them. Once a base of approx 3 inches of packed snow is established, they start plowing our roads when it snows. Personally i never seen them lift the blade a little to plow. Think about it, you lift it a little and hit a bump. You now have a huge gouge in the roadway. Next time you plow, you hit that first gouge and the truck dips into the gouge and you now have a second gouge in the road. See what I am getting at? Once they have a packed base and begin plowing here, they spread a sand/salt mixture for traction. Just enough salt in the mixture to keep the sand from freezing. Keep in mind though, we do not have mountain roads here in WI. Just letting you know how the County and Town plows do it on the gravel roads in my area. Hope it helps you a bit.

    Matt