1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

1500' gravel driveway - compact tractor with blower?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Dave2425, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Dave2425

    Dave2425 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    My wife and I are scheduled to close on a new place at the end of October. We'll be in the country and have a 1500' private drive we'll need to maintain. We live in central North Dakota so we'll likely have a lot of snow to deal with.

    Our situation is similar to Idahoaggie98 - http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=124382

    My plan is to buy a cabbed JD 3720 (43 hp / 35 PTO hp) with a loader and a 66"-78" snow blower (leaning towards Lorenz right now). Is this a good option and will that setup handle everything?

    A friend that has a Bobcat Toolcat is trying to talk me into buying one. He doesn't blow snow with his but thinks it might be a good fit. I don't know much about Toolcats other than what I've researched online and read on various forums. We have two kids so the side by side seating would be nice but I don't know if it's worth the extra money.

    I've added three pics that show the driveway. It is relatively flat with around 1100' running east/west and 400' running north/south.

    Any comments, suggestions, etc are greatly appreciated.


    1500' private drive from RR tracks to house (pic taken facing NW)

    1100' East/West driveway from RR tracks to turn to the north

    400' North/South driveway into our yard
  2. Nismothunder

    Nismothunder Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    A used truck with a plow will be cheaper both in the long and short run then the JD.

    Unless you need the tractor for other things, like moving hay,etc.

    I would advise just a loader for pushing, since that is all I ever see farmers around me running.
  3. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I have a toolcat, and 2 bobcats. around the house i couldn't survive without the toolcat. i have 2 driveways that total 3/4 of a mile and i snowblow them with the toolcat. kept up with our 100" winter 2 years ago. please keep in mind i have over 200 foot of vertical on my drives (total hill climes of 5).
  4. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow removal issues

    Dont even think about a used plow truck for your situation
    because you wil have no idea what condition the
    transmission is in or how sound the truck frame frame is.

    The tool cat is too expensive a piece of equipment
    for what you need because of the individual wheel
    drives and electronics that control the speed and brakes.

    Your better off purchasing the john deere with the loader
    and the rear mounted snow caster as you will have no
    snow banks to deal with.

    The Lorenz snow casters have been around for a long time
    and have a good dealer network.

    You may decide that you actually need a bigger tractor with a cab
    as you will have higher ground clearance and more power for
    the snow caster.

    The larger a tractor the more power the less hard a tractor has
    to work for you.

    I would seriously look at the next size John Deere before you
    commit to a purchase.
  5. Rod (NH)

    Rod (NH) Member
    Messages: 32

    Pictures? I've maintained my 1/2 mile private gravel drive in NH for the last 40 years. A lot depends on the characteristics of your driveway. For instance is your drive wide enough, considering ditches, that pushing banks far back is not a problem? Are there sections that are subject to significant drifting of snow? Plowing is the fastest and easiest. Blowing is best in dealing with drifting and preventing bank buildup if there is no place left to plow to. It is NOT the best for light snowfalls (say less than 4-6 inches, especially on a gravel drive). A loader is fine for a small area but not the best for clearing a long driveway.

    Lots of issues to consider. Are you sure you want to back up using a blower? Personally, I have in the past and don't. Also 35hp is a little on the light side for a 6ft blower in my opinion. It will be slow. I think you definitely should consider adding a quick attach type plow to enable easy switching between the loader bucket and plow as conditions dictate. If drifting is not an issue and you have plenty of room to push banks far back, I wouldn't even bother with a blower. Both of those are major problems for me and that is why I have both a plow truck and a Bobcat skidsteer with 6ft blower. If I have less than 6 inches to deal with, I windrow the entire half mile with the truck and blow the windrow out of the way with the skidsteer to prevent bank buildup. That seems to be the most efficient way of doing it for my particular circumstances.
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.

    You do not have PM privaledges yet so
    I will add my comments here.

    As you have a lot of flat land obviously
    because of the railroad right of way
    a snow blower will be your best option
    with the front end loader candidly
    as the blowing snow will pack heavily .
    where ever it lands and a dozer or
    excavator is the only relief for your
    kind of snow fall when it packs.

    If have seen any of the snow clearing videos
    on Youtube for the plains railways you will
    understand why you need a snow blower

    You will be recieving a lot of armchair suggestions
    but most being 99% are not familiar with your
    snow falls and the type of snow storms you
    have on the plains

    I would strongly suggest that you upgrade your
    power size to the next tractor frame size to eliminate
    issues with being short of power in heavy dense
    packed snows that your area has.

    Oh and before I forget it the 540 RPM blower will move
    snow with much more power and snow casting ability
    than the Tool Cat and you will need this power for your
    driveway and snow falls.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  7. MidcoastMainiac

    MidcoastMainiac Member
    Messages: 95

    I would not even consider a plow for that drive as all that stone would end up out in the field. Snowblower set up a little would be my choice.

  8. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,978

    what ever you decide, put oversize shoes on it, i use an 8' lucknow blower behind a 60hp allis, added 3" wide x 16"long shoes on the sides like a walk behind to keep it off the stone. it's a pain running backwards but does the job.....after the driveway hardens from freezing temps, i do tydy up with a loader.......ideal set up would be loader on front blower on back!
  9. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    All I'm going to say is, I know I wouldn't want to look behind me for 1500' for one pass. Unless you have other uses for the tractor you are better off with a truck.
  10. Dave2425

    Dave2425 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks to everyone that replied. I appreciate all of the advice and suggestions!
  11. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Just some additional thoughts.Not sure what your budget is.There are pro's and con's to a truck vs a tractor. If money is not a big factor and you can use the tractor for other things then go with the tractor.
    If there are budget constraints then a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup with a v plow. Not sure I think you can put a v plow on a tractor and that may be a better choice then the blower. I would imagine that there are not many thaws and snow is or could be on the ground from Nov till April. I would also think you can get some big blizzards of heavy accumulations.
  12. Spucel

    Spucel Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    I dont know much about blowers to really give an opinion but I have some thoughts on this.

    If you use a blower you will be able to get the snow farther back which will help with the buildup from multiple big snowfalls. If you use a plow you will build up the sides of the driveway pretty quick then you are screwed.
  13. treefarm

    treefarm Member
    Messages: 51

    I can only tell you my driveway is close to 1500 feet and a tractor with a front or rear mounted snowblower is absolutely the way to go I have an F350 with a plow if I'm in a rush I use it, but nothing can compare with snow blowing you'll never have to worry about running out of room with a snowblower or making ice walls. The only recommendation on the first few passes of the season keep the snowblower a little high to make a good packing base and then lower your skid shoes for the rest of the season until spring where once again you'll have to raise the snowblower so you don't throw stones. As someone recommended prior I would check into more HP at the PTO. Here's a picture of my setup I've posted it before but here you go 84 inch snowblower and 60 hp tractor nothing it can't handle including a 48 inch snowstorm in 2007 in upstate New York. One other thing you could always get away with less of a tractor that road was maintained with a 14 hp garden tractor with a 36 inch snowblower it can be done however trust me a larger machine will make you feel better and the tractor too take care

  14. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    I have a 600' driveway with a 2,000 sf turnaround.

    When I first moved here, it was just a dirt road with alot of rocks; not even really a gravel driveway. I purchased a Kubota B7500 with a front mount 5' blower. It was a real pain though because of all of the rocks breaking the shear pins, and also because it was slow.

    Fast forward a few years - paved the whole thing and put a plow on my truck. Best thing that I ever did. Faster and warmer, and on the days when there's no new snow, but drifting, I take five minutes to push the drifts back.

    I traded out the Kubota for a larger MF, mainly because I was mowing more land. Swapped the front blower for a 3 pt blower too. Used the tractor mainly to push back the banks, but also used it instead of the plow when we got hit with a Nor'Easter.

    However, using the rear mounted blower was still slow, and my back was in pain for weeks after doing it because of running in reverse (I'm 50 now).

    Last year I got a skidsteer with a blower and enclosed heated cab to used instead of the tractor. It's heaven.

    My two cents - you should at least for for a plow, V-plow if you can. Based on the pictures of your driveway, you can plow way off your driveway (three to four feet) which shoujld give you more than enough room between melting to pile the snow. That's what I do on my driveway - I have marker stakes on just one side about a foot off the driveway, and leave the other side (the side more prone to drifting) unmarked so that I can plow almost four feet onto the grass.

    Good luck!
  15. treefarm

    treefarm Member
    Messages: 51

    I totally agree with most of the things you said, however snow blowing is the most efficient way to move snow in a single driveway I plowed for years professionally with other people's trucks and my own, nothing is as clean as snow blowing one pass and you're done no ridges no snowbanks. As far as backing up I'll give you that it takes some getting used to. It's really not that big of a deal especially with most of the new modern tractors having rear view mirrors on both sides of the cab I never looked back I have learned to trust the mirrors, and also installed a backup camera with LCD that folds down in my sun shade total cost $275 a small investment which saved me $10,000 for a front mount system. It's kind of funny were having this discussion my brother has just bought a brand-new John Deere 4000 series with a front loader mount hydraulic driven snow blower a whopping $13,000 setup he's insane his driveway is less than 200 feet. It all comes down to how much you can afford and how comfortable you want to be. What ever way you go make sure the equipment is large enough to handle the job at hand. A good rule of thumb is go one size bigger then what the dealer recommends you'll never find yourself saying I wish I did not have so much power it will always be the opposite trust me ;-) , as I stated earlier I maintain this driveway in the photograph with a 14 hp gravelly lawn tractor with a 36 inch snow blower anything can be done but it would take all day and if the storm was bad you would constantly try to keep up with it versus today just letting it get done go out one time started tractor back down the road one pass and I'm done this is why I'm recommending a larger snow blower 84 inches or larger to cover the road in one pass and a larger tractor to handle the job. Just out of curiosity how much snow do you get on an annual basis? Take care

    PS I will post pictures of my brothers new toy money received it this week i'm kind of curious to see how it's going to work with the Hydro pack on the back and snow blower mounted on the loader will see
  16. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    treefarm well said with regards to more power (that's what Tim Allen would always say more power Oooo, Oooo) If your gonna spend 13000 whats another 1500 or whatever the amount for a bump up in HP.
    Is your brother going to let you test out his new toy (I mean blower in case his wife is listening)
  17. treefarm

    treefarm Member
    Messages: 51

    LOL not only is she listening she had to get her kitchen remodel first then the tractor. All kidding aside it looks to be a really nice tractor I believe it's 50 hp I'll just be curious to see how the hydraulic pump handles the heavy snow we get in the Northeast. Apparently they're waiting on a wire harness he should have received the tractor last weekend. We went tractor shopping and compared all models including the new Holland however the John Deere's cab really is sweet no arguing their it's just like a car interior plus the hypostatic transmission is a plus for his wife she just could not learn to drive a clutch I tried to teach her on my tractor a total disaster ;-) . I have often thought of selling my rear mount and buying a loader mounted snowblower with hydraulic pack made by other companies I just can't get my head around the price it's just so expensive luckily my yard is not too full of equipment in the winter and my road is pretty much straight back with just two hills I have a video posted on tractor by net of me snow blowing my backyard if you care to check it out http://videos.tractorbynet.com/video/903/snow-blowing take care
  18. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    nice video & tractor
  19. Dave2425

    Dave2425 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Very nice tractor and video.
  20. treefarm

    treefarm Member
    Messages: 51

    Brothers new toy arrived you can almost see the smile on his face, it's a really nice tractor I think it's overkill but he is getting older and he doesn't want to deal with plowing or his lawn garden tractor with 40 inch snowblower especially with the last few years and storm totals. it's so funny he used to bust my chops and call me a little girl because i had a tractor with air conditioning and heated cab I couldn't stop laughing when I saw him climbed in his new tractor and I called him a hypocrite ; - ). Now we'll just have to wait and see if John deere engineering really works the dealer claims he doesn't require the external oil cooler during the winter months will wait and see I think that's the only mistake he made he should've had one installed that oil is going to get very warm running those motors will see take care

    snowblower tractor.jpg