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One of the reasons skid steer loaders are so popular is their incredible versatility, which helps improve productivity and efficiency on the jobsite. A skid steer tiller attachment busts through over- and undergrowth, hard ground, and more to create the ideal area for planting, in a fraction of the time it takes to hand-till the same area.
The value of skid steer attachments is similar to the value of a car. If you have two legs that work, you don't actually need a car to get from Point A to Point B. You use it because it saves time, sweat, and sore feet. The same is true of a skid steer tiller.
A tiller attachment has the same purpose as a hand-operated tiller: to prepare soil for planting. The units contain replaceable tines that typically reach depths up to 6" to crush or break through large clumps of dirt and unwanted vegetation. It also separates rocks and other objects from the soil.
Tiller attachments come in a variety of styles and capabilities. Most are bidirectional, allowing you to use them either backward or forward. You also have standard rotating tines (all rotating in the same direction) and counter rotating tines (tines that rotate in alternating directions).
There is no single best type of tiller attachment, as the ideal unit depends on the area to be tilled - including size and soil type - and the capabilities of your loader.
One of the first things you need to consider is whether your skid steer's capabilities match the requirements of your attachment, particularly its gallons per minute (GPM) rating. If your loader offers 20 GPM but your attachment requires 40, your tiller will never operate as intended. You may also harm your equipment.
In addition to GPM, you need to consider:
- Forward or reverse: Most people prefer the results of a reverse till model, as it creates a seed bed with finer particles on the top and larger clumps underneath. However, reverse is not the best option for rocky conditions. If your soil conditions vary, you may prefer a forward reverse combo model, which gives you the best of both worlds.
- Chain or gear drive: Both types of drive systems perform well, so the real question becomes which is easier to maintain? Chain drives tend to be easier as far as replacing the chain. You'll likely experience a bit of down time if your gear drive model needs repair.
- Slip clutch or shear bolt/pin: Driveline is really all about personal preference, although most operators seem to prefer the reliability and control that comes with a slip clutch, especially when compared to a shear pin.
- Width: Size varies but averages between 42" and 74". Look for an attachment that matches your loader's width. You can also look at offset models, which make it easier to operate your equipment near borders, buildings, and fences.
- Compatibility: Not all attachments work on all loaders, so make sure the model and brand work with your equipment. You might want to consider a universal attachment, which should allow you to keep the same tiller even if you buy a new skid steer that's a different make.
For optimum lifespan and operation, perform regular maintenance on your tiller attachment. Inspect the teeth before and/or after use to ensure prompt replacement when tines become too dull. Using your tiller with dull blades stresses the attachment, shortening its lifespan and causing it to underperform.
Also, check the tiller for foreign objects or anything else that gets caught in the blades or wrapped around the shaft. Failure to remove these items may damage seals and bearings. Keep the unit cleaned and oiled, paying special attention to any moving parts.
Pricing varies according to size, GPM, manufacturer, vendor, and more. In general, expect to pay between $3,500 and $6,000 for a tiller attachment.
- Everything Attachments 72" skid steer tiller attachment, requires 10-20 GPM, bidirectional, Eaton hydraulic motor, 4 blades per flange, c-shaped tines, price range: $3,800 to $4,400
- Haugen 52” Rotary skid steer tiller attachment, 18-35 GPM, bidirectional, dual direct drive motors, 6” tilling depth, price range: $4,000 to $4,500
- Rockhound Rock Tough 72” skid steer tiller attachment, requires 10-20 GPM, bidirectional, forward and reverse motion, 4 blades per flange, 6 flange total, c-shaped tines, price range: $5,000 to $5,500
- Triple S Power Rotary skid steer tiller attachment, 16-28 GPM, bidirectional, dual direct drive motors, 6” tilling depth, price range: $5,400 to $5,900
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