After spending your grand-kid’s inheritance on your new sub-compact tractor, it makes sense to consider how you can use it for snow removal.
The question is, do you need any more attachments/accessories to remove snow efficiently and successfully?
There are a surprising number of snow-removal options for the 1-series. We’ll evaluate the most popular configurations here.
Front End Loader
One might call this the ‘default’ option. If your 1-series came with a loader, this option might not cost you any extra. For many of us, that is very important. We’ve spent more than we should have on our new toy/tool than we should have anyway.
The loader can move snow, but frankly, it isn’t very efficient. One advantage is that one can pile snow quite high. So, deep snow can be removed with the loader. However, it is difficult to keep from digging into your gravel driveway, or scratching your asphalt or concrete driveway.
If you are considering this option, I would recommend looking into a set of Edge Tamers.
Edge Tamers reduce the bucket’s tendency to dig into the driveway surface. This is an inexpensive solution, and might allow you to ‘get by’ for a year or two until you can afford one of the other more costly options we’ll discuss next.
54 Front Blade
This is the same 54 inch blade used on the x700 Signature Series, as well as the older 400 and 500 series tractors. The complete solution including quick hitch and raise/angle cylinders will cost you $1300-$1500 new.
The parts required for this solution are a bit confusing. Rather than attempting to list the exact parts required for your tractor, I’ll refer you to the Mutton Power 54 Blade Configuration Tool.
- Fast Cleanup (faster than loader or blower)
- Easy to attach/detach, and switch to loader or mower deck.
- Quiet, smooth operation when equipped with rubber cutting edge
- Compact size, and power angle makes snow removal easy in tight situations
- Blade doesn’t lift very high, so hard to push large piles of snow. (see proposed solution below)
- Not quite wide enough for the 1-series when fully angled (see proposed solution below)
- Doesn’t handle extremely deep snow-falls well. I have plowed 10 inches without any issues. As of yet, I do not know the ‘maximum’ the blade would take. However, the blade certainly won’t handle as much as the blower or loader.
- Quick Hitch mechanism is cumbersome, and slightly under-engineered for the 1-series, and even more so for the 2-series.
Before moving to the next option, I should mention a few options available for this solution which might make it more attractive for you
Artillian Upgrades (rubber cutting edge, and wings)
Artillian offers a couple of enhancements which improve the performance of the 54 blade. The wings provide another 6 inches or so on each end of the blade. This makes the blade approximately 66 inches wide. This is plenty wide for the 1-series, even when fully angled. Additionally, the rubber wings are much safer when operating near a house or car.
The rubber cutting edge allows the blade to slide quietly, and clean the surface completely.
These kits come with all of the necessary hardware to mount to your blade. Once you get these options, you can use rubber ‘horse stall mats’ for replacements as necessary.
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words. Take a look at my “Artillian enhanced” 54 blade in action here:
Loader mounted 54 blade
Enhance the 54 Blade solution with the Artillian Quick Hitch Adapter.
This solution provides most of the advantages of the 54 blade with a few additional advantages. You can pile snow as high as necessary, and you can quickly remove the blade for loader operations.
- Most of the advantages of the 54 blade alone
- Ability to ‘Pile it high and deep’
- Easy removal to use loader for other things
- Higher cost than 54 blade alone (but still cheaper than snow blower)
- Less ‘compact’ than 54 blade alone
47 or 54 Snow Blower
The front mounted snow blower is the premier solution for high snow-fall areas. If you count your snow-falls in feet instead of inches, then you should definitely consider the front mounted blower.
Folks often ask whether they should buy the 47 or 54 inch version. The 1-series tractor is about 47 1/2 inches wide. This might work when going perfectly straight. However, when turning or maneuvering for a corner, it is much easier to have a blower wider than the tractor. I have never heard any complaints about sufficient engine power for the 54 inch, so I would highly recommend choosing it.
While this is a wonderful choice for high snow fall areas, there are some significant disadvantages to this solution. Let’s evaluate the advantages and disadvantages closely.
- Ability to remove large amounts of snow
- Throws snow long distances. This prevents large piles right beside the driveway
- With appropriate cutting edge, cleans the driveway very nicely
- High initial cost
- Can throw rocks at your windows
- Unpleasant to drive without a cab. (Snow blows back in your face).
- Doesn’t work well with small snowfall (1-2 inches)
- Slower to use for smaller snowfalls (less than 10 inches)
- More difficult to remove than other options. Must remove mower auto-connect to install PTO shaft. There is no ‘auto-connect’ for the snow-blower.
Like the 54 Blade, the front mounted blower uses the Quick Hitch connection to the tractor. It also requires an additional component to connect the mid-PTO to the blower. Again, I’ll refer you to Mutton’s excellent snow blower page rather than attempting to list the exact parts necessary for your tractor.
If you choose to get a snow blower, I would recommend that you consider a cab for your tractor. I’m planning a post on some of the enclosure options for the 1-series.
Another option is a ‘snow pusher’. CT Attachments makes a snow pusher compatible with the Deere loader quick attach (JDQA) system.
A snow pusher is similar to your loader bucket. The most notable difference is that it has no ‘bottom’. It is used to push large piles of snow rather than pick up a bucket full of material. The ends are larger and deeper than a regular bucket which keeps the snow contained in front of the pusher rather than it ‘leaking’ around the edges. This approach makes it easier to do the final cleaning on a surface.
The CT Attachments example above is a 72″ pusher. This is likely a bit too wide for the 1-series, but perfect for the 2-3 series.
- Easiest system to attach/detach
- Easier to use and less driveway damage than front end loader bucket.
- No custom hydraulics necessary. Uses built in loader hydraulics
- Maybe less flexibility in snow placement? If in a small driveway, this might be an issue
- Might have difficulty pushing large piles of snow on slick driveway with 1-series
Overall, this seems like an attractive option due to its simplicity and utility. I do not have personal experience using one so I cannot comment further. (Hint to CT Attachments 🙂 )
Frontier rear snowblower
- Easy connect/disconnect (with I-Match, or even better, with I-Match auto-hitch).
- Can handle any snow situation.
- Could be combined with snow pusher for even more utility
- My neck hurts. I’m tired of looking backwards
- Nearly as expensive as front mounted blower
Personally, this is one of my least favorite options. I just don’t want to ‘go backwards’ all of the time. However, in the right situation, I could see that it would provide the most flexible options for snow removal.
The 1023E/1025R can be a tremendous snow removal tool. There are many viable configurations. Some of the configurations can be used as stepping stones from a financial standpoint. For instance, you could purchase the 54 blade and quick hitch now. If that proves to be insufficient to handle your snowfall, you could add the Artillian loader mount quick attach adapter. There is very little cost duplication in that scenario.
Alternatively, you could add the front mount snow blower on the same quick attach frame you purchased for the blade. Again, the blade becomes a stepping stone.
If there simply is no budget available, I would suggest looking at the edge tamers. This will allow the loader to work as a competent snow removal tool without destroying your driveway.
Oh, and there is one last option. Pray for spring to come soon!