What Is a Tractor Backhoe?

B. Turner

A tractor backhoe is a large piece of equipment used in agriculture and engineering applications. It resembles a traditional farm tractor, but has been modified to incorporate a large backhoe attachment for digging. This attachment may be installed by the manufacturer, or added later by the user. Generally, a tractor backhoe features a standard bucket front, with the backhoe positioned on the back of the machine behind the operator.

A tractor backhoe is indispensable for large digging projects such as stock ponds.
A tractor backhoe is indispensable for large digging projects such as stock ponds.

The backhoe attachment resembles a human finger. It features several hinges, or knuckles, along the arm that allow the operator to draw the bucket back towards the tractor. It also allows the bucket to be lifted in the air to dump dirt or as part of a demolition project. The tractor itself can be supported by wheels or tracks, depending on the type of landscape they are used to navigate.

While many people associate tractors with farms, the tractor backhoe can be used in a wide variety of settings. They can be found on ranches and in land-clearing operations. They also serve as a powerful tool in the construction industry, particularly in urban areas. Their small size allows crews to use a tractor backhoe in areas where a traditional backhoe or other large equipment simply won't fit.

The tractor backhoe is often used to move dirt when installing or replacing underground piping and utilities. They are also used to dig holes for landscaping or farming, or even to remove old asphalt and concrete paving. This machine can even be used to demolish a small structure, such as a shed or outbuilding.

One of the primary advantages to the tractor backhoe is its size and maneuverability. This machine costs less than traditional backhoes, and can be used in even the smallest areas. They allow workers to complete a project much faster than if they were digging by hand, and can even remove moderately-sized rocks and roots from the ground. Many tractor models are also adjustable, so that users can add or remove different types of attachments to meet the demands of different projects.

On larger projects, a tractor backhoe may be insufficient and time consuming, particularly when it comes to moving large quantities of dirt. Like all tractors, the tractor backhoe poses safety issues. These tractors are quite top heavy and prone to rollover if used incorrectly. While larger backhoes are often operated by trained professionals, these smaller units may be used by those with little experience or training, which can increase risk even more.

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