PTO for Draft Animals



One of the limiting factors of draft animals is that they do not come with the PTO needed to operate many modern implements. What to do? Consider the PTO forecart.

PTO for Draft Animals

PTO for Draft Animals

While there is a small but steady interest in the use of draft animal power for farming, one of the limiting factors is that draft animals do not come with the PTO (power take-off) needed to operate many modern implements.

What to do? Consider the PTO forecart.

When it comes to PTO forecarts, there are two basic options:

  • Ground-driven carts. These convert the team’s forward movement into power. Ground-driven forecarts can power implements made to operate with tractors up to 24 horsepower (HP).
  • Motorized carts. These rely on a motor to provide the power, ranging from 20 HP motors to 118 HP diesel engines. Motorized carts are more expensive than ground-driven carts

Both ground-driven and motorized forecarts can be equipped with battery-operated hydraulics.

A PTO forecart can be used to power a variety of equipment, ranging from no-till drills to mowers and everything in between. With the right forecart and enough animals, the small farmer can operate nearly any of the implements designed for smaller and mid-sized tractors.

The versatility of the forecart is increased even further if it is built to allow the farmer to use either a pole or shafts to hitch the team. This permits using teams of any size, shafts being for a single horse and a pole being for a team. Of course, if you have only one draft horse, this feature may not be necessary, but it does allow for scaling up.

One thing to keep in mind is that a certain amount of speed may be required to operate some implements, such as no-till drills. For this reason, oxen may be too slow in some cases. Horses are best for your PTO needs, as they have a fast working pace. A mannerly mule team is also suitable for this purpose.

Another caution is that forecarts typically do not have the braking power needed to stop a runaway team. PTO forecarts should only be used with well-trained, even-tempered animals.

As draft animals have acquired a steady, if small, following, manufacturers of draft equipment have stepped up to the plate, making a forecart surprisingly easy to find. New models may be a little expensive for the bootstrapping startup, but the price is still considerably less than that of a new tractor. Furthermore, many farmers find a forecart to be money well spent, as it is versatile enough to be in use most of the year.

When shopping for a forecart, keep in mind that not all types are suitable for use with PTO equipment. Some are simply designed to allow a team of animals to be hitched to an implement that would normally be pulled from the drawbar of a tractor. If PTO is what you want, be sure to find a PTO forecart.

For those who are serious about farming with draft animals, the PTO forecart may very well prove to be an essential piece of equipment.

Draft Animals