Growing Your Own? Choose a Two Wheel Tractor.
Why Choose a Two Wheel Tractor?
Two wheel tractors are to horticulture what four wheel tractors are to agriculture. They’ll almost everything a large tractor will do, but on a smaller scale and at a fraction of the cost.
Two wheel tractors are powerful, versatile, pedestrian-operated machines which will power implements and accessories to a whole range of jobs. Depending on the model, they will handle rotavating, ploughing, mowing, ridging, chipping, and many other tasks around the estate or smallholding.
However, whereas a four wheeler can cost in excess of £15,000 and a ‘compact’ over £6,000, a two wheel tractor can be bought for around £3,000.
Their key feature is their versatility, and as they are designed to do so many different things they can be extremely cost-efficient, allowing owners to operate with fewer machines with lower capital and maintenance costs. Why buy different machines for seasonal jobs when one power unit can operate all the implements needed?
The handlebars of the BCS two wheel tractors rotate through 180o allowing the machines to operate both rear mounted implements such as rotavators and ploughs, and front mounted implements such as mowers and grass cutters.
The first two wheel tractors were developed in Italy to meet the needs of small farmers. There the tradition was, as it still is, to divide land on the death of the owner between the heirs, resulting in smaller and smaller parcels of land being passed on, and this stimulated the original development of these small, powerful and versatile machines.
The fundamental design of two wheel tractors remains very simple, though some designs such as the BCS range have been improved many times and have more features and are more versatile than the more basic models. The key common features are an engine which powers the wheels so they are ‘drivable’, forward and reverse speeds, a gear box, and a power-take-off (PTO) to which implements can be attached to perform different jobs.
When considering the purchase of any two wheel tractor it is important to establish its relative performance in a certain area; its efficiency as a rotavator (a key role) the range of other implements and accessories available, whether they’ve been purpose-built to do the job, and whether the design of the tractor and implements allows them to ‘work’ together as a totally integrated unit, rather than just as an engine with a ‘bolt-on’ implement. BCS two wheel tractors offer unbeatable performance in all these areas. They are the world’s best selling two wheel tractors and have been sold across the world since the company was formed in the 1940’s.
A key task for most two wheel tractors is rotavating. The two wheel tractor should have specially strengthened digging units, and the BCS tractor, for example, has a unique design which enables it to break up the ground between the centre tines giving a find ‘seed-bed’ finish in all soil conditions.
Controls should be mounted on the handlebars for convenience and safety, and they should be able to be swung to one side so the operator can avoid trampling on freshly cultivated earth.
Implements are usually held in place on locating studs or by quick release couplers, and it is important that they can be easily released to allow other implements to be fitted.
Engines in the BCS range include petrol and diesel, from 4.8hp to 11.7hp with some having the option of electric start.
To illustrate the versatility of two wheel tractors here are some of the tasks you could use one for throughout the year. You don’t have to buy a huge range of implements to start with. When you buy a two wheel tractor you can start with the basic power unit and one or two implements to see you through the season, adding further tools as you move into the next season and have different tasks to do.
A new attachment is the precision depth roller. This versatile accessory transforms the 66cm and 80cm rotavators into a hybrid attachment combining the final bed preparation and cultivating advantages of a power harrow with the vegetation-chopping and groundbreaking abilities of a rotavator.
Ridgers can also be fitted for earthing up potatoes, leeks, sweetcorn and other root vegetables, and for seed planting and forming irrigation channels.The BCS machines offer two - an adjustable ridger that bolts onto the PTO or the trailed ridger which fits behind the rotavator.
There is a very useful, and cost effective, cultivator kit available. This comprises a toolbar frame and three implements – a slatted mouldboard reversible plough, a ridger, and a potato lifter.
Other mowing attachments include:
- Rotary mowers with the option of either side chute ejection or grass collectors, for lawns or shorter grass cutting.
- The mulching mower which is ideal for managing rough grassy areas where collection isn’t required.
- The flail mower, available in two widths, is one of the most popular implements and is designed to tackle the worst possible cutting conditions in heavily overgrown areas. In a single pass it will cut and mulch leaving a relatively neat finish.
Two wheel tractors with ridgers for trenching, and that will take different sized rotavators will help you can get the correct width and depth of dig for individual crops, and help make winter vegetable ground preparation easier.
To make moving crops and other bulky goods easier, there is a wheel barrow attachment available for the larger models that can carry up to 125kg.
If you grow herbs a scythe cutter bar on a two wheel tractor will enable you to cut the crop cleanly, carefully laying it to one side, without bruising, for easy collections.
The larger two wheel tractors can be fitted with a powered rotary plough for creating furrows of different depths, and often larger pneumatic wheels and wheel weights can be added for extra safety and efficiency on difficult ground.
Power brushes are available from BCS for sweeping leaves, clearing moss, and other debris.
If you want to turn winter prunings and other organic waste into compostable material, you can fit a chipper shredder to some of the larger two wheel tractors. It will reduce 3” branches to small chips, and other material, such as hedge cuttings, bracken, straw, brambles, paper and soft vegetable matter to small shredded pieces for composting or simply for easier disposal.
During severe winter weather, all power units in the BCS range can be fitted with snow clearing implements including a snow blower for breaking up snow and propelling it away, a snow plough for pushing snow up to 30cm deep, and a snow brush for sweeping snow and leaving a clear surface.
BCS two wheel tractors offer a host of accessories from quick release couplers so you can swap implements quickly and without the need for tools, to wheel weights if additional traction is required, to a range of tyres for different applications and terrain.
Tracmaster have been distributing BCS Two Wheel Tractors in the UK since 1984 so can offer unrivalled expertise and advice regarding all aspects of two wheel tractors whether you are a professional, a homeowner, or a smallholder. We also have the backup of a nationwide network of experienced dealers who can offer demonstrations and after-sales care and support.
For more information on on anything in this article please contact us.