Utility vehicles (UTVs) are becoming a common piece of equipment on the farm. Growing up around our farm, we always used an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), that's called a 4-wheeler in the South, with a small trailer or a chain for pulling logs. But as my parents get older, hopping on and off the ATV is tough. So the benefits of having an auto-like cab with a bed for easy transport makes a UTV must-have for any farm. From hauling tools and people or trudging through muddy acres to fix a fence post, you can use a side-by-side UTV to complete hauling tasks and quickly move over rugged terrain. Debating whether a UTV is a good fit for your farm? Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses!
Hauling Materials, Supplies and People
Farmers and ranchers use a wide variety of materials, from dirt to mulch to feed and more. Not to mention all the supplies, from shovels to twine to pressure washers. UTVs with large cargo beds come in handy to transport these materials and supplies quickly and easily from point A to point B. They can also be used to transport people to and from fields or around the feedlot without having to jump into a truck or tractor.
UTVs have several advantages to help those who are raising animals. A side-by-side UTV allows you to drive and navigate through pastures and lots over rough and muddy terrain to check on animals as needed. Plus, a UTV can help you catch and transport younger animals by putting them in the cab with you or can be used to herd cattle through a field or down a road. The quietness of some UTVs will allow you to drive alongside animals without disturbing them.
Many UTVs have standard hitches, providing the ability to tow trailers and smaller equipment. Some farmers have specialty equipment based on the operation that the UTV works perfectly for – for example, portable cattle fencing. Some even provide the ability to mount a hitch in the front for more functionality and capabilities.
I’ve ridden many miles of fence in my life, and fixing fence seems like a constant task. Whether it’s replacing older fencing, fixing a fence that was damaged by a storm or by animals, or putting in new fencing, this is a job that happens on many farms. UTVs are useful for this process since you can carry all the supplies with you directly to the fence location. Many also provide winch accessories that can be used to pull fence posts.
Spraying or Spreading
UTVs with larger cargo bed sizes and capacities give you the ability to mount sprayers and spreaders on the vehicle, making it easier to spray weeds or spread seeds, fertilizers, sand or salt. Match this with the versatility that their smaller size provides and this work can be completed very efficiently on a farm.
Field and Yard Work
A common and repetitive chore on the farm is keeping the fields and yards clean from rocks, limbs, branches and debris. The cargo bed and dumping capabilities of UTVs make this job go much more quickly.
When looking for a UTV for your farm, it’s important to know that many of them are built for recreational purposes and may not have the features or capabilities you need for farm work. That said, there are a few things you can keep in mind when you’re shopping to help you find the right model to get the job done:
- Operator Comfort – Driving ease and comfort are becoming more desirable features to end-users. Look for a spacious and comfortable cab with power steering included.
- Durability and Load Hauling Capabilities – Make sure you have enough rear cargo and/or towing capacity to handle the tasks at hand and the bed material is strong enough for your needs. A side-by-side UTV with an all-steel cargo bed is going to be much more durable and customizable than one with a plastic bed.
- Customization – Because farm work, terrain and climate vary widely, you may want to consider the availability of UTV accessories outside of standard industry packages. For instance, if you’re working with fence posts or in a muddy area, a winch could certainly come in handy. Or, if you live in a cold climate, an in-cab heater is the perfect solution.
- Ease of Maintenance – When it’s time to service your equipment, it needs to be quick and simple. Some UTVs on the market today were purposely designed with this in mind — providing easy access to service points so you can perform necessary maintenance even when you’re out in the field.
To learn more about what to consider when selecting a UTV for your farm or ranch, visit this full checklist that we’ve compiled to help make the selection process easier.