View Full Version : Leverage for an auger

Jun. 29, 2012, 01:44 PM
We have a weight driven auger for the back of our compact tractor that does absolutely SQUAT on hard dry ground. It spins and spins and makes smokey dust. Are there any tricks to making it work, or should we just rent a bobcat with a hydraulic attachment?

By far the most difficult and frustrating thing for us with running fence has been digging the holes. 1 in 100 holes goes down without manual assistance (if that).

Jun. 29, 2012, 02:02 PM
Brave people weld on a long lever so that a human can apply down force while doing their best not to get wrapped around the auger and killed. A counter weight might be safer but harder to deal with while not drilling.

If you have 100s of posts to get in, paying somebody to pound them or renting a tool with hydraulic downforce would be well worth pricing.

Jun. 29, 2012, 02:22 PM
Well, some of us who've put in alot of posts have BEEN the extra weight. I avoid loose clothing and eat a heavy breakfast. When running fence, I try to take advantage of the weather, and do it when the ground isn't so hard and dry. the other option is to get the hole started a bit with hand held post hole diggers, after the first 6 inches, the auger gets a better bite. AND...good advice from the guy where I got my tractor...we bought a cheaper brand for the gear box and arm, but traded up for the bush hog brand bit, which has 4 "teeth" attached to the bottom end of it. These pieces are rectangular and bolt onto the leading edge of the blade, they DO get dull, and they get turned around backwards sometimes when you hit large rocks etc. We bought extras and have actually swapped them out as they wear and notice a difference in how the digging goes. I had no idea about these teeth when working with a friend's auger years ago, and have had a MUCH easier time with the new auger.

Jun. 29, 2012, 02:25 PM
We welded a 6 or 8 foot steel (1090 or such) bar (not tube) to our auger so then one of us would hang on the end of the bar (well away from the bit). The added force was about 560 pounds thereabouts. We did hundreds of holes that way. Of course it was a heck of a ride when we hit rocks, roots, or the like.


Jun. 29, 2012, 02:44 PM
We always stood on top of the auger. The steel bar idea sounds safer but while it is certainly possible, you have to be a pretty big fool to wrap yourself in an auger. The PTO shaft is a lot more dangerous, make sure your guard sleeve is in place.

You can weld new teeth on an old auger. They do help but they also wear out regularly, if you have rocky soil especially.

Jun. 29, 2012, 03:42 PM
I agree, the big danger is the PTO, if you have the shield in place, you are safer, but again, no loose clothing is key. I'll admit, having seen the hydraulic driven augers on bobcats etc, looks like it slices through anything like it's butter. Here in clay soil, that would be really nice thing, but I usually save fencing for spring and fall, when it's cooler (that's hot work) and the ground is moist.

Jun. 29, 2012, 03:44 PM
Body weights not enough, unfortunately. This dirt is bone dry and tough as nails right now. I LOVE that bar idea, having ridden the auger rodeo, that sounds much more pleasant!

Jun. 29, 2012, 04:17 PM
Sounds like you have too many posts to dig, but is their any way you can water? Slow deep water to soften?

We have dry dirt and lots of shale..... We bought the heavy duty rock bits and it helps, but mostly had to assist in the hole digging with manual rock breaking.. :(

If you can get a hydraulic one, I'd do it!

Jun. 29, 2012, 08:44 PM
Rent a bobcat or skidsteer with a hydraulic attachment:) fencing is the worst!!

Tamara in TN
Jun. 29, 2012, 08:48 PM
if your attachement lacks the dog for the job you need to rent one that does....not in my lifetime would I get near a moving PTO and we have them in both 1000 and 540 rpm


Tom King
Jun. 29, 2012, 09:28 PM
Wait until the ground is soft. Best time for fencing here is late fall. Here, in different times of year, each hole can go from impossible, to 5 seconds with two big, strong men on a 2- man auger. I wait and let the guys do it when the ground is soft. The tractor auger only gets used now when we are building a pole building.

Jun. 29, 2012, 09:42 PM
Get a hydraulic auger.:cool:
PTO augers are a pain in you know where, for us mostly worthless unless we are working in sand and then, hand digging is not much slower anyway.

Honestly those PTO augers went out of style decades ago.
No one worth it's PHD, post hole digger in fence building would use one today.;)

Those that insist on using that kind deserve all the irritation they go thru.:p

Jun. 30, 2012, 09:20 AM
Do you have access to a second tractor with a FEL? I have seen one fence builder use the bucket on the second tractor to push the auger in, when my weight was insufficient

Jun. 30, 2012, 01:20 PM
Start the holes with your pto auger, clean out by hand diggers, fill hole with water. Move onto the next hole repeat the process, keep working down the line, say 10 holes at time. Go back to the first hole, loosen the hole with a sharp shooter shovel, then the auger, clean out, more water. repeat til finished.
Slow, yes, but you will get it done. I have built lots of fence this way.

Jun. 30, 2012, 01:34 PM
Go with the bobcat. We put in our fence during a drought. The auger on the tractor could only get through the topsoil not the clay. Even the bobcat was challenged but got through it. We would never have finished with the tractor. Good luck!

Jun. 30, 2012, 08:04 PM
Not sure if it would help you or not, but last summer when I was moving my electric fencing, I was having problems getting the posts into the ground.

I borrowed a big rechargeable drill from my Dad (it has four batteries) and used that with a big bit to break up the ground a little. Worked okay- I just had to take it slowly.

(I wore safety goggles and a dust mask, too.)

Jun. 30, 2012, 08:13 PM
Before they came out with hydraulic augers, we too had several different kinds of PTO augers, that also didn't work too well.

We used to take a long tamping bar, hook it over the gear box and have someone on the end hang down from it, or if there were two big people, center it and have them hang on both ends.
Still, it was anyone's guess if the next hole would dig or sit there spinning when in hard ground.

I have yet to find a place my hydraulic auger doesn't dig, we even have a rock bit for it.:cool:

We have at times snapped the shear bolt in some of the hardest spots when very deep and it hangs on something that doesn't give at all, but that is easy to replace.

For years, a neighbor that has a PTO auger kept calling me to dig holes for him, with his auger standing there tied to a tree, very much useless.
Any more, they almost sell for scrap around here.

Jul. 1, 2012, 08:38 PM
100 hundred holes is going to take a lot of time if you have to “mess” with each hole before you even get the post in. Then you have to back fill and more importantly, if you want your fence line to stay reasonably straight over the years, each hole has to be tamped tight. Back breaking work. When doing some shorter run fence lines with an auger I have found it best to use an undersized auger in relation to the size of the post. I have a helper hold the post on top of the hole and drive in down with my bucket. They go in nice an tight. We use 4X6 posts for our fencing and contrary to popular believe a square peg will go into a round hole nicely.
As others have said the job is even harder with dry hard ground. 100 post IMO merits looking into the cost of renting a Bobcat with a pounder. If your tractor is big enough and has the hydraulics 3 point versions can be rented. However the hard dry ground will still be problematic especially depending on the type of post used. Breakage. My neighbor puts up fencing for a living and avoids scheduling a job under those conditions.
But if you have to stay with the auger rig up a leverage bar. Leverage is what built the pyramids. Figuring out how to rig it to your auger is what farming on a budget is all about. An 8’ piece of 2-3” pipe cut to size should do the job. And will make much shorter work of it. I don’t see what’s to worry about the safety working around the PTO in this situation. The leverage pipe sticks out the back or to the sides for 2 people to work. Well away from the PTO. This has worked well for us so far. No deaths no injuries.