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Spring 2011

Rethink Your Grading Techniques with a More Efficient Soil Conditioner

Attachment Spotlight: Bobcat Soil Conditioners

Bobcat soil conditioner attachment

Bobcat soil conditioner attachment

If you're someone who uses a bucket with your Bobcat® loader for grading purposes, there's something you need to know. A Bobcat soil conditioner attachment is likely a better fit to give you improved results because it's a durable, one-pass tool that clears rocks, grass, weeds and other materials.

What is a soil conditioner?

Simply put, the soil conditioner is a front-mounted attachment that sculpts and shapes the dirt; levels rough spots; and sorts out debris to prepare the soil for new seed or sod.

A direct-drive hydraulic motor turns a drum with carbide-tipped teeth for ripping through rich soils or hardpan (dry, compacted soil) to help loosen it to make better base for sod or seeding. The drum rotates the opposite direction of the tires. A front bolster with two caster wheels provides a long wheelbase for smooth operation, and the bolster oscillates to minimize the effects of bumps and dips.

Bobcat soil conditioner attachment

Top view of the soil conditioner attachment

How is this one different?

The soil conditioner sorts material — dirt stays behind and other objects are raked out (pushed to the side). Many of these objects can get buried when grading with a bucket. The Bobcat attachment can go deeper if needed in some areas. It also operates in forward and reverse, allowing you to choose your preferred technique, and when in forward motion, gives good visibility to the attachment and the work in front of you.

Maintenance items

In a few minutes you can quickly prepare a soil conditioner for routine use. It's best to follow the recommended maintenance in the Soil Conditioner Operation & Maintenance Manual. Here's how easy it can be: Simply lubricate the fittings on each end of the cylinder, as well as the bearing at the end of the drum, the front pivot bushing and the center pivot bushing.

Operating tips

  1. Depth control: One of the nice features of the soil conditioner is, once you have the depth set properly, almost anyone can drive on the jobsite and get it to grade. The bolster on the front shaves off high spots and fills in low spots. Use the hydraulic version for fingertip depth control.

  2. Dry soils faster: To get back on a jobsite faster when the soil is wet, operate the soil conditioner to fluff the soil and let it air out. You'll be back on the site sooner than letting it dry itself.

  3. Forward or reverse: You can choose to operate the drum in forward or reverse. To operate the attachment in the forward rotation, push the trigger switch on the loader's right handle or joystick. To stop the drum, simply push the trigger switch a second time.

  4. Precise control: With the hydraulic version, you can angle the soil conditioner attachment by pushing a switch on the left handle or joystick. This will give you better control and allow you to create advanced features like swales.

Soil conditioner for compact tractors

3-point hitch soil conditioner for compact tractors

Did you know?

For compact tractor owners, Bobcat offers a 3-point hitch version of its soil conditioner. This is a popular implement for landscape contractors because of the soil conditioner's versatility. It angles up to 25 degrees left or right and its carbide-tipped teeth pulverize the soil to create a fresh area for new sod or seed.