Fencing: Post driver
Brent Lilley discovers a simple, easy-to-use post driver that is perfect for the average farmer.
The Farmtek post driver from Fence-Pro is the perfect entry-level post driver.
Contractors and large-scale farmers who do a lot of fencing will want a bigger post driver that is side-mounted with various options, such as side shift, rock spikes, augers and telescopic masts. Fence-Pro caters for these needs, as well as providing solutions for those looking for a simple, easy-to-use post driver that can do all the jobs around the farm at a very affordable price.
The best way to test the Farmtek post driver was to drive 2.7m posts into hard packed clay around our cattle yards. Since an extra pen for drafting cattle in the spring had been on the cards for quite some time, we jumped at the opportunity.
Hitching the post driver onto the tractor is easy enough, and completed in minimal time: the top link from the tractor is removed; the hydraulic hose and free flow return are connected; and the tractor hydraulics are set in constant pump. The hydraulic top link can be adjusted from the control bank on the post driver to attach it.
Well-built with a solid steel beam for the four-metre mast and a large, greasable main pin to allow for side tilt, the machine's movement is facilitated by two hydraulic rams that are plumbed into a control bank on the left-hand side of the post driver, allowing it to tilt forward, backwards, and side to side. A steel post cap with a small spike holds the post firm and square while driving into it into the ground. As standard, the post driver is fitted with a 200kg weight. This is lifted by a 10mm wire rope that passes through a large pulley at the head of the mast, then three times through the two pulleys that are connected to the hydraulic lift ram for smooth and quick lifting.
Operation of the post driver is very simple and operator-friendly. Once the tractor is backed into the position where the post is to be driven, every other adjustment can be made from the control bank on the side of the post driver. The forward to rear and side tilt hydraulic adjustments from the control bank ensure that driving a post in straight is simple, even when on a slope.
The post driver also has adjustable legs, something which is a great idea when it is being used for driving longer posts, as they provide a higher mast height for a greater drop for the weight block.
The test machine was mounted on a 6320 John Deere, which had no trouble at all powering the post driver's hydraulics. In terms of the test conditions, the ground that the posts were driven into was flat but quite compacted from cattle using the yards. Once lines were strung up and the post spacings marked out, the 10 posts required for the extra pen were driven in over in a couple hours, without rushing the job too much. The Farmtek unit handled the job really well, and the hydraulic adjustment makes getting the post in straight and inline quite easy. However, as it is rear mounted, the job would have been made easier with two people: one to drive the tractor and one to help operate the post driver.
The owner's thoughts
The owner of the machine uses it mainly for fence repairs and the occasional new fence line around the farm. He has been very impressed with the machine so far, commenting that it is a vast improvement on his previous post driver. So far, the only problem encountered is that an older tractor on the farm with a small hydraulic pump couldn't lift the weight block. Plus, there was a fault with the relief valve in the control block that caused the weight to drop, but this was fixed with a new relief valve being fitted to the machine by Fence-Pro.
Overall, the test on the Fence-Pro Farmtek post driver went very well. The most impressive feature was its ease of operation for such a simple and inexpensive machine. Readers with older post drivers will certainly find this machine much safer, quicker and easier to use than their older ones.
For the latest reviews, subscribe to our Farm Trader magazine here.