What Is Draft Control On A Tractor?

Draft control on the three point hitch of a tractor is one of the key factors when it comes to plowing.

The draft control on a tractor senses the extra strain of hard patches of ground, and allows the plow to rise enough that the patch won’t be an issue, and the wheels of the tractor won’t spin.

Once the tractor has passed the hard patch, the plow returns to its original depth. The location of the knob or lever for draft control differs from tractor to tractor, but the process in which you can find the right setting is always the same.

But how do you find the right setting, and what else is there to know about the draft control on a tractor? The following article will answer both of these questions and more.

What Is Draft Control On A Tractor
Massey Ferguson

How Do You Set The Draft Control In A Tractor?

While the location of the draft control lever or knob will depend on your specific tractor, the process for finding the right setting is always as follows. First you’ll need to find where the lever actually is.

You might need to check the operator’s manual for this step; for instance, the draft control in the Ford 8870 tractor is adjusted via a round knob that has the numbers one to five on it, and is found next to the hydraulic control levers.

Once you’ve located the draft control lever, set it to the middle position. Now, you can begin the plowing process. As you’re plowing, make sure you’re regularly checking behind you to observe the position of the plow.

This is especially important when you’re going over hard patches of ground, or when you’re going over hills.

You should be adjusting the draft control using the lever if the wheels of the tractor are spinning against hard ground. In this instance you would be lowering the draft control, in order to allow the moulboard to come out of the ground at a faster pace.

If you feel that your plow is skipping too much, then you should increase the tractor’s amount of draft strain allowance.

Which Draft Control Setting Is Best?

The best draft control setting depends on the conditions of the field you’re plowing. The higher the number, the faster the draft will respond, and the lower the number the slower it will respond.

The load and depth settings tend to go as follows: Integral Field Cultivator (numbers four to five), Integral Mouldboard Plow (numbers three to five), Semi-Integral Mouldboard Plow (numbers two to four), Integral Chisel Plow (numbers two to four), and Integral Ripper/Subsoiler (numbers one to three).

Adjusting the load and depth will change the responsiveness of the draft. You’ll be using the hitch lever to change the operating depth.

Equipment To Enhance Your Tractor

There are various types of equipment you can acquire in order to enhance your tractor. Included are the following.

A Front-end Loader

The front-end loader is attached by two hydraulic arms, and is a tool with multiple uses. It can haul, scoop, dump, and push heavy materials like manure, dirt, bedding, snow, or gravel.

The front-end loader, also known as the bucket, can lift between 500 pounds to 3,000 pounds, depending on the size of the tractor. A lot of horse owners use the front-end loader to move manure directly from the stalls to the composting heap.

A Chain Harrow

Also referred to as a drag, the chain harrow is a reinforced section of flat chain, which tends to have vertical spikes at intervals. It’s a piece of equipment used to aerate soil, to separate pasture manure piles, smooth or level driveway or arena surfaces, or to smoothen turf after mowing.

What Is Draft Control On A Tractor?

The chain harrow doesn’t need much horsepower to work, and requires no PTO. You can craft your own chain harrow using a section of chain link fence, weighing it down with either a stout log or with tires.

A Tractor Drawn Utility Cart

The tractor drawn utility cart is handy if you don’t own either a front end loader or a flatbed truck.

You can use it to move all sorts of heavy materials, like feed for pasture kept horses, manure, hay bales, and for clearing field debris or repositioning arena jumps. Utility carts tend to vary in how much they weigh and how much they can carry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are The Back Tires Of a Tractor So Big?

The majority of two-wheel drive tractors have bigger back tires and smaller front tires. The smaller front tires are easier to steer, and this is the main reason they’re found at the front.

The bigger wheels at the back of the tractor generate torque, which is required for the tractor to pull the attached load. These wheels help to evenly distribute the weight of the tractor, to prevent it from sinking into the ground.

Why Are Some Tractor Tires Filled With Water?

Sometimes the tires of a tractor will be filled with roughly 75% water.

If not water, then calcium chloride or beet juice. This method is known as ballasting, and these substances are used to increase the tires’ weight, and stop them from slipping.

This helps to increase the pull of the tractor’s drawbar, and in turn saves on fuel.

The ballasting method means the additional weight is placed at the tire’s lowest point, which is where the weight is most required. This is where the ballasting method differs from adding metal weights to the tires.

Should You Get A Two-Wheel Drive Tractor Or A Four-Wheel Drive Tractor?

Two-wheel drive tractors are the ideal choice if you’re going to mostly be doing light duty moving.

If you’re going to be carrying out heavier chores, and will be driving over more rolling ground, you should be looking for a four-wheel drive tractor.

These are the tractors that will provide the right amount of power and traction required for said chores.


Draft control exists to alleviate the extra strain of a harder patch of ground, and prevents a tractor’s wheels from spinning when passing over said patch.

While the location of the draft control knob or lever tends to differ depending on the tractor, the process never changes, and is as simple as setting the draft control to the middle position and beginning the plowing process.

The draft control can then be adjusted as you go, depending on the type of ground you’re driving on.

Ryan Genkin
Latest posts by Ryan Genkin (see all)