PTO vs. Ground Drive: How to Choose the Best Manure Spreader for Your Farm

Every horse farm and hobby farm is different and has unique needs. So choosing the right manure spreader for your farm depends on a number of factors, ranging from cost to size to efficiency. But one of the factors many people consider is the kind of drive system that operates your manure spreader.  

At Millcreek Spreaders we manufacture a wide selection of high-performance, low-maintenance manure spreaders to meet the needs of every farming operation. And we offer two distinct types of drive systems: PTO drive, and ground drive.  

But what’s the difference, and how do you choose the right manure spreader for your particular operation? Read on to learn more about the advantages to each type of drive system and contact us today with questions!  

PTO Drive Manure Spreaders
PTO, or power take off, uses the rotational power of your tractor’s engine to move the apron chain and turn the beaters on your manure spreader. By operating from the tractor’s Power Take Off, or PTO system, the manure spreader will always run at the same speed regardless of the tractor ground speed. This ensures an even delivery of the product being spread.  

Manure spreaders powered by a PTO are usually bigger, heavy-duty spreaders suitable for a large horse farm or ranch. Our larger models, Model 97 and Model 127, are exclusively PTO. Our mid-size model spreaders, Model 57 and Model 77, are offered with PTO or ground drive. 

Advantages of PTO Manure Spreaders
PTO manure spreaders have a larger capacity which allows you to haul more material and complete your work faster. Another advantage is that you can independently vary the tractor speed while easily controlling the amount of manure you’re spreading. It’s also possible to have a PTO manure spreader working while you’re standing still. This works well if you want to pile the load in one place. 

Ground Drive Manure Spreaders
A ground drive manure spreader can be operated behind a tractor, pickup, Bobcat or ATV because it is a self-unloader. This means the turning of the wheels over the ground drive the apron chain and beaters. A ground drive manure spreader is usually a simple setup with just two levers: one to control the speed of the apron chain, which moves the load toward the rear of the manure spreader; the other to activate the beater paddles at the back of the manure spreader.  

Ground drive manure spreaders work entirely off the speed of the tractor. So if the tractor slows down or speeds up, the rate of the product being spread on the ground slows down or speeds up as well. And if the tractor stops, the material stops spreading. Four of our Millcreek manure spreaders are ground-drive systems only, including our most popular Model 27 spreader.  

Advantages of Ground Drive Manure Spreaders
There are definite advantages to having a ground drive system on your manure spreader. First, you can pull a ground drive manure spreader with just about anything – from a sophisticated tractor to a 4-wheeler or pickup truck. You simply need a hitch, not a more sophisticated and therefore more expensive power take off unit. There’s no PTO shaft to worry about connecting to the tractor, so it’s simple to hitch up and go. Ground drive manure spreaders are low maintenance and low cost, so they’re more economical too. 

Ready to Learn More?
Whether you own a horse farm, hobby farm, or other type of small farming operation, we have a manure spreader that will meet your unique needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about our PTO and ground drive manure spreaders. Our expert staff is ready to help you find the right machine for your unique application. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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About Us

At Millcreek, we manufacture high-performance, low-maintenance farm and turf equipment that will help your operation run smoothly. With multiple brands under our umbrella, our equipment delivers the results you need to stay competitive.

TEL: 800.311.1323

North America

Millcreek Manufacturing
525 Reservoir Road
Honey Brook, PA 19344

European Distributor

Meadow Machinery
Lincolnshire, LN 6LG
United Kingdom