Blog & News

How to Grade A Driveway With an ATV/UTV or Lawn Mower Attachment

After a long winter of freezing and thawing and many trips up made by a snowplow, springtime is the perfect time to begin repairing your gravel driveway. You will need a tool that is able to rip, level, and move gravel and other driveway material. Here are some tips on how to get your driveway in perfect shape for summer! Whether you’re using a Gravel Rascal, Gravel Grader, or any other ABI driveway tool, you will be able to do all three of these things and get that signature ABI Finish.

Remove Potholes and Washouts

First, begin with lowering your scarifier teeth down to the depth you want them to rip. If using your ABI Gravel Rascal, your first pass should have the wheels of your Rascal down, to help stabilize for the initial loosening. Travel at a slow, consistent speed, allowing the tool to dig in as you travel. After each pass, raise the wheels of your Rascal until the washouts or potholes are gone. To finish off your driveway, make a few more passes with the initial set up or with just the finish rake to lightly pack the driveway. This will give you the signature ABI Finish.

Creating a Crown

What is a crown? Crowning a driveway stops water from collecting and pooling on the driveway. If you have a long stretch of flat gravel, adding a slight crown to it will prevent puddling in the middle of your drive. A proper crown will help minimize potholes and the washboard effect. The ABI Gravel Grader is a great tool to help establish a crown. The first step in creating the crown is to drag the driveway as normal. After your driveway is pothole-free, choose which side of the grader box you want to have engaged into your driveway and pin the opposite side of the grading box down. Lower the grader box, and the Gravel Grader will engage your work surface on an angle so that material will flow across the box’s blade toward the center of your drive.

Removing The Washboarding Effect

If you notice this on your driveway after grading it, fixing it is time-consuming but easy to do with your ABI Gravel Rascal. Once your material is loose, set up the Rascal in a grading position with the wheels down and remove your scarifiers. This is done by moving the finish rake to almost a 90 degree angle. Once your Rascal is set up, go at a very slow, consistent speed and perform a serpentine pattern to remove the waves. A diagram below is a good representation of the serpentine pattern you should be completing to remove the wash boarding effect. A few things that cause this washboarding effect can be sudden acceleration, or by starting and stopping. Once there is a bump that is not immediately cared for, it will continue to cause more bumps as the Rascal travels over it. Once you have finished running this pattern, you can go back over it again for the signature ABI finish.

Pass 1

Pass 2

Pass 3

With completing these three simple tasks and occasionally bringing in gravel, you will be able to keep your gravel driveway in perfectly smooth condition. Whether your tow vehicle is a lawn mower or an ATV/UTV, ABI has the tools to let you command your land. Make sure to keep up with ordering new wear parts through our customer service team to keep your ABI tool in great grading condition. You can do this by calling in at (877)788-7253 or going to our online store and purchasing them there!

Internet-based Product Development Company Gets Boots on the Ground

ABI Attachments Signs Dealership Agreement with Equipment & Supply Company

Mishawaka, IN: Last month, ABI Attachments, an innovative ground-engaging attachments company signed a deal with Lawn and Golf Supply Co. allowing the Pennsylvania-based company protected rights to sell the ABI Force in four states. The ABI Force has been available to contractors and Sports Turf professionals since 2012 through ABI’s direct-sales channels. This new venture is an expansion for ABI Attachments and provides Lawn and Golf a wider product portfolio.

Regarding the new partnership with Lawn and Golf, Pat Dowling, Sr. Sales Executive at ABI Attachments says, “We’ve had a long relationship with Lawn and Golf. They saw the potential in the ABI Force when it was first launched and have helped hundreds of contractors save time and money by introducing them to the machine.” 

Lawn and Golf Supply Co, founded in 1937, sought out ABI Attachments for the agreement when they began seeing operational advantages of the ABI Force. “We came across the ABI Force Z18 a few years ago while calling on School Districts and Municipalities. We were very impressed with how their sports fields looked and the durability and versatility of the ABI Force,” says Tyler Jeinnings, Inside Sales with the Company. 

The ABI Force is industry’s first ever self-propelled zero-turn machine with the ability to laser grade soil surfaces. Jeinnings also commented, “ABI isn’t just used for ballfield maintenance; it allows our golf customers to construct perfect tee boxes. It also gives us the opportunity to call on construction companies or anyone that needs a reliable and affordable laser grader.”

About ABI Attachments: ABI Attachments, Inc. is a manufacturer of innovative ground engaging attachments based in Mishawaka, IN. Founded in 1998, ABI designs, produces, and distributes over five thousand attachments a year to the equine, sports turf, contractor, and property owner markets. ABI Attachments holds over eighteen patents and is the world’s largest manufacturer of equine drags and compact manure spreaders.

“Watering Down” The Truth! – Water Tanks on a Cat-I Arena Drag

Think about the last time you rode in a dusty arena. Did the dust bother you after a few minutes into your ride? The answer probably is, yes! That is because you are continually breathing in dust particles. Now think about it from your horse’s perspective, who can take in up to 600 gallons of oxygen per minute while doing strenuous activity. That is a lot of dust your horse is taking in per breath! After continuous rides in dusty arenas, your horse’s respiratory health is going to be weakened, not allowing him to perform to his best ability.

So, what are the wants and needs of the equestrian when it comes to moisture in your footing? The natural thought process is to put the two together and buy an arena drag that has a watering system installed. In theory, the customer is right; this is the best way to kill two birds with one stone. But the truth is that the reality of having a watering system on a smaller everyday drag is not possible.

The only time that a watering system on an arena drag actually works is when the arena drag is either, a pull behind drag with a frame and axel system that can hold thousands of pounds of water, like the ABI Dragmaster. The only other time is when a three-point drag has a Cat-II hitch with a substantial frame and a basket or roller on the back. Simply put, a typical Cat-I, three-point hitch arena drag, such as the ABI TR3 E- Series with water, will not work. This is because the science and physics are simply not there. Here is why it won’t work on a Cat-1, three point hitch drag:

  1. The three-point hitch on a tractor has no hydraulic downward control. Once you lower the arms of the three-point all the way down, the weight of a water tank makes it impossible to control the depth of the loosening component on the arena drag. In addition, as the water is applied to the footing, the depth of the loosening components changes while you are dragging.
  2. Water weighs 8.345 lbs. per gallon and most small three-point arena drags, with water systems, will have between 50-110 gallons on them. This adds between 417.25 – 917.95 pounds to the weight of the three- point hitch. This amount of water weight, in addition to the weight of the arena drag, often goes beyond the lift capacity of the three-point hitch and makes depth control impossible!

Let’s talk about what water does for arena footing. Watering your footing serves two purposes. The first purpose for water in the footing is what the industry calls “sheer strength” or “purchase”. Water binds the sand, clay and silt particles together to keep a horse’s footfall from sliding or rolling as they travel throughout the arena. The second purpose is dust control. Like we talked about previously, it’s not only unhealthy for you, but just as bad for your horse to be breathing in that amount of dust.

A question we get often is “How much water does it take to create a stable and dust free footing?”. The answer to that varies to numerous different things such as, if it is an indoor and outdoor arena, what type of footing, and how often it is ridden in. The technical answer to that question is moisture content needs to be between 5-8 %. These percentages are what is needed to create a quality footing with the proper amount of sheer strength and for it to be dust free.

So what if you have a backyard arena with no access to determining the percentage of moisture in your footing? Check out this awesome customer support video with a few tricks and tips to determine moisture content. Below is an idea of how much water you will need to put on your arena due to sizing and elements.

  • 120 X 80 Indoor arena: At least 500 gallons of water
  • 200 X 100 Outdoor arena: At least 1,000 – 1,500 gallons of water

So, as you can see, you simply cannot put a water tank on a Cat-I arena drag; it simply will not work! This is why a water trailer, sprinkler system, or even hosing down your footing is a much more precise way of controlling moisture management in your arena. It is so important for you and your horses health and performance to make sure moisture management is made a priority.

Manure Management is Everything!

At ABI, we understand it takes a special kind of commitment to care for your animals and land that you own. One of the most time consuming and continuous tasks that often get overlooked on farms is proper manure management. Managing manure is more than just picking stalls every day. The way you store and spread manure can make or break your farms’ health. 

ABI saw a need in the market years ago for a spreader that is built tough as a tank but easy for anyone to use, and that is just what we created! The ABI Classic Spreaders’ shred and spread design demonstrates the innovative technology that separates us from the rest of our competition. ABI has partnered with industry leaders: Dan James, Trevor Brazile, and Clinton Anderson to develop a spreader that works for you, your livestock, and your farms’ manure management plan. 

Getting your animals manure shredded and spread can be a difficult task if you don’t have the correct tools. If the manure is spread in too big of clumps or not spread at all, it will take much longer to break down and decompose. The extra set of shredding bars in the ABI Classic Spreader can make pasture turn around time so much faster. This is because everything is being shredded into fine particles then spread onto the land. That not only makes for a happy landowner but happy horses that can graze on lush green pastures.

With years of experience cleaning stalls every day, you begin to realize how important it is to get your manure away from the barn and spread. With little to no pile, I can tell the difference in flies and odor. No one wants a smelly fly filled barn on a 95 degree summer day! 

Are you thinking: “I only have a lawnmower or ATV, I can’t spread our huge pile!”? ABI offers a size for any livestock owner, big or small. Ranging from a 25 cubic foot ground-driven spreader to a 185 cubic foot PTO driven spreader, we want to make sure we are helping any and all! All sizes of the spreader have the same components and only vary in having more parts the larger you go. 

Let ABI help you with a manure spreader that not only makes spreading easy for you, but improves the health of your livestock, land, and farm. At ABI, we always say, “Footing is Everything,” but it is far beyond just footing, Manure Management is Everything!

5 Spring Projects to Do Around Your Property

1Order Wear Parts For Your ABI Equipment

Most of the time, when fall and winter weather hit, the last thing you’re thinking about is getting your equipment cleaned up, fixed, and put away like brand new. I know I worry more about getting back inside my warm house, where I can start to dethaw my hands and feet! With the warm spring weather finally here, it is a great time to get outside and start your spring clean up projects! Some of your tools are needing some simple work, whether it be greasing your bearings on your spreader or replacing your ripping teeth on your drag, but your projects can’t be done without them! What does that mean? Give us a call at (877)788-7253 and order some new parts! Not only will you get top-notch customer service from the ABI Team, but you will get your fresh new wear parts within the week!

2Fix Up Your Gravel Driveway

Finally! What you have been dreaming of all winter after all of the freezing and thawing and snow plows that went up and down your once perfectly groomed gravel driveway. It is time to fix your drive! Now that a lot of places in the country have finished thawing, it is a great time to do this when your gravel is still damp to start taking your ABI grader down the driveway to loosen compacted gravel and potholes and to pull gravel back into the driveway that has made its way to the edges from plowing and driving down it all winter. Once you have loosened all the gravel and fixed your potholes, you might need to add some more gravel. This isn’t a bad thing nowadays when your whole family is there to help you shovel some gravel! Looking for some more tips on how to fix your gravel driveway? Listen to gravel expert, Jack Owens, on how to fix up your gravel driveway!

3Start Prepping For Your Garden

Ever wanted to plant a huge garden and just never had the time? This mandatory stay at home order would be a great reason to start your garden this year! First off, decide what you want to grow in your garden. April is the perfect time to begin planting! Next, pick a place on your property and map out where you want your garden to be. Your ABI Arena Rascal, TR3, SR3, pretty much any ABI tool would do a great initial ground till. Once your land is prepped, go ahead and plant your favorite plants! An easy fun new hobby that pays off with delicious homegrown fruits and veggies.

4Clean Up Your Pastures

After a long winter of turning horses and livestock out when the weather breaks, it can lead to plenty of manure in your pastures! It would be the perfect time to grab your easy to use ABI Classic Spreader and head out to your fields and start picking all of the piles of manure. If you leave these piles to build up, you can kill the grass below it and increase smell, flies, and pests around the farm. After your piles are picked up, go ahead and spread the manure onto your pastures. The thinly shredded manure will dry and decompose quickly because of the classic shred and spread design and the sun shining. Not only will you have a cleaned pasture, but you’ll also have a luscious green pasture that your horses and livestock will get to enjoy all summer!

5Enjoy Time With Family And Your Livestock

The times might be uncertain, but take this time and cherish these moments with your family and livestock. There are so many unknowns out there, and all we can do is hope. Hope things return back to normal so we can make it to livestock shows and sporting events that we all love. There are so many out on the front lines working to keep us healthy and safe and get us back to our normal everyday lives. For those of you, thank you! For the rest of us, make the best of these challenging times and keep HOPE.

Profile Blades Help Create Consistent Arena Footing

What components make for a good riding arena? There are multiple different factors in regards to your footing such as: moisture, depth, and compaction that affect how well your horse works. Many times there are underlying issues below the surface of your arena, that are not visible to your eye. However, these issues will cause your horse to not be able to keep cadence and rhythm like they are trained to do. This typically happens when your horse begins to learn to shy away at areas under the top few inches of footing that are compacted and uneven. A simple answer to your problem is to install a base into your arena. However, these bases can be very costly to install. A simple way to create a faux base in your arena and clean up compaction under the surface? An ABI Profile Blade.

The next question is: “What is a profile blade?”. The simple answer to this question is a patented part of an ABI Tool that will remove compaction just above the base. This means it will remove or eliminate hidden factors underneath the surface that you cannot see.

An example many of us can relate to is when you ride when your arena is a little more wet then ideal. Most of the time, your footing material will tend to compact quicker than normal. Once your arena is dried up, you will have hard, compacted foot holes throughout the entire arena. This is a great time to engage your profile blades and ripping teeth. This is because both ground engaging parts of an ABI TR3 E Series will tear up the hard dried ground and then will continue to break up the compaction underneath the footing surface. This is when your faux base is created with your profile blades. The pressure of the drag and the blades will create compaction below the profile blades. This faux base will allow your arena footing to be one depth throughout and more consistent. If you already have a base installed in your riding arena, these profile blades can be adjusted to the desired depth above your base, and simply clean the surface of it, eliminating all compaction. 

The profile blades are a major differentiator between the ABI TR3 E Series and its competitors, such as a chain harrow. You will be able to loosen footing without creating ridges underneath the surface of your footing. Instead of ripping through footing with perpendicular teeth these profile blades slice through the footing in quarter inch increments and loosen the footing. Now with every single pass of the tractor the TR3 E Series will be loosening 100% of your hard compacted footing! This will save you an enormous amount of time on the tractor because the driver no longer has to make two or three passes over the same footing with different patterns! The profile blade cleans the base of compaction and lifts the footing material to add cushion. This will give you and your horse the cushion you need for a smooth consistent ride.

ABI Attachments Continues to Empower Agriculture Community During Covid19 Crisis.

Mishawaka, IN:  Today, the Governor of Indiana encouraged Hoosiers to “hunker down” as he announced his executive “stay at home” order for the State of Indiana effective March 24 through April 7, 2020. Based on guidance from the State of Indiana and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ABI Attachments will maintain normal business operations so that it can continue to support and empower agriculturalists around the country.

Governor Holcomb’s executive order states manufacturers are exempt from the stay at home order and encouraged to maintain operations if they are “supplying essential products and services in and for their industries.” “Based on these statements and similar recommendations from the federal government, we believe our role as a manufacturer of products for the agriculture and construction industry is essential for the well being of our farmers and contractors,” says Kevin Keigley, CEO at ABI Attachments.

“We’ve taken recommended measures to ensure the safety of our employees as we continue to serve our customers,” states ABI Attachments President Scott Holmes. “Many of our teams have the ability to work remotely and our sales and service teams are fully operational. All guidelines provided by the CDC and State ‘Social Distancing Requirements’ have been taken into consideration and we will continue to modify our operations as necessary.”

About ABI Attachments: ABI Attachments, Inc. is a manufacturer of innovative ground engaging attachments based in Mishawaka, IN. Founded in 1998, ABI designs, produces, and distributes over five thousand attachments a year to the equine, sports turf, contractor, and property owner markets. ABI Attachments holds over eighteen patents and is the world’s largest manufacturer of equine drags and compact manure spreaders.

Reflections on the Stoney Ridge Farmer

I needed help.

Sure, I grew up on a dairy farm. But we sold out when I was just 12 years old and I never made the jump from farmboy to farmer. It was the mid 90’s and dropping commodity prices forced our family off the farm before I could make it my livelihood.

More than two decades later, I was on a customer service team for an attachments company doing my best to help people resolve their dirt and gravel work issues. The problem was, more often than not, the issues involved the tow vehicle not the attachment. If I would have had a couple more years on the farm I knew I could be so much more helpful. It seemed like my knowledge base of tractors was just too small. 

This is a guy I wanted to learn from.

So I did what any 30 year-old would do. I Googled. One quick search for “best tractor to use around a small farm” and I came across this goofy looking guy with a beard from North Carolina. I had stumbled upon The Stoney Ridge Farmer.

It was magic.

Here was a man who not only loved the land so much he was willing to risk everything to pursue the dream of a farm, but he also wanted to pass on what he was learning so others could do the same.

This is a guy I wanted to learn from.

So after a shameful number of hours on YouTube, I was “Stoney Ridge trained.” I was able to answer a few pending customer questions and also file away a host of great information for later.

Then I had an epiphany: the Stoney Ridge Farmer loves dirt as much as ABI does. He loves investing in the land to make it healthier and more productive. Us too. He loves empowering others by sharing his knowledge. That’s why ABI is in business!

I knew I had to reach out to the Stoney Ridge Farmer. We had too much in common to miss out on an opportunity to work together. He’s a self-proclaimed tool-o-phile and I had a hunch he’d have some fun testing out some of our attachments.

It seemed like my knowledge base of tractors was just too small. 

A handful of calls and emails later, my colleague Ryan and I were driving through the foothills of the Blueridge Mountains, bumping down a dirt road toward Stoney Ridge Farm.

When we first got out of the truck, the air was hot and the dirt was dry. (Later on, a neighbor left a comment on the vlog saying it was “drier than popcorn fart.” … I’d never heard that expression before, but you know I’ll be using it till the day I die.) 

Josh, the Stoney Ridge Farmer, greeted us yankees warmly and gave us a tour around the farm. Even in the blinding afternoon sun it was easy to see why he loved his property. The old tobacco plantation acreage rolls over hills and valleys forming some natural creeks that have allowed Josh to create some beautiful ponds and waterways. The natural woodland provided the ideal wind protection and contrast to the new pastures he’d been creating.

As we rambled in the Kubota, we talked about the history of the countryside, soil composition and pH, water and erosion management practices, and local companies he’s been collaborating with. Josh’s passion for his farm, his land, and his neighbors was contagious. By the time we finished the tour, Ryan and I were eager to see ABI’s tools get in the ground and be part of the Stoney Ridge Farm story.

The first project to tackle was the giant pile of manure Josh had brought on the farm to nurture his developing pastures. When I first started at ABI, I had never met a group of people so excited about manure. But after meeting Josh, I know we’re not the only crazy ones. Josh talked about “butt-fertilizer” like it was gold. He understands the value of nutrient-rich organic material and the role it plays in developing a quality seedbed for turf and pastures. He therefore loved the way our ABI Classic Spreader pulverized the big clods of manure so that the smaller particles could more quickly benefit the pasture.

It turns out Josh has an incredible life story of hope, loss, and restarts.

I think the most fun was discussing the similarities between our ABI Classic Spreader and Josh’s 50 year-old manure spreader. Josh had a hand-me-down New Idea spreader that at one point was used on Turtle Island Preserve by Eustace Conway. It had been used for years in land rejuvenation projects and I loved comparing the design with how we make our spreaders today!

The only person on the farm who wasn’t having a blast working with the manure spreaders was my teammate Ryan. Check out the next 10 seconds of this video footage and imagine being the guy behind the camera! 💩😷

Next up on the project list was prepping recently cleared land for seeding. Josh has been dreaming of a cow-calf operation since he began purchasing land four years ago. He knows high-quality pasture is essential for healthy cattle so we wanted to spend the time preparing his soil for maximum root growth.

As soon as I saw the area we’d be working with, I got really excited to put the TR3 in the dirt. Kevin Keigley, the inventor of the TR3 and founder of ABI Attachments, has been tackling projects like this for decades. I knew Josh was about to be blown away. 

To my surprise, Josh was a bit skeptical at first. He said the TR3 looked like a puzzle. He’d never seen a piece of farm equipment like it. After a quick walk-through of the components and operation techniques, Josh was willing to humor us and give it a shot.

After two hours kicking up dust, he said the word that we’ve heard so many times before, “Unbelievable.” We’d taken a rutted, debris-ridden, washed out hilltop and groomed it into the ideal seedbed for his future pasture. Josh was thrilled with the efficiency and effectiveness of the TR3 and I was (once again) proud to be associated with a product line that empowers people with better ways to get their outdoor work done.

What I didn’t realize was that the best part of our visit with Josh was still to come.

Our day with the Stoney Ridge Farmer ended on a powerful note. After the tractor and the newly broken-in attachments were put away for the day, Ryan, Josh, and I made our way down to the creek. There’s a special spot on the farm that brings Josh and Mrs. Stoney Ridge both rest and inspiration. As the sun set, we gradually moved from talking tools and dirt to talking life and dreams. It turns out Josh has an incredible life story of hope, loss, and restarts. His desire to live simply from the land and help others do the same comes from a natural progression in his life from chaos to stability. I was inspired by the ways Josh is learning from his journey and paving a new way forward.

Meeting and working with the Stoney Ridge Farmer was a rare treat. I think getting to know others and seeing their passions first-hand helps us identify how we can best live out our own. My time with Josh got me thinking… how can I best pass on my love for the land and what I’ve learned about it?

How are you sharing your passion for the soil? Let me know below and we can learn from each other!

ABI Attachments Official Sponsor of USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex

Mishawaka, IN: ABI Attachments is now the official supplier to the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. ABI Attachments zero-turn infield groomer, the ABI Force, is now part of the USA Softball grounds crew! Check out Chuck White, field superintendent, talk about how the Force makes an impact on the USA Softball Hall of Fame fields.

The Softball Capital of the World® continues to make strides in procuring the best-of-the-best in field maintenance products with the addition of ABI Attachments as an official supplier for the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. ABI Attachments is a leader in innovative grooming equipment that properly prepares fields to be safe and playable.

“USA Softball is excited to bring ABI Attachments to our supplier pool for the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex,” said USA Softball Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Craig Cress. “The playability of fields is an integral role in the success of events and this partnership with ABI Attachments allows us to use state-of-the-art technology to keep our fields in pristine condition.”

About ABI Attachments: ABI Attachments, Inc. is a manufacturer of innovative ground engaging attachments based in Mishawaka, IN. Founded in 1998, ABI designs, produces, and distributes over 5 thousand attachments a year to the equine, sports turf, contractor, and property owner markets. ABI Attachments holds eighteen patents and is the world’s largest manufacturer of equine drags and compact manure spreaders.

World’s First Zero-Turn Laser Finish Grader to Premier at ConExpo 2020

The ABI Force Provides ⅛” Accuracy and Unprecedented Efficiency in Flat Work Site Prep

Mishawaka, IN: ABI Attachments, an innovative ground-engaging attachments company, announced today they are introducing the ABI Force, the world’s first zero-turn laser finish grader, to excavation and concrete professionals at ConExpo 2020 in Las Vegas next month. 

Since its creation eight years ago, the ABI Force has quickly become the finish grade tool of choice for sports turf professionals who value the ability to provide laser-level accuracy to soil grades. Chuck Harris, Owner and CEO of Benchmark Tool & Supply, a new dealer of the ABI Force, voiced his excitement at the prospect of the ABI Force transitioning from the sports turf to the contractor market. “I attended training at the factory,” says Harris. “Within 10 minutes of watching the ABI Force work, I was definitely confident it was a product in a category of its own.” 

The unique deliverable of the ABI Force is the patented RVF (Responsive Variable Force) technology that provides consistent, laser-guided ground engagement. The hydraulically-controlled, spring-loaded down pressure of the mid-mount system gives operators unmatched control over soil movement and the ability to level within an eighth-of-an-inch accuracy.

“We’re thrilled to reveal the ABI Force at ConExpo this year,” says Scott Holmes, President of ABI Attachments. “Excavation and concrete contractors spend hours of manual labor leveling and finishing surfaces before concrete can be poured. The ABI Force provides significant savings in labor costs and reduces excess material waste.” 

About ABI Attachments: ABI Attachments, Inc. is a manufacturer of innovative ground engaging attachments based in Mishawaka, IN. Founded in 1998, ABI designs, produces, and distributes over five thousand attachments a year to the equine, sports turf, contractor, and property owner markets. ABI Attachments holds over 18 patents and is the world’s largest manufacturer of equine drags and compact manure spreaders.