Post hole digger - tell me what I need and take my money

Okay, I have read several older threads, including Bluey’s excellent one from 2011. I’ve done a bunch of research, but still feel unsure about this.

I’m the proud owner of a Kubota B2650 HSD. It has auxiliary hydraulics.

I live in Central Maryland, so think red clay, hardpan/shale and rocks. There’s a town near me called Rocky Ridge. It’s called that for a reason.

I want to put in 6" fence posts on a 12 acre farm. Some of my fencing is 20 years old and ready for replacement. In other areas, I’d like to replace metal pound-n posts and electric tape with wooden posts and no climb. So, while I’m not planning to be running fence all the time, it’s hard enough without cursing over the wrong equipment.

Please, please, tell me specifically what I need, given my available horsepower. What diameter auger? What should I look for and what should I steer clear of? Do I need to buy new or can I buy used without buying someone else’s problem? How much should I expect to spend?

Help a girl out?

Post hole diggers aren’t really very expensive. I had gotten mine from Tractor Supply 15 years ago. I finally replaced the auger itself, last year. You can replace digging teeth from time to time. I’ve always used a 9".

Around here we have the same soil mix you describe. The only problem I have found is if you are trying to drill into drought baked clay. You can do it but need new digging teeth.

A big long digging bar and a good set of post hole diggers are your friend as well.

Hm… we have a post hole augur, but it works off the PTO, we don’t hook up any hydraulic lines to it. (I don’t think we have those in the rear anyway.)

As I recall, it takes some spatial relations skills to get the hole in the right place as it’s moving in an arc as you lower it.

3 point, PTO post hole rigs are useless here in other than sandy, loose soil.
We had two over 70+ years.

We now have a hydraulic one and is like drilling in butter, slow and steady down it goes, takes very little effort.
Ours bolts to the side of the bucket, some bolt to other you put on your FEL, some have their own frame.

Most here that still have the old PTO ones just borrow ours, until they buy their own.
Every place has one of the PTO kind leaning somewhere, rusting, may even give them away.
For a few holes, digging by hand is easier than hooking and using those.
For more, they come borrow ours.

To pound post in, we have a pole pounder, a little 60 lb one that also bolts to the side of the bucket.
Ours is the smallest they make and will pound in up to a 3" pipe post, have built many T-post fences with it.
In fact, I don’t have it now, my neighbor borrowed it as he is replacing some old fence.
He bolts it on his skid loader.

As for augers on the hydraulic digger, we use the 8" one for 2 7/8" line posts and about 1 1/2 sacks of concrete mix and the 12" one and 3+ sacks for 4 1/2" pipe corner posts.
We go about 3’ down.

Remember, posts will be pulled sideways, so it is important they be well supported sideways, more than going deeper.
If you pound a post on hard ground, they should be well supported.
On soft ground, may be better to drill and set posts with concrete or pounding dirt very well around them with a tamping bar.
Depth only helps so far on side pulls.
That is the principle that lets a wind turbine stand 400’ tall on a wide base, generally around 50’ and just a shallow depth, about 14’-20’ only.

Much depends on your soil. Our clay soil is pretty impervious to any of the tractor powered augers we have tried. They WERE sharp, but tractor could not exert enough DOWNWARD power to make auger dig the hole. This was with wet dirt, hard dirt, or combinations of more or less wet dirt. People leaning on the handle to hold auger down did not have any effect. I sold the post hole diggers, useless to us.

We went with renting a skidsteer with the auger mounted on the front. More downward power, machine weight, made drilling holes a lot easier.

When we had the original fence installed, they used a post pounder. It did a great job, only broke 2 posts in all our fence lines. They did “sharpen” one end of the post to go in the dirt. Pounder easily did lots of posts very quickly, needed no other “handwork” of back filling or tamping to make posts solid. And posts stayed solid over the years.

I will have to check out Bluey’s models. They might work for us!