When mounting a snow plow to your vehicle, you are adding additional weight to the front end of your vehicle. As such, it sometimes becomes necessary to counterbalance that weight by adding ballast. "Ballast" by definition is a heavy material carried temporarily to provide stability. Ballast needs and requirements will vary depending on what you put on and in your truck. You will want to refer to your snowplow manufacturer recommendations to know if and how much ballast is recommended.
When To Use Ballast
Ballast is primarily added whenever you desire to take weight off of the front of your truck. Ballast is also used to add traction and may be required to be used with certain plows due to their weight. You should be careful not to exceed the entire Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or the Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating of your truck when adding any equipment to your truck. This includes plows, spreaders, ballast or any other available equipment. Exceeding the recommended maximum GVWR on a truck creates an unsafe condition. It also affects how the truck handles and minimizes the life of the suspension and brakes. So, before you add weight to your truck check all of the vehicle specs to make sure it can be safely handled.
Where To Use Ballast
It is important that the ballast weight be placed behind the rear axle, as far to the rear of the truck bed as possible. In this location, the rear axle acts as the fulcrum taking weight off of the front axle. Any additional weight placed in front of the rear axle actually adds weight to the front axle and may exceed the FGAWR of the vehicle.
What Ballast To Use
When choosing ballast material, consider something that is dense and easy to load in and out of the back of your truck. Bagged sand is the most common material used for ballast as it is both dense and easily moveable. Additionally, with the heavy amount of braking and driving that snow removers do on a site, no matter what kind of ballast you choose, it tends to slide around in the bed. To ensure that your ballast stays in place behind the rear axle, you should consider a ballast retainer of some sort.
Remember, ballast needs and requirements will vary depending on what you put on and in your truck. Refer to your snowplow manufacturer recommendations when adding ballast to your truck.