Almost every farm is likely to have an all-terrain vehicle, a truck and a tractor, but you might be surprised that many farmers are utilizing construction equipment as well. Take a closer look at modern day farms and you’ll find that equipment is diversifying. Tractors are being replaced by machines traditionally used on construction sites that can perform a dozen different jobs to save time and costs. Trends show that farmers in the U.S. rely on skid steer and compact track loaders, while the telehandler is popular across Europe.
Small, nimble machines that can be accompanied by a variety of attachments, skid steer loaders and compact track loaders have become a staple in today’s farming operations. It’s true that large-scale cattle operations and dairy farms have been using this equipment for years, but some family farms are still catching up.
Rather than investing in separate pieces of equipment for every task, skid steers and compact track loaders offer a versatile approach. Extremely efficient with a variety of attachments, these machines can be used to clean the barn, move hay bales, lift pallets, push feed and accomplish many other tasks. Consider these options to maximize productivity and increase ease of operation.
The ability to pre-set the attachment angle and automatically recall that setting if the machine is repositioned is very handy when trenching water or electric lines to barns or from ponds to watering troughs. This is also helpful for loading silage into feed bins or going back for another hay bale.
The ability to adjust ground speed up or down is much easier in creep mode with joystick buttons instead of a foot pedal. Traveling at a slow ground speed with full engine horsepower and hydraulic flow is especially useful for trenching operations, brush cutting or rolling barbed wire for cattle fences.
There are many different types of skid steers and compact track loaders on the market and it’s important to know which features are beneficial for agriculture. With people, livestock and tender vegetation all around, farm safety is extremely important. If you’re considering one of these machines for your operation, talk to your dealer about whether these safety features are available.
Does it have a back-up camera to provide a 360-degree view so you can check for a clear path on all sides of the machine?
If the engine unexpectedly shuts down while the lift arms are raised, does it have a dead engine lower valve to bring the lift arms down so the operator can safely exit?
Is the Tier 4 compliance package configured to efficiently manage hot exhaust air? Vital for work inside barns and around animals, the exhaust should flow up and away to avoid overhead limitations or blockages in the rear of the machine when working in close quarters. Watch this video to learn more about proper exhaust air flow path management.
Does the machine run quietly? This is an important feature to enhance safety for the operator as well as those around the machine.