Mike Connell and his wife, Perk, wanted just one machine to handle a wide range of chores around their Wyoming ranch. They found it in a Toolcat™ 5600 utility work machine.
In fact, more than a year after they bought it, the Connells are still finding new ways of using this one of-a-kind machine to save time and labor. In addition to their beef cowcalf herd, they raise thoroughbred horses. Also, Perk operates a horse hospital on their J.C. Ranch near the town of Big Horn.
Originally, they considered buying a tractor to meet their needs, but these machines were either too big or too small. And they lacked the versatility the Connells wanted. “We could have bought a small tractor to till our horse arena and harrow our meadows,” Mike said. “But it had only a tiny bucket for pushing snow. Even though I could have bought a posthole digger for it, it couldn’t carry posts.”
At the suggestion of their Bobcat dealer, C & K Equipment, Inc., Sheridan, Wyoming, they tried out the Toolcat machine. That convinced them that it would be perfect for their needs.
Featuring a front-mounted lift arm with a 1,500-pound rated operating capacity, a 2,000-pound capacity cargo box, a rear hitch for towing trailers and attachments and a high-flow auxiliary hydraulic system, the turbocharged, diesel-powered 5600 is well-equipped for ranch work. An enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning adds to their operating comfort.
“We use the machine every day for one job or another, such as loosening up footings in the arena, spraying weeds, cleaning manure, harrowing pastures, unloading feed, carrying hay bales, clearing brush, hauling firewood, pulling a hay trailer and pushing snow,” Mike says. “The possibilities seem to be endless. It’s also easier to service and operate than a tractor.”
A hydrostatic drive system provides high axle torque and excellent speed control. “The cruise control is one of the greatest things they ever thought of,” he says. “I set the drive pedal for the speed I want and then I can forget it. I can concentrate on the job. The joystick for operating the loader arm works smoothly. If I hit a rock with the auger attachment, I just push a button on the joystick and back the auger out.”
The auger, used to drill postholes when installing and repairing fence, is just one of several Bobcat® attachments that the Connells use with their Toolcat utility work machine. “The 5600 is an ideal fencing machine,” Mike says. “Instead of taking a tractor and pickup to the field, I can mount the auger on the front of the 5600 and throw posts, hammers, insulators, a chain saw and roll of wire in the cargo box and two of us can ride out to the field in comfort.”
Other Bobcat attachments used with the machine include a bucket for jobs such as cleaning out barns and pens, filling potholes with gravel and spreading sand around the arena; pallet forks for carrying bags of feed, and a snow v-blade for winter plowing. The Connells also rent a Brushcat™ rotary cutter to clear brush.
As they’ve discovered, the Toolcat 5600 has proven to be a versatile machine that makes faster, easier work of many ranching chores.