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Spring 2011

A Bobcat Compact Tractor Helps Keep Orchard Running Smoothly

CT450 right at home on New England fruit farm.

Ken Kogut and his Bobcat CT450 compact tractor.

Ken Kogut and his Bobcat CT450 compact tractor.

For the past 18 years, Ken Kogut has been looking for the best variety of fruit — especially apples and peaches — to grow on his Wallingford, Conn., farm. He wants to keep up with trends in the market, satisfy customer demand and stay a little ahead of the curve.

It took Kogut far less time — about a week — to decide on the best compact tractor for his 15-acre orchard, and he knows that with the Bobcat® CT450 he is well-positioned for the future. His Emerald Green Farm attracts customers who want to pick their own fruit — apples, peaches, plums, pears, blackberries, blueberries, black and red raspberries, cherries, nectarines and apricots. A smaller portion of his produce is picked and packaged for local fruit markets.

Kogut grows 18 varieties of apples and eight varieties of peaches. Starting in the second week of April through the end of September, the fruit trees receive nutrients about every 10 days. Application is through a 3-point hitch, PTO-powered 100-gallon mist sprayer pulled by his tractor.

Ken Kogut and his Bobcat CT450 compact tractor at his orchard.

Ken Kogut and his Bobcat CT450 compact tractor at his orchard.

When it came time to purchase a new tractor, Kogut looked at three major brands. Once he had all of the technical information in front of him and tested each one, the Bobcat CT450 stood out. "We've owned several tractors in the past, and all of them have been okay, but in this case Bobcat of Connecticut was really able to perfectly fill our needs with the CT450," he says. "I knew we were going to keep this tractor for many years, so durability was a key point. The Bobcat brand was better built. And the versatility offered by the attachments and implements was significant.

"Another deciding factor," he continues, "was the Bobcat cab, which is more operator-friendly than the others. The operator platform is balanced, with all of the controls surrounding you and easier to reach. I don't feel cramped.

"Price was not necessarily an issue; however, the cost of the CT450 was a bonus on top of everything else. With Bobcat we just got more for our money." Kogut says using the compact tractor for spraying the fruit trees is an important element in the orchard.

"It allows us to get in and out of tight areas easily and, by setting the cruise control at the start of each row, we can maintain a consistent speed that helps reduce the amount of chemical we apply," he says. "Traveling slow at a set speed is critical in spraying."

The compact tractor is also used in the fall to pull the harvest wagons and in the winter for snow removal and tree pruning. "As we go forward, I believe the CT450 will become even more valuable because all of the available attachments and implements make it so versatile. The compact tractor, which works like a charm, does everything we want and need it to do," Kogut concludes.