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Fall 2011

A Family Affair

Nettleman Dairy

Nettleman Dairy's V417 telehandler

Doug Nuttelman and sons Jason, Greg and Scott, along with a family of Bobcat equipment, are dedicated to preserving the land, caring for livestock, and the sense of gratification that can only be derived from a hard day’s work. The Nuttelman clan relies on their Bobcat family to help with countless labor-saving chores and keep Nuttelman Farms operating efficiently.

Doug Nuttelman, owner and chief operator of Nuttelman Farms, located near Stromsburg, Neb., considers his four Bobcat® models that dwell among his 220 Holstein cows and 800 feeder cattle indispensable.

The routine of a dairy operation is demanding and affords virtually no downtime. As if milking 200-plus Holstein cows (three times daily), feeding, cleaning barns and stalls, and keeping milking equipment operational and disinfected weren’t enough, Nuttelman also raises approximately 800 feeder cattle each year and farms more than 2,000 acres. He admits he likely would not have expanded the operation to this degree after taking over the reins from his father-in-law, had it not been for his children. Sons Jason, 35, Greg, 33, and Scott, 23, all play important roles, while Nuttelman just tries to keep it all running smoothly.

Nettleman Dairy

Nettleman Dairy's S650 skid-steer loader

“Jason takes care of the dairy, even though I sometimes get stuck milking on the weekends,” Nuttelman jokes. “Greg handles the farming operation and my youngest son, Scott, looks after the feed yard. Everybody has a role and responsibility. We employ five other people, mostly to help out with the milking, in addition to a variety of other chores … whatever we ask them to do.”

The Bobcat role

Bobcat machines have been valuable members of the Nuttelman operation for nearly as long as Doug’s three sons. The relationship with Bobcat began after Doug succeeded his father-in-law.

“When my father-in-law ran the dairy, he had a different make of skid-steer loader and always seemed to be repairing or servicing something on it,” Doug says. “I decided I didn’t want that frustration so I went to the local Bobcat dealer and bought a skid-steer loader. It’s been Bobcat equipment ever since for me. We’ve probably had eight to 10 different loaders over the years. We had one skid-steer loader with more than 7000 hours on it and never did much to it aside from basic servicing. Bobcat equipment is dependable and built to last.”

Nettleman Dairy

The Nettleman family

When Nuttelman showed up with a Toolcat utility work machine — just for a trial run — after a visit to his Bobcat dealer — Central Nebraska Bobcat — located in Grand Island, Neb., his three boys met him in the yard with surprised reactions. “What are you going to do with that?” Jason asked with a hint of cynicism. But after three days of putting the Toolcat machine to the test and discovering a multitude of uses, the three sons insisted that the utility work machine wasn’t making a return trip to the dealer.

“We can use most of our Bobcat attachments also on the Toolcat 5600,” Nuttelman says. “It gives us an extra bucket when we need it. We also put up a lot of 3x3x8-foot rectangular alfalfa bales and I can go out in the field with the Toolcat machine and move bales around more quickly than I could with a loader. The suspension is well-suited for this and the Toolcat machine doesn’t scuff up the field as much.”

Makes doing chores … fun?

In addition to moving and stacking hay bales, the Toolcat machine is also handy for scraping feedlots, alleyways and the milking parlor. Nuttelman also has a sprayer that fits in the cargo box that he uses to mist-spray cows for controlling flies. In winter, the snowblower attachment is a lifesaver.

“We have to get the roads open and clear access to barns and the milking parlor,” Nuttelman says. “We only have enough milk storage capacity for one day, so after a blizzard the transport trucks have to be able to get in and out of our place. Cows don’t stop producing milk just because Mother Nature dumps a foot of the white stuff on us.”

Nettleman Dairy

Nettleman Dairy's Toolcat utility work machine

Nuttelman uses the S185 and S650 skid-steer loaders for light manure work, scraping feedlots and alleyways. He also uses the Bobcat V417 telehandler to do all the feeding of the dairy cows, calves and feeder cattle, transport large round bales and load the feeder truck.

“The telehandler is a workhorse,” Scott says. “It is tough, yet easy to operate, and has the bucket extension (reach) and capacity we need to load the feeder truck quickly.”

“We can do so much with each Bobcat model we own,” Nuttelman says. “They get in and out of tight spots easier and the visibility’s good. I also like them because they’re quiet and easy to access for servicing … although we’ve had very few breakdowns. Swapping out attachments is also a breeze. In my opinion, there isn’t a more versatile machine on the market.

“Sure, this is hard work,” Nuttelman says. “But I love the land and livestock; there is new birth all the time, and producing food and being a good neighbor is all worth it. Plus, I think it’s the best environment to raise families. My wife Gloria and I have five grandkids, and if they want to keep the dairy farm running, we’ll make that happen. My oldest grandson just turned 10 and he’s had a timecard here for a couple of years.”