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Summer 2012

Moving manure — someone has to do it

A young Ohio entrepreneur provides much-needed manure removal service for dairy producers, and thanks to a Bobcat loader with plenty of power and a comfortable, enclosed cab, the job is much more tolerable.

Galen Eberly

Galen Eberly

The new business idea that Galen Eberly came up with in 2008 certainly wasn’t the easiest way to make a living, or the cleanest or even one with a predictable schedule. In fact, it was a job that most people wouldn’t want to do. And now after four years, his company is one more thing — very successful.

Eberly cleans manure out of concrete lagoons and spreads it on farm fields for local dairy producers.

“With a large number of dairy farms around here (Dalton, Ohio), there is a big need for this service,” he says. “It was very good timing when I started with one manure spreader. Once I purchased more spreaders and a skid-steer loader, the business became more of a turnkey operation and it really took off.”

Starts with sand

Eberly says that instead of sawdust, most dairy producers in his area have switched to sand to bed their cows.

“Sawdust became too expensive, and sand turned out to be better for herd health,” he says. “Once in the lagoons, the sand settles to the bottom, resulting in 3 to 5 feet of solid material that has to be cleaned out at least once a year, more frequently depending on herd size. Removing the material and spreading it on crop land is more work than many dairy producers want to handle.”

Initially, Eberly only spread the manure. Someone else usually cleaned the lagoon and loaded Eberly’s spreaders. Once he purchased a skid-steer loader, customers turned over the entire project. At that point Eberly knew he would be successful.

“As soon as they discovered I had a new, reliable skid-steer loader, it was a done deal — they didn’t want to mess with this anymore,” he says. “The Bobcat® loader made it very easy for customers to call me. We come in, do the job while their employees do what they were hired to do — milk, feed, plant and harvest.”

His first loader was a Bobcat S650, a powerful machine rated to lift nearly 2,700 pounds. “It’s a beast when it comes to digging out material from the bottom of lagoons,” Eberly says. “The loader’s lifting capacity is very impressive.”

Eberly reports that since purchasing the S650 skid-steer loader from Bobcat of Wooster (Ohio), his volume of work has increased 40 to 50 percent. As a result, he added another Bobcat M-Series loader, the bigger S750.

“Nothing even comes close to Bobcat loaders,” he says. “The visibility of M-Series machines is amazing. Sand is really hard on equipment, but these machines stand up well in the toughest working conditions.

“The comfort features on Bobcat M-Series machines are great. My three employees really appreciate working in top-of-the-line loaders. Customers like the equipment too; they know I am serious about doing a good job.”

Best option package

To work long hours in comfort, Galen Eberly equipped his Bobcat® S750 with options that he says are the best in the business:

  • Attachment control kit
  • Deluxe instrument panel
  • Enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning
  • Engine block heater
  • High-flow auxiliary hydraulics
  • Hydraulic bucket positioning
  • Power Bob-Tach attachment mounting system
  • Sound reduction cab
  • Suspension seat
  • Two-speed travel