Making hay deep in horse country
A Bobcat M-Series compact track loader keeps a North Carolina commercial haying operation on the cutting edge.
A Bobcat T870 compact track loader has greatly improved Greg Overcash’s productivity at his commercial hay operation near Charlotte, N.C.
To be successful in the business of supplying feed hay to horse farms, you need your own workhorse. Last winter, Greg Overcash replaced a competitor’s high-maintenance loader and switched to a Bobcat® T870 compact track loader.
With his new M-Series workhorse, he has gained the productivity, versatility and confidence he needed to keep his commercial haying operation on the cutting edge after 30 years.
Versatile hay harvestingLocated in the heart of Tar Heel horse country just north of Charlotte, N.C., Overcash Farms and Hay Company is a second-generation operation that grows 500 acres of hay crops, including alfalfa, orchard grass and fescue. Overcash and a handful of employees bale most of it into large and small bales. They also wrap and store a portion of them in haylage, primarily for beef and some dairy customers.
When demand for hay ramps up in winter, Overcash supplements his inventory with weekly hay deliveries from a supplier in New York. Between the two sources, Overcash can serve customers in an 80-mile radius year-round. With beef cows in the mix, the T870, purchased from R.S. Braswell Company, has seen a steady routine of heavy lifting for haying, as well as feed and material handling.
The machine’s ability to perform multiple chores allows Overcash to stretch his labor resources. “We try to do as much as we can from the seat of the equipment,” Overcash says. “The majority of our hay can be handled automatically, and we try to keep it that way.”
The T870’s value grows exponentially through its compatibility with a wide variety of attachments that are extremely useful to haying operations — from buckets to bale forks to grapples. “The thing that convinced me to go with this machine was its total versatility,” Overcash says.
Power-release quick coupler
Another feature that showcases its versatility and speeds up Overcash’s productivity is the loader’s hydraulic pressure-release quick couplers for easy attachment changes. “You can release hydraulic pressure and it’s not such a fight to get your attachments hooked up,” Overcash says.
The machine is also tasked with unloading the semitrailers. According to Overcash, the machine easily transports 15 of the 70-pound compressed bales or conventional two-string bales at one time. “It’s a very strong machine,” Overcash says, adding, “it’s such a workhorse, you can load that thing up like you can’t a lot of others.”
Tackling vertical challengesOvercash also puts the T870 through its paces overhead. The machine’s vertical lift path can help operators grab bales from 12-foot high stacks. “You have to have sufficient lift height in order to get those stacks down,” Overcash says.
The only downtime this T870 and its operators know is Sunday. Until then, it’s all work, but Overcash isn’t complaining. “It has Selectable Joystick Controls for steering that work very well for us. And, the cab has a lot more room than previous Bobcat models. I’m six-foot-one, so that means a lot for me,” Overcash says.