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Fall 2012

Continuing a family farm tradition with Bobcat loaders

Only one brand of compact equipment is suitable for two North Dakota row crop and cow-calf operators, and that brand is Bobcat. Now on their third Bobcat loader, brothers Michael and Patrick Cox are loyal to the skid-steer loader pioneer.

Brothers Patrick (left) and Michael Cox depend
daily on their Bobcat compact track loader for farm chores.

Brothers Patrick (left) and Michael Cox depend daily on their Bobcat compact track loader for farm chores.

There’s only one brand of compact loader that suits farmers and brothers Michael and Patrick Cox — Bobcat. Michael and Patrick operate Cox Farms, a family farm near Devils Lake, N.D., where they have about 2,500 tillable acres for corn and soybeans, as well as a cow-calf operation with 700 acres of pasture.

Michael and Patrick took over the family farm when their father, Barry, passed away in 2011. Together, the brothers and their mother, Judy, are carrying on the family farm and its traditions, with some help from a Bobcat® T750 compact track loader and attachments. The M-Series T750 is the third Bobcat compact loader they’ve purchased from Bobcat of Devils Lake, and for Michael, it’s the only brand that matters.

“My feeling is that Bobcat was the first skid-steer loader and has always been the best,” he says. “We have a very good relationship with the local dealer. We purchased our first Bobcat loader about five years ago, an 873, and then added an S650. Now we’re on our third Bobcat loader — a T750.

“We decided that rather than use a Bobcat skid-steer loader with over-the-tire steel tracks, we would buy a Bobcat compact track loader. It’s nice to have the rubber-track undercarriage in the spring when it’s wet, for extra traction and flotation, and the rubber tracks enable us to go into buildings and drive on concrete.”

Rarely a day goes by that the Bobcat compact track loader isn’t operated at Cox Farms. “Our Bobcat loader is the one piece of equipment that we use daily, no matter what we’re doing,” Michael Cox says. “We use the Bobcat loader to lift and carry objects, like hay bales, and do the daily chores such as feeding the cow-calf herd. We grow, cut and bale alfalfa, and then we grind the alfalfa with some straw, beet tailings and silage, before we feed it to the cows.

A new Bobcat T750 helps handle round bales for Michael and Patrick Cox
and their cow-calf operation.

A new Bobcat T750 helps handle round bales for Michael and Patrick Cox and their cow-calf operation.

“I really like the versatility of Bobcat loaders and all of the attachments that I can use. It seems like there’s an attachment for everything.” Michael and Patrick own a Bobcat bucket, pallet fork and snowblower. The snowblower comes in handy during the winter for clearing snow at the farm and in town.

Cab comforts

The cab-forward design with more cab space, available on Bobcat M-Series loaders, has impressed Michael.

“The new loaders have much more room in the cab,” he says, “which is a big improvement from our first loader, and I feel that the visibility is much better. Also, I don’t feel cramped when I’m operating, and I can be in it for a long time and it still feels comfortable. The radio is a nice option, too. We have an enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning for our T750. It’s the only way to go.”

Handling seed

Michael and Patrick are in their third year as a Pioneer seed dealer. They’re selling corn, beans, sunflowers, and canola and alfalfa seed to area farmers. Again, the Bobcat loader helps the brothers with the task of handling heavy materials.

“We handle a lot of totes, and we unload all of them from the semitrailers with the Bobcat loader and pallet fork,” Cox says. “Once they’re unloaded, we use the Bobcat T750 to move them around and load feed tenders.”

Faster travel speeds

On a large family farm like Cox Farms, big distances can be time wasters. That’s why every Bobcat loader that the family has purchased has the two-speed travel option. The option allows operators to get from Point A to Point B faster. And when you start to add up the minutes saved, it can quickly turn into hours and days.

With the versatile and dependable equipment supporting them, Michael and Patrick expect to carry on the family farm. “I’ve been involved in farming ever since I could walk,” Michael says. Now he can do much more work in less time with his Bobcat compact loaders and attachments.

Tips for cold weather loader operation

With winter right around the corner, here are three fluid maintenance tips to improve your Bobcat loader’s cold weather operation.

  1. Select engine oil viscosity to match the expected temperature range
  2. Use low-temperature grease for proper lubrication on pivot points
  3. Use fuel rated for colder temperatures ̶ some areas provide winter fuel that is blended or refined for the region to improve flow