Never a day’s rest — No problem
Not a day goes by that a Wisconsin dairy farmer and cattle exporter doesn’t need his dependable Bobcat skid-steer loaders, which have never let him down
Bobcat is the only brand of loader that Terry Peterson and his family have ever owned. Son-in-law Rob Crubel (left) and employee Bob Cooley (right) help Peterson operate the cattle farm in southwest Wisconsin.
Life on the farm is much different today for 68-year-old Terry Peterson, reflecting on how much has changed since the family farm added Bobcat® skid-steer loaders and attachments — the only brand of skid-steer loaders purchased by Peterson.
Peterson and his wife Sandy live on the farm where Terry grew up near Lancaster, Wis., in America’s dairy heartland, where they raise cattle and grow row crops for feed. “We’ve always had cattle and we grow alfalfa, corn and soybeans on approximately 680 total acres,” he says.
Introducing skid-steer loaders on the farm replaced much of the work previously done with larger, less maneuverable tractors or by hand, according to Peterson. His son-in-law, Rob Crubel, and an employee, Bob Cooley, take care of the farm’s daily chores. Cooley has worked for Peterson for more than 35 years and he’s seen quite a few product enhancements to Bobcat skid-steer loaders. Crubel is getting his feet wet in the beef cattle industry, learning alongside Peterson, with 60 Red Angus cows and heifers.
A dependable pair
Peterson uses his skid-steer loader to complete chores on his farm.
Today, two Bobcat S650 skid-steer loaders — purchased from K & L Bobcat, Darlington, Wis. — are the workhorses on the farm. There isn’t a day that goes by that the S650s are not helping to complete chores and clearing snow and ice in winter, according to Peterson.
“We’ve never had a skid-steer loader other than a Bobcat (loader),” Peterson says, “and we’re really impressed with the power and performance the new S650 loaders have, and the extra room in the cab. We purchased them with the enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning, hydraulic Power Bob-Tach™ system and two-speed option — we love them.”
Crubel says the two-speed option available in the Bobcat loaders is particularly helpful when he’s working in the fields, picking up and transporting hay bales.
“Bobcat skid-steer loaders replaced our tractor, as far as picking up bales, because of two-speed,” Crubel says. “What used to take us two hours with a tractor can be done in about an hour. We put the machine in two-speed, pick up and carry the bales, plus we’re not tearing up the fields as much. I prefer the Bobcat loader over the tractor any day.
Peterson's S650 skid-steer loader brings hay into the barn.
“Some of our stock yards require a machine with a close turning radius. Our Bobcat loaders go in the yards and have no problem at all. They are much more maneuverable than a tractor with a front-end loader, which may be twice as long as a Bobcat loader.”
Creature comforts are critical to daily loader operators like Crubel and Cooley, particularly when they’re in the machine for many hours. Crubel is quick to point out many of the product developments in the new M-Series loaders from the prior S175 K-Series models.
“Overall, I think the all-around visibility in the S650s is great. We can see a lot better and the cab feels like it is a lot bigger; I’m not cramped in there,” Crubel says. “Even the windows are a lot nicer, sliding in and out. And the controls are more responsive. It’s almost like you can take your fingertips and move them, that’s how precise it can be, or just move my foot a little bit and it offers good control.”
A day on the farm
This is a summary of a typical day, in terms of taking care of the cattle and tending to routine farm chores.
Task 1: If there’s snow, clean all the bunks and the runway where the cattle stand
Bobcat loaders clear snow with a bucket.
Task 2: Feed round bales to the cattle
Bobcat loaders use a bale fork to lift and place large round bales in a feeder, to eat along with the total mixed ration (TMR).
Task 3: Prepare the TMR and feed the heifers
Bobcat loaders load corn silage, haylage and grain into the mixer.
“The loaders have enough lift height and reach that they can easily dump into the mixer,” Peterson says.
Task 4: Provide new bedding for the cattle while they’re eating
Bobcat loaders: clean the barns and beds, place new bedding material (corn fodder)
Task 5: Haul manure from the barns
Pile it or load it into manure spreader, as needed.
Bobcat loaders scrape manure, push into piles and use a bucket to load into the spreader.
“If the manure is frozen, the loader’s bucket can easily loosen it,” Peterson says.
Task 6: Bring in hay bales from the field
Bobcat loaders attach a bale fork to lift and carry bales to the barn for storage, or load dry hay from the barn onto trailers for sale to other producers.
Task 7: Unload palletized materials upon delivery
Bobcat loaders with a pallet fork, unload pallets of salt or seed corn.
Task 8: Build or mend fences
Bobcat loaders dig new post holes with an auger.