Three generations of farming, one brand of compact equipment
Wisconsin dairy farm combines Bobcat telescopic tool carrier with a loader for an efficient compact equipment team
Back row: Stan and Faye DeBoer. Front row, pictured left to right: Leanna Dykstra, Matt Dykstra, Owen Navis, Jake Dykstra, Avery Navis and Louis DeBoer. Not pictured are grandchildren: Chastin DeBoer and Evie Stiteley.
Third-generation dairy farmer Stan DeBoer and his wife, Faye, live on the homestead where Stan’s grandfather settled in 1932. Since 1979, Bobcat has been the preferred brand of compact equipment for day-to-day operations at DeBoer Farm, based in Randolph, Wis. Today, a VersaHandler® telescopic tool carrier complements a Bobcat® skid-steer loader to efficiently complete chores.
For the past three years, DeBoer has operated a V417 to assist with tasks that require more lift height and reach than his Bobcat skid-steer loader. DeBoer says the 75-horsepower V417 is an integral part of properly filling his mixer with the total mix ration (TMR) to feed his 200-plus dairy cow herd. With feed in the Bobcat 84-inch light-material bucket, DeBoer extends the telescopic tool carrier’s two-stage boom to reach over the top of the mixer, which he estimates to be about 8 feet, 9 inches tall. A single joystick inside the V417 controls the lift and tilt functions, while a thumbwheel on the joystick extends the boom.
“I can extend the boom to easily dump feed into the mixer, while monitoring a scale to make sure I’m being precise,” he says. “Feed is the most expensive cost in my operation, and with the V417, it’s easier to be accurate when I’m loading the mixer. I can mix four loads of feed in an hour and half.”
The Bobcat V417 replaced a different brand of telehandler, according to DeBoer, and he says it is a productive machine, particularly when he is unloading bales or palletized materials from a truck. “I can unload a semi load of hay bales in about 20 minutes, which saves me a lot of time,” DeBoer says.
35 years of Bobcat equipment
Both the V417 and his Bobcat skid-steer loader were purchased from Mid-State Equipment, the local Bobcat dealer. DeBoer says the service from Mid-State Equipment has been excellent. His relationship with Bobcat equipment dates back to the farm’s first Bobcat loader, an M610 purchased in 1979. Following that first machine, the family purchased a 763 that DeBoer says easily had more than 10,000 hours on it when he upgraded to a newer loader in 2004. Prior to purchasing Bobcat compact equipment, DeBoer says the family operated a tractor with front-end loader, and before that, it was manual labor with a pitchfork.
“Compact equipment, particularly from Bobcat, has come a long way since our first M610,” DeBoer says. “Today’s equipment is more durable, easier to steer and very maneuverable.”
DeBoer’s V417 has three steering modes — front-wheel, all-wheel and crab — to best match the operating conditions. The all-wheel steer mode is particularly helpful on the farm, DeBoer says, because it allows for a tight turning radius.