Dairy demands dependability
Family-owned dairy farm has provided milk for more than 90 years, operates Bobcat compact equipment 365 days a year
Dairy farmer Jamie Larson and his S130 skid-steer loader
Dependable compact equipment is a must in the dairy industry. That is why the dairy farmers at Larson Acres in Evansville, Wis., operate Bobcat® skid-steer loaders and attachments. Fourth-generation family member Jamie Larson answers seven important questions about the company, its day-to-day operations and its Bobcat compact equipment.
Q: How long has your family been farming?
A: We’ve been farming in this area for more than 90 years.
Q: When did the dairy purchase its first Bobcat loader?
A: I think it was 1997. It was a 753, when we were preparing for our first expansion with the freestall barns and milking parlor. Prior to that, we were in a tie-stall barn, and our employees did a lot of hand work — feeding, bedding and removing manure.
Q: Why did your dairy choose Bobcat loaders?
A: We were happy with the Bobcat machines we had rented in the past, and chose to purchase a loader.
Q: What is one feature that is particularly important?
A: Visibility is very important to us. The operators are in tight quarters in the barns and they need to be able to see what they’re doing.
Q: What your daily chores?
A: We mount buckets to the S130s to move feed for the cows, as well as load and haul sand for bedding. The operators use the loaders to scrape and push manure from the barns. The animals are familiar with the equipment because they’ve been around it so much. In winter the S130s remove snow around the farm.
Q: How has the dairy farm changed?
A: It’s been steady, but we’ve had a few big leaps. My great-grandfather started with 80 acres and five cows. By 1997 we were milking 180 cows in a tie-stall barn, then we put up the first freestall barn and milking parlor, and the herd grew to about 1,200 cows by 2000. Then in 2010, we expanded again and doubled the size of the herd, so that got us to about 2,400 cows.
Q: Why does the dairy continue purchasing Bobcat loaders?
A: They are easy to operate and maintain. Today we have five S130 skid-steer loaders that we purchased from Mid-State Equipment, our local Bobcat dealer. They are compact enough to get in and out of the barns and in tight areas, but they still have plenty of power to do what we need.