Excavators For Farm Work.
If asked to list your top five pieces of farm equipment, would an excavator feature anywhere? Probably not. But could it?
In all probability, an excavator won’t even be in the top ten pieces of farm equipment. But with advancements in machine design, and increasing diversity of attachments, these machines are building a growing on-farm following.
Being from a farm in the Fens, I am used to seeing excavators of different shapes and sizes in ditching operations, but there’s so much more to them than digging. True, they’ll never be as essential as a tractor or a telehandler, but what jobs might an excavator do just as capably, freeing up that essential piece of equipment to make money somewhere else?
Yes, the clue is in the name. While an excavator does digging better than anything else, other applications aren’t as obvious. Take mowing and mulching, for example. Pick up the head, push on the hydraulic quick disconnects and you’ve a more versatile tool than you ever imagined. The adjustable and continuous flow on our Mini Excavator range, from 303.5E up, means there’s no need to hold the button while working the mulcher or mower. Two-speed motors on the new range of Cat mowers and mulchers ensure the head continues to spin, even when under heavy load or moving the machine.
Then there’s the lifting hooks that most quick couplers now feature. They can lift a variety of items, such as the tonne bag of fertiliser or seed that the 308E2 can empty into a hopper, keeping your telehandler available for another task elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in North America we often see these machines put to work bale stacking. When stacking bales in a confined space or shed – perhaps not even moving the tracks – an excavator really comes into its own and becomes an extremely efficient way to stack. Several bale fork or standard fork options are available in the market.
Access presents no problem for excavators – our range includes machines that will fit through a standard household doorway. I have seen some great examples of excavators being used in livestock sheds, cleaning up and even delivering feed. In these situations, I always think our 304.5E2 XTC could be very useful with its tool carriage rather than the standard dozer blade, and a set of pallet forks or a bucket attached instead.
Yes, it’s the land management applications that are the usual applications we think of for excavators: ditch cleaning, site clearance, fencing, small forestry jobs, and so on. A little bit of lateral thinking shows just how much more these machines can do. Think of an excavator as a powerpack, offering endless possibilities – particularly as it also provides you with a great opportunity to rent out a machine and operator in quieter times, for income diversification.
Don’t “ditch” the idea of an excavator on a farm – it could be your key to unlocking more profit opportunities.
My role as the BCP Service Technical Rep for Eastern Canada allows me to get close to not only the dealer, but also the customers of the region. My main focus is to keep long and healthy relationships with our customers through continued support and good service, listening to and acting upon both good and bad feedback.
The position gives me a great perspective on how our machines are used to do great things at the hands of our customers. I am always learning and never shocked when I see something that I have not seen before!
My previous role within Caterpillar was as a Product Support Engineer for Mini Hydraulic Excavators. This was a great role that allowed me get close to our dealers and customers about specific issues and really help with the top level layout of forthcoming developments.
Previous to that I spent time in Backhoe Loader Design after graduating from Brunel University. I still try to get back and help my dad on the family farm as often as I can after all, that is really where my journey started.