what's the best skidsteer for dairy farm

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by silage feeder, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. silage feeder

    silage feeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    hello from the uk, we are looking to replace our bobcat 645 11 yrs 1100lbs lift capacity,40hp, loader starting to break up.
    main jobs are cleaning out manure,loading mixer wagon,stacking round bales of silage.plenty of water and slop involved.
    we need more power for pushing and lots more lift capacity 2200lbs+,and good ground clearance.
    our bobcat has given v.good service, bit sceptical about going bobcat again as have heard stories about electrical management systems giving problems in work like ours.
    please give your views on these skidsteers- bobcat s250,cat242b,case85xt
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    I'm a Bobcat fan but will give you a few other tips before you buy your SSL.

    First of all, consider your local dealers. If there is a Case dealer ten minutes away, there is no need to go return to Bobcat. However, if the Case dealer is horribly uncaring toward your needs and doesn't help you much at all, then it might be worth it to find another dealer that is still close by. I'm pretty sure you know about the dealer side of this already, so I'll just skip it.

    If you want a machine that just pushes all day long, you probably won't need a vertical lift path machine. It's quite pointless to use a vertical lift machine just to push... it's analogous to using a telescopic handler to dig sidewalks. Along this line, then a Case 90XT, Cat 246B, Gehl 6640, Mustang 2076 or 2086, or Bobcat S220 would be best suited. The Case 90XT is a great machine but you may have trouble justifying its cost. It will run about $35,000-$40,000 US dollars -- which may be more than what you are looking to spend. The Cat 246B is a little under the ROC you specified, but it is really a great machine and has perhaps the best cab in the industry (matched by Bobcat). The Bobcat S220 is a good machine but is still new. Its frame is the same as (or extremely similar to) that on the vertical lift models. (I left out JCB because I don't know their reliability record; Komatsu because they are too new; Thomas because I don't know whether they are in your area.)

    If you want a vertical lift machine, well, there are several to choose from. In near alphabetical order: Bobcat makes a fantastic machine. Actually, a few of them. You probably won't need the S300 as it might be too big (ROC wise), but take a look at its cost over that of the S250. If the S300 is only $1500 more, it's worth it. Six more HP and a higher ROC for $1500 is a good deal imo. Assuming you go with the S250 -- it has held up quite well. Bobcat took a step up from the 873/883 to the S250/S300/A300/T300. The machines are far more robust and will last much longer. Ground clearance on the wheeled models is 8.5"; not the best in the industry but keep in mind Bobcat's keel structure allows for better mudabilty than a machine with the same ground clearance. If price doesn't bother you, check out the A300. You'll find its steering (rather than skidding) quite nice on slop. As far as electronics stuff goes, no, that's been pretty good. Bobcat has had some problems getting increased flow to stay IN the hydraulic lines (eg oil leaks), but these shouldn't be too major (in that I don't believe it's a common problem). If you are referring to electronics and water, hehe, not sure where to advise you on that one.

    Case's 85XT is a little underpowered for a machine of its weight. The 95XT is likely to be too heavy and expensive for your needs, but it is a tremendous machine. The 85XT doesn't seem to have problems with stability or reliability.

    Cat's 252B and 262B are the top end of its line. The 242B has the same basic specs as the 246B but with a vertical lift. (Note -- the 242B WILL have less horsepower.) Cat's vertical lift is said to be a better lift path, but it is still relatively new to the machine. Make sure you compare the rearward visbility of the machines -- Cat does have a massive boom pivot way back there. Other than that, great control system, easy operation, good reliabilty, and a solid company overall.

    Deere -- claims to make the best vertical lift machines around. A lot of people had a bad taste in their mouths when the 200 series originally came out in 1999; Deere has yet to make up the reputation lost. However, if these 300 series skids are what the H-series dozers were, they'll be one heckuva lineup. Since you're ag based, Deere may be a good look for you. You'd want with a 322 or 325. (2200 ROC and 2500 ROC, respectively.) Deere machines weight quite a bit and it is quite likely that the 317, even, will do for you. Oh -- and they also made huge increases in axle torque to this new lineup.

    Gehl/Mustang -- Gehl has traditionally been an ag company but its skid steer line has propelled the name into construction quite strongly. The 6640 is basically an updated 6635... not too many brand new features, but an overall smoother look and newer engine. Long lasting machines is what I hear, with plenty of power. Nothing really distinguishes this machine from any other, however. The Mustang 20xx are very strong performers; the larger models (2066, 2076, 2086) actually borrow the Gehl frame, however. Plenty of axle torque and breakout force. Very heavy duty machines. Haven't heard anything wrong with them. Keep in mind that both these two companies are somewhat small compared to Case+Bobcat+NH so their market presence (and resale value) may be lower.

    NH -- I'm not too fond of them. Good lift design; usually underpowered except in the larger machines (Ls180, Ls190). They've been cutting the price of their machines by a LOT here in the US; don't know if that's the case everywhere. Good servicability and reliablilty; good visbility UNTIL you get the boom in the carry position, in which case you see nothing but boom and bucket.

    If you really want a vertical lift, I'd advise going either Case 85XT or Bobcat S250 or A300. The Cat design doesn't rest its arms on the loader chassis which could lead to preliminary fatigue. (If you are pushing and digging all day.) If you just want a heavy machine that will do the job, a Case 90XT will be great, as will a Cat 246B (lighter and cheaper) and Bobcat S220 (same). If the Mustang/Gehl limited brand awareness doesn't bother you, they are both great machines and you won't have problems with either of them.

    And if you want New Holland, they're a fine company, too. Their lineup needs an overhaul sometime soon, though...
  3. silage feeder

    silage feeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    thankyou for the replyBobcat s250,
    both bobcat and case dealers are quite near to us,only dealt with bobcat though but we do like the case product.
    more inclined to go with the vertical lift to lift greater loads and need to load high sided trailers and mixer wagon, need good pushing power and ground clearance at silage time to push the fresh cut grass up over the silage heap.
    never seen the jd skidsteers over here in the uk, not very keen on the new holland and don't know any gehl or mustang users.
    priced up case 85xt,bobcats250,cat262 bobcat and case very similar,cat about £4koff the mark icant see it is any better, is it worth the extra?
    so now probably bobcat or case , wants to get demo first but bobcat dealers haven't got one,and tell me of a 4 month waiting time to get a new machine ,but we want to try before we buy
    anyone with experience of s250 or 85 xt please give your views.
    thanks silagefeeder.
  4. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    Since you have listed those three, I'll focus on those three.

    Bobcat S250: from a lift arm standpoint, the Bobcat probably has the strongest lift arm design for a straight digging position. That is, if you have the lift arms straight down and are charging a mound of whatever straight on, you'll be fine. There is no power management system as found on Cat which means you, the operator, have complete control over how the machine runs. Lift height is decent, as is dump clearance, but ground clearance is a bit on the low side. Keep in mind Bobcats tend to be the skid steers least stuck in mud due to their keel structure however. Cooling design of Bobcat is excellent. Servicability is generally very good unless you need to reach the back side of the engine.

    Competitors, namely Cat, Case, and Deere, claim that Bobcat's axle design is weak. Bobcat maintains that its axle design protects the axle and that its housing is not bolted to the chaincase, which aids strength. Rumors of oil leaks are appearing among dealerships especially with high-flow machines.

    75 horsepower, 3L engine; 2500 ROC; 6840 tilt breakout force; 6300 lift breakout force.

    126.4" lift height, 99.4" dump height, 42 degree dump angle, 30 degree rollback angle, 48.8" wheelbase, 8.5" ground clearance, total length 142.9".

    Case 85XT: The heaviest skid steer of the group. Engine is very good; operators can take the engine down to near stall but still bring it right back up (myself a witness on several occasions). Very strong lift arm components; Bobcat in many ways copied the slung design of the Case in its machines. Case claims its pins are stronger due to their design. I do not know where the boom lock is on the Case machine. Servicability is about equal to that of other companies. The high frame towers may make it certain tasks more difficult.

    Competitors claim Case's hand control system is outdated and requires too much effort. Case people say their pattern is smoother and more precise. The chaincase is located on each side of the machine, lowering the ground clearance by two inches as compared to the belly pan. Low engine horsepower and less lift height and dump height. Boom arms are massive and rear visibility may be limited as a result. Engine is loud.

    69 horsepower, 3L engine; 2450 ROC; 6175 tilt breakout force; ? lift breakout force.

    124.3" (?) lift height, ? dump height, ~40 degree dump angle, ~30 degree rollback angle, 43.?" wheelbase, 9-11" ground clearance, total length ?.

    Cat 262B: Probably the most refined skid steer of the three. I'll try to address how and how not it is worthy of the extra 4000.

    Anti-stall feature. You will need to try this out before making a decision. Basically, you can run the engine however you want without worrying about the engine stalling. Advantage is that you can concentrate on what you're digging; disadvantage is that the machine takes away your control of the torque curve. People do like it, however, and Komatsu has adapted a similar system on its machines.

    Vertical lift design. Is claimed to be stronger than that of competitors; uses a special bearing (spherical bearing) at the rear of the machine to distribute loads more evenly. Excellent, completely unobstructed visibility to sides when boom arms are completely up. Good lift height (best of the three) and good dump angle.

    Power. You probably will want more due to the anti-stall. You will feel that you can push it harder. Again, because of this trait, you will want to demo the machine to see how it handles.

    Claims to use top-quality parts -- geroter moters rather than axial piston, larger axles, brake systems.

    Negatives -- lift arms don't rest against machine. They are curved somewhat, similar to Bobcat's old lift arm design, and consequently force that spherical bearing to absorb the load of the push. Not sure how reliable the lift arms would be. Less breakout force though these numbers are almost always relative.

    78 horsepower, 3L engine; 2700 ROC; ~5500 tilt breakout force; ~5000 lift breakout force.

    128" lift height, ~99.4" dump height, 50 degree dump angle, ~30 degree rollback angle, 48.8" wheelbase, 9" ground clearance, total length ~140".

    To be honest, I haven't heard anything bad about any of these machines. If you really want to spend extra money on a good machine, consider the A300. It will run quite a bit more but you get more engine power, more breakout force, more ROC, and better tire life. The decision is yours. Honestly, I would take the Cat. Second place goes to the Bobcat.

    DEMO all three. Try to get an S250 to demo -- either from a rental yard or another owner. Take the Case out for a spin and see how the two stack up. From what people have mentioned on this forum, Case will be introducing a revised 85XT-size machine early next year.

    Best of luck.
  5. silage feeder

    silage feeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks again for the reply bobcat s250
    our literature says case has 75hp although non turbo unlike the cat and bobcat, led to beleive its a case/cummins in the back should have enough grunt to push a house down!
    also with super counterweight has roc on par with bobcat and cat.
    any views on ride control on a skidsteer, is it pricey?

    thanks silage feeder
  6. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    Case rarely publishes gross horsepower. Every other manufacturer lists net horsepower; Bobcat doesn't even mention gross. Turbo will matter if you're working up in the mountains... for elevations less than around 3500 feet, you'll be okay without one, though you might notice a small difference.

    Engine does have a lot of torque. I haven't seen the Bobcat S250 really dig, but I've heard that its engine can lug quite easily. Case will drop after a while, but for about a second, it'll huff and puff and get a LOT done. If you're looking at the Bobcat and the Case, DEFINITELY get a demo between them. Try to equip them similarly -- don't put counterweights on the 85 and nothing on the S250. Dealers will also try to run their machines with max fuel... if an 250 just came back, make sure it has full fuel.

    Ride control -- don't know about prices. Is it worth it? Depends on whether you travel long distances. If all you do is dig sidewalks, probably not. For sillage clearing... if you're just pushing stuff, no, probably not. You might actually notice a detraction in performance. But if you do material handling stuff, it might be worth it. Keep in mind usually the larger loaders (not skid) benefit more from RC.
  7. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I would agree with everything said except on the ride control. Every machine we order has it. The cost is about 1500 US dollars. It will save your back, save wear and tear on the machine and keep your material in your bucket or on your pallet forks. The loader arms absorb the shock of the constant rocking back and forth which is inherent of skid steers. Makes it much more pleasurable to run. With a two speed on the machine (which the 85 does not have but will in the next several months) it is even more important.
  8. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    There you have it... I was wrong about that one. ksss is hinting that the 85XT will be upgraded sometime soon... and I'm anxiously waiting for details when it does come out.
  9. silage feeder

    silage feeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    thanks for all replys posted,very helpful.we didn't get much online response from skidsteer users over here in uk farmers mainly using telehandlers.
    None of the manufacturers would supply a demo saying limited market doesn't justify running one.
    In the end we went for the case 85xtwith full side windows/king-kong tyresand the super counterweight taking ROC to 1300kgs.
    Used it for a month now still getting used to the hand controls after 10 yrs of foot pedals on the bobcat,so far very pleased fills mixer wagon with ease,smoother ride,bags of power and lift is awsome-picks up 2 bales of silage at a time 1200-1300kg with ease where old bob would struggle to lift 1 right up. Alot louder engine compared to bob but less transmission noise.
    Also looked at cat262 and bobcat s250.
    Not to keen on the bobcat due to all the electric management[know of 873,863 very near to me giving lots of problems after only a couple of years all down to electonics one out of action for a couple of weeks trying to sort, good solid machines but to much sophistication for my type of mucky work.] also bobcat experiencing supply problems over here ,told might have to wait 16 weeks to get one.
    Went and tried a cat albeit a 216 at a cat owned hire yard looked a really sound machine had a cat badged perkins motor,real nice controls very easy on the arms.
    262 was 3k out on price and that was an 2003 model, couldn't be put in touch with another 262 user over here because there aint one,that put me off as i don't want to be the guinea pig-cat not very big in skids here,but would imagine it would be a good company to deal with,perhaps next time. :)

    new case fan silage feeder :D :D
  10. Tevi

    Tevi LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 61

    Being in the UK I don't know why you don't look at a JCB 520-40.It'll have a better reach,lift and ride then a skidsteer

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