Skid steers are a popular choice for farm work — in fact, it may be difficult to find a farm or ranch without one. From cash crop farms to smaller hobby farms, skid steers have been championed as an all-purpose piece of equipment. But how can you use a skid steer for dairy management?
Although skid steers are an agriculture operation staple, there are still plenty of questions surrounding them. We’ll provide answers to some of the most common skid steer questions, discuss how dairy farmers can benefit from using skid steer attachments and cover the advantages of using them on your farm.
Why Skid Steers Are Perfect for Agricultural Operations
When it comes to boosting productivity, a skid steer can be helpful no matter what size of a farm you’re running. While small enough to make close turns and navigate tight spaces, skid steers are tough and rugged enough to run on rough terrain. With its wide functionality, compact size and maneuverability, a skid steer can easily fit in with any farm’s regular activities.
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about skid steers and agricultural skid steer attachments.
What Makes Skid Steers So Popular?
A high level of versatility makes skid steers valuable for any agriculture operation. As powerful and durable heavy-duty pieces of machinery, skid steers are sturdy enough for just about any job around the farm from digging trenches to mulching. Some even view the skid steer as more resilient than a tractor — with the bonus of being able to work and be stored in more compact places.
Can Skid Steers Be Used on Small Farms and Ranches?
Although skid steers are most popular for larger farms and dairy operations, small-scale farmers are discovering how they can benefit from using skid steers, too. This is because skid steers allow small farm and ranch managers access to many attachments that can make their jobs smoother.
Are Skid Steer Attachments Easy to Use?
The vast majority of modern skid steers are made with a quick-attach mechanism to ensure switching out attachments isn’t a chore. Attachments are what make skid steers so versatile, so it’s important that using them isn’t overly complicated. Connecting the right attachment to your skid steer can change it from a mini bulldozer to a pallet fork, and can be done in a snap.
What Are Some of the Most Common Skid Steer Attachments for Agriculture Operations?
When it comes to agricultural skid steer attachments, there’s no shortage of usage options. Whether you run a dairy farm or grain and seed oil operation, a skid steer is a crucial piece of equipment to have on hand for general grounds maintenance and material transport. With the proper attachments, a skid steer can be adapted to handle all sorts of special tasks.
Here are five of the most popular and versatile skid steer ag attachments:
- Material bucket: Material buckets are strong, sturdy and suitable for just about any job. From industrial agriculture to ranching and hobby farms, a material bucket can prove useful in a variety of settings. Whether you need to move debris, build a fence or spread fertilizer, the material bucket is the tool for you.
- Grapple attachments: A grapple bucket attachment is designed for collecting materials and securely transporting them. The tines of grapple buckets make them perfect for grabbing difficult-to-scoop debris. You can use a grapple attachment to move rocks, clear brush, clean pens, landscape and more.
- Bale spears: For anyone in the farm and agriculture industry, bale spears are revolutionary. By using sharp points to firmly attach to bales, bale spears make moving large, heavy hay bales safe and simple. Speed up your silage storage and feeding times by fitting your skid steer with a bale spear attachment.
- Manure bucket: A manure bucket attachment helps with removing manure from stalls, pens and corrals. These buckets come with tines to give a better grip and ensure no manure is spilled. You can also use a manure bucket to haul materials, till a stretch of land or turn compost in a safer and more effective way.
- Land plane: A level land plane attachment can turn a skid steer into the ultimate land prepping machine. Whether you need to smooth land, peel sod, clear weeds or till the soil, a land plane is the ag attachment for you. Optional add-on features like a hydraulic scarifier or a dirt bucket can make breaking up hard ground or digging with a land plane attachment even easier.
Can Skid Steers Be Used in Any Season?
Skid steers can come in handy no matter what time of year it is. During colder times of the year or in generally colder climates, farmers and ranchers can use their skid steers to clear snow by using a snow blade or bucket attachment. Plowing snow with a skid steer is much more efficient than shoveling by hand, saving you from being out in the elements for longer than necessary.
What Are the Uses of Skid Steers on Dairy Farms?
Now that we’ve covered some basic information about skid steers, let’s look at how skid steers and attachments can be used on dairy farms specifically. A skid steer can be essential to have on a dairy farm for helping with three main tasks: cleaning out the spaces where animals live, herding livestock and feeding the animals.
1. Cleaning Out Pens
From the stalls to the pen, a skid steer is perfect for taking care of routine animal living area cleaning. Due to its compact size, a skid steer is an especially great investment for dairy farms with low-ceiling barns or smaller pens. Dairy farmers who use skid steers to clean out their animal areas can save time by not having to muck stalls the old-fashioned way and save money by not needing to hire an outside source to clean their corrals.
A skid steer can use a manure bucket attachment that has tines to make cleaning up soiled animal bedding a breeze. To make the job go by even faster, farmers can use a tine grapple bucket to grab even larger amounts of dirty bedding at one time. A manure scraper can be helpful for pen cleaning as well, and it can even double as a snowplow in the winter. Material buckets, tine buckets and grapples can also make delivering fresh hay or silage to your stalls much more manageable.
2. Corralling Cattle
What’s quicker than a border collie and never gets tired? A skid steer, of course! Skid steers are able to quickly and efficiently guide cattle toward wherever they need to go. Having a skid steer can especially come in handy when corralling calves to keep them moving in the right direction.
Skid steers can also be used to move sick animals to a new location to receive better care and treatment. Because cows are quite heavy, moving a sick one often seems impossible. But carefully moving the cow with a skid steer allows you to transport it to a safer location. Once in a more accessible area away from the rest of the herd, the animal will be able to get the medical attention it needs.
3. Keeping Livestock Well-Fed
With the right attachment, a skid steer can turn into a convenient feed bucket. Ag attachments are large and durable, so they’ll be able to endure all sorts of wear and tear from crowding, hungry animals. Putting out a feed bucket will also allow dairy cows to eat at any time of the day, saving farmers from having to block out set times for feeding.
As a livestock feed pusher, a skid steer attachment can help keep your cows well-fed and positively impact their milk production. Skid steers are also good for carrying feed and grain to or from places, which could be especially helpful for those with on-farm grain storage. And if you ever need to move a lot of feed or silage in a short amount of time, the high-speed options provided by skid steers can make transporting the materials much faster.
From feeding to bedding cattle, no other piece of equipment gets the job done like a skid steer. Although we discussed three of the most common ways to use a skid steer for dairy farm tasks, there are plenty of other potential uses for them around the farm. Depending on the different attachments you have, you can find endless usages for your skid steer.
What Are the Benefits of Agricultural Skid Steer Attachments?
Clearly, there are many benefits to using any skid steer ag attachment. Because of their many attachments, skid steers offer farmers three big advantages: efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness. Here’s how these three benefits make skid steer attachments a worthwhile investment:
Instead of buying a bunch of different pieces of equipment to have around the farm, a skid steer allows you to buy just one product and use it for a wide variety of jobs. Thanks to the diversity of available skid steer ag attachments, you can modify your skid steer to do a variety of tasks, including:
- Moving large objects
- Cleaning up barn stalls
- Delivering batches of feed
- Lifting pallets
As an efficiency bonus, your skid steer attachments may be able to automatically recall whatever angles you pre-set them at the last time you used them, even if they have been repositioned since then. Talk about a time saver!
The array of uses offered by a skid steer also allows you to increase productivity while maximizing the ease of mechanical operation. Automatically recalling settings can help you zip through moving hay bales or loading silage into feed bins. In addition, most skid steers have joystick buttons that allow you to easily adjust your ground speed. This can come in handy when performing heavy-duty jobs at a steady yet powerful pace, such as rolling barbed wire for cattle fences.
Considering people, livestock and tender vegetation are all over agriculture operations, safety is always of the utmost importance. Skid steer attachments help you protect what’s around you by offering various safety features to suit each situation. Talk with your agriculture equipment provider before purchasing a skid steer or an attachment to find out whether a certain piece of equipment would be right for your farm and what sort of safety features would be available to add on to it.
Most skid steers and attachments offer great safety features, such as a back-up camera, so it’s often a matter of making sure you choose the right equipment for your needs. Because ag attachments are specialized and easily switched out with others, you can stay safe by always using the proper attachment for the job. Without having to improve on the wrong tools, you’ll be able to avoid the safety hazards that come with haste or inadequate equipment.
Investing in one machine to do the work of many is efficient and cost-effective. Purchasing a skid steer can save you money in the long run by fulfilling the roles of many different types of equipment thanks to certain ag attachments. A skid steer’s durability and ruggedness make it a long-lasting tool that’s well worth the purchase.
Although skid steers can last a long time without breaking down, you should consider refreshing your skid steer attachments every so often for the sake of safety and productivity. The attachments are often what endure the brunt of the damage because they have direct contact with the rough surfaces, heavy objects and hazardous items farmers work with. This inevitably results in wear and tear on the attachments, so your skid steer attachments may need to be replaced or updated periodically if you want them to keep operating at their highest capacity.
Contact Stinger Attachments for Your Next Skid Steer Attachment
If you need a new type of ag attachment or a replacement, contact the skid steer experts at Stinger Attachments to discuss your next purchase. Along with great skid steer attachment products, we offer knowledgeable skid steer advice and can make equipment recommendations based on your needs. Once we’ve worked together to decide which ag attachment is right for you, you’ll enjoy a one-year warranty on whichever Stinger Attachments product you purchase.
Already know what you’re looking for? Check out our inventory of high-quality skid steer attachments to enhance your farm today.