JCB’s latest little loader claims to combine the lifting ability of a small telehandler with the compactness of a skid-steer. But how does it actually fare?
Jane Carley finds out at a family farm in Derbyshire...
Wanting greater lift and reach, yet to maintain the compact dimensions of a small loader, Derbyshire dairy farmers Edward Neville and his son Adam have swapped a conventional skid-steer loader for JCB’s novel Teleskid.
The Teleskid 3TS-8W is the same size as the fixed boom skidsteer on which it is based, but features extra reach and lift height from a telehandler-style boom.
It was during a demonstration that the Nevilles saw the value of what an extending boom could bring to a skid-steer. Subsequently, they soon ordered one of the first production farm-spec machines last November.
Edward says: “We expected the Teleskid to do a lot of work and it has, including lifting a cow when she went down.
“Day to day, the machine fills the mixer wagon, scrapes out cubicle yards, pushes silage up to the feed barrier and loads our bale shredder to chop straw into cubicles.”
The Teleskid has clocked up almost 1,000 hours in the past year, which helps extend the life of the farm’s main loader, a JCB Loadall 536-60.
“We needed a second loader and, since the Teleskid can handle 70 per cent of what a Loadall can do in our situation, it makes sense,” Adam says.
“Having the two machines means we have a compact loader for inside buildings and around the yard, and a bigger machine for work out in the field.”
The Teleskid handles most tasks in and around the buildings at Rushley Lodge Farm, near Matlock, Derbyshire, where the Neville family runs a 150-cow dairy herd of Holstein Friesians, averaging 6,000 litres a year.
The Teleskid, which has a lift capacity of 611kg with the boom extended, operates a range of attachments, including a bucket, shear grab, silage pusher, bale spike and yard scraper, all of which can be swapped from the driver’s seat using an electrically operated quick hitch.
Its boom is equipped with the manufacturer’s Smooth Ride System boom suspension to help retain loose materials and improve ride quality when travelling over rough ground.
In terms of control flexibility, Adam says: “Operators can switch between Iso and ‘H’ pattern joystick control and choose fixed or selflevelling bucket control using a button on the in-cab control panel.
“Self-levelling bucket control keeps the bucket at the selected angle throughout the lift cycle to prevent spillage of loose materials and allows us to set the bucket after emptying, ready to dig into a stockpile again once the boom has come down.”
Boom and attachments are controlled via a joystick which offers three software settings for the controls and transmission to give a steadier or more rapid response, according to the operator’s preference and working situation.
Access is also improved over the traditional skid-steer design, says Adam, with no clambering over the arms and attachment, as it has a side door.
“I kept slipping when getting on and off the skid-steer loader we had before, which was one reason we switched to the JCB skid-steer which has a single boom and side door,” Adam says.
“With the heater and the radio on, it is a comfortable cab, and a lot quieter than a larger telehandler.”
An obvious question when viewing the Teleskid for the first time is how stable a small telescopic loader will be, especially on rougher ground.
“You do have to treat it with respect, just like you have to treat a telescopic handler or any other machine with caution,” Adam says.
“But, touch wood, we have given it a busy workload with several people using it without a mishap.
“It is actually surprisingly stable.
“When you are travelling without an attachment, it can get a bit light on the front, but pushing the boom out a foot or so is enough of a counterweight to keep things steady.”
Adam says the Teleskid weighs four tonnes, which helps keep it upright, while the metal guards and bodywork are designed to withstand the inevitable knocks and scrapes around the farmyard.
“It is a really nippy machine for running along the feed barrier pushing up silage after cows have nosed it away,” Adam says.
“Everyone in the family uses it, because it is so handy to jump on and off, even for taking several buckets of milk in one go to feed calves. You can go anywhere with it. I call it my mobility scooter.
“The Teleskid’s manoeuvrability is so handy in the cubicle house and other buildings, and it is small enough and quiet enough not to disturb the cows.
“I could not go back to a standard skid-steer now we have lived with this one.”
Adam reckons the skid-steer saves £200/month on diesel costs compared to using a second fullsize loader.