To find out how the latest crop of large wheeled loaders compare, Farmers Guardian teamed up with the Irish Farmers Journal and pitted four monster movers against each other. James Rickard reports.
When it comes to large scale clamp work and materials handling, the wheeled loader of choice, the JCB 435S and its predecessor, the 434S, has long been at the top of UK contractors’ lists. Increasingly, however, there are a number of alternative manufacturers chomping at the heels of the self proclaimed ‘king of the clamp.’
Famous for its construction machines, Cat has always been chipping away in the background with its K Series wheeled loaders, and more recently has shown it wants to make inroads into agriculture.
Likewise, Volvo is no stranger to agricultural conditions, especially in Ireland where its sales outstrip JCB.
Another machine with a construction background, and a newcomer into agriculture, is New Holland with its W Series range of wheeled loaders. On a mission to take on the stalwarts, it reckons its W170C loader is an ideal complimentary product for its self propelled forage harvester.
To find out how these machines compare against each other, we put them to work on a clamp in the middle of Ireland. As well as the heavy crop conditions, for an extra challenge the machines were faced with four forage wagons coming at them at once.
While the four wheeled loaders are comparable in terms of operating weight, the power of each machine varied quite dramatically. The big question is who makes the most of their power and hydraulics?
In addition to clamp work, we also set out a 250m course, and tasked them with repetitive cycle work, to find out how thirsty or frugal these machines are.
The course also showed the machines’ characteristics on the flat and how they handle on hard surfaces.