Front-end loaders are must-have features on many farm and commercial tractors. They have so many roles, both on and off the farm, that it’s hard to imagine getting a day’s work done without one. But not all loaders are created equal; picking the right one to match a job requires some thought.
Anyone buying a loader has a huge choice. One company, Buhler Industries Inc., offers many models with a variety of options that can be tailored to specific needs. Known as Allied by Farm King, these loaders are suitable for tractors ranging from 15 to 330 horsepower. In all, the company offers 35 different models.
Why so many? The answer is simple. On North American farms today you’ll find an enormous range of tractors at work. Some are new and others are decades old. Some do light work while others are pushed to their limits. To be able to find a loader with mounting points, strength and operating features exactly matching your specific need, a wide selection is essential.
Settling on a particular loader design is just the start, however. Next step is finding the right mounting brackets to properly install it on your tractor. Tractor manufacturers haven’t made it easy for after-market loader manufacturers. There is nothing standard about mounting locations. Some tractor owners end up with no option but to build their own mounting brackets in the farm workshop.
But mounting brackets take a lot stress and have to be engineered properly. That, after all, is where the force ends up. If homemade mounting brackets aren’t built correctly, they’ll fail. Then tractor, loader and whatever is being carried will likely suffer damage.
Allied, however, has made it easy to check availability of mounting brackets for their loader models. The company’s website, www.farm-king.com,has an online mounting kit search feature. The number of different off-the-shelf kits is extensive. Scanning through the pages, it’s hard to imagine that any tractor has been overlooked. The list even includes high-horsepower tractors.
A company spokesman reports a growing demand for high-horsepower front-end loaders, which increase the range of functions for larger tractors. “A lot of these tractors are doing double duty,” says Adam Reid, Buhler Industries’ marketing manager. With the large investment required for today’s high-horsepower tractors, it makes sense to broaden the range of jobs they can handle. Adding a loader does just that.
With maximum lift capacity of 6,989 lb. (3,197 kg) and a breakout force of 8,811 lb. (4,022 kg) at the pivot pin, the 3995 loader is the heaviest model yet offered by the Allied by Farm King brand. It is designed for tractors in the 200 to 330 hp range. Equipping a larger tractor with a loader can eliminate the need for a second, smaller utility model. You still get the jobs done, but with reduced overall machinery investment.
The 3995, and other smaller models, offer improved styling over previous versions. Standard features include “Hydra Fast” hydraulic hook-up, “Cushion Ride” and a Euro quick-attach system.
The “Hydra Fast” hook-up uses just one lever to couple or disengage all hydraulic lines for a clean, quick and easy connection to the tractor, even when the system is under pressure. It also avoids incorrect connections when an operator hooks up multiple lines. Sorting out correct hydraulic connections on some loaders can be confusing and time-wasting.
“Cushion Ride” minimizes the risk of damage to the loader, tractor front end and carried load when traveling across rough surfaces, or from dropping a heavy load too quickly. It acts like shock absorbers in a car to dampen sudden impacts.
If a tractor regularly moves heavy loads, like round silage bales, “Cushion Ride” can significantly reduce maintenance requirements by minimizing the risk of stress fractures. That gives both tractor and loader a much longer service life, saving money.
Because farmers use their tractors to carry much heavier loads now than in the past, some equipment dealers say utility tractors taken in on trade often have serious damage to their loaders, even after only a few years of use. The Cushion Ride feature can minimize that problem, meaning higher trade-in values when owners upgrade equipment.
Unlike many other after-market loader manufacturers, Allied builds its own hydraulic cylinders — among the most critical components on a loader. Allied cylinders have a poly pac seal for superior service and easy replacement. And they come equipped with standard cylinder locks on both sides of the loader to secure it in position while the tractor is serviced.
These large-diameter cylinders offer high lift capacity and, importantly, stronger rollback power. This is a real advantage when moving large round bales on a spear, which places a lot of weight well forward of the pivot points. Trying to save money by opting for a loader with smaller cylinders can seriously hamstring lifting ability. This is not the place to scrimp.
Self-leveling loaders now dominate the marketplace. It’s a feature most producers wouldn’t want to go without. But on some brands, the bucket doesn’t stay perfectly positioned. Watch these loaders lift and lower: the bucket waves a little, tilting slightly up and down through the loader’s movement arc.
To avoid that, Allied’s line offers true self-leveling. It eliminates the waving motion and also provides for full-bucket dump at ground level and additional roll-back as the height increases.
If it’s necessary to remove the loader to free up a tractor for other jobs, that’s easy with an Allied by Farm King design. First, just remove the parking stands from their convenient location under the loader arms. Second, remove the locking pins on each side of the mid-mount models (this doesn’t even require tools). Third, disconnect the hydraulics and back away. Disconnecting a 95-series loader also requires loosening a nut on each side. But that’s all there is to it.
Given all the benefits Allied loaders offer, they’re worth a look. You’ll likely find a readily available mounting kit for your tractor, even if it’s an older model. Just visit www.farm-king.comto find out.