Skid steer standouts
When you have a new piece of equipment on the market, you need it to stand out – with something like a multiyear warranty. That’s what Wacker Neuson gave its line of skid steers and compact track loaders in 2014.
“We offer a unique three- (standard), four- (powertrain), and five- (electrical system) year warranty,” says Nathan Ryan, product manager at the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, business. “In today’s competitive market, we had to differentiate ourselves. We believe offering the industry’s best warranty speaks volumes about our products’ quality and durability. The warranty provides peace of mind and assurance that these machines are designed and built to last, providing an excellent return on investment.”
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After working for a short time at a dealership that sold Wacker Neuson machines, Derrick Horst knew it was the ideal skid steer for his job as farm manager at Coon Creek Poultry in Grantville, Pennsylvania.
“The Wacker doesn’t have a DPF (diesel particulate filter), so there’s less burn hazard. The DPF regeneration cycle gets hot and, in dusty conditions, it can be a fire hazard,” says Horst, who cares for two broiler barns with a total of 75,000 chickens.
Ryan notes that Wacker Neuson uses Italian-made Kohler engines with DOC (diesel oxidation catalyst) instead of DPF to meet EPA exhaust standards for Tier 4 engines. The flow-through device – a ceramic and precious metal honeycomb – turns exhaust into CO2 and water.
“Kohler engines were redesigned for Tier 4 instead of just adding on (an existing model),” Ryan says. “They are more serviceable, use stronger materials, and are a smaller size that meet regulations. One common thing customers ask is if something is missing when they look in the back of our loaders.”
It’s more open and not packed in with components like most skid steers. In addition, the cab can be tipped forward for maintenance or repairs whether the arms are raised up or down.
“The serviceability is great,” Horst says. “There aren’t a lot of hoses and linkages. It’s easy to work on. The radiator is on top of the motor and flips up out of the way, so you can get to all sides of the engine to work.”
So far the only issue he has had with his SW21 74-hp. skid steer is a faulty ignition relay that the dealership replaced under warranty.
Horst uses the skid steer regularly, first to move the broiler chickens in crates to load on the truck and then to clean out the room in the barn where the chickens lived for 10 weeks.
“It’s a fast machine (up to 10 mph), which is really important for me because of the distance from the chicken house to the manure pile,” he says. It takes many trips to clean out each 62×120-foot room.
He appreciates the float control feature, which allows the bucket to float when going over rough ground. Because it is an electric-over hydraulic machine, he can also use the joystick to jiggle the bucket to loosen up everything when dumping.
Horst has driven many different skid steers, and he says the Wacker Neuson has some notable differences. Instead of a lap bar, it has a seatbelt. There is noticeably more foot room in his model that has joystick controls.
“It’s wider, and the footwell sticks out past the door about 3 inches for more room. Additionally, we designed slim cab pillars and used thin material in the cab side screens to give the operator the best visibility possible,” Ryan says.
For even better visibility, Horst added an $800 backup camera. The dealership changed out the control display with a new 6-inch screen that shows what’s behind him when he goes in reverse.
“Plus I get diagnostics and I can change the controls by myself to be more aggressive with the bucket, hydraulics, and steering,” Horst adds. It can also be set up with security pass codes.
He uses the Wacker Neuson year-round, and last winter it was put to the test moving snow. It did well with just minor spinning on hills, Horst says.
Expanding the Line
Wacker Neuson has seven wheeled skid steers and six compact track loaders with options of radial or vertical lifts and 56, 74, or 100 hp. In addition to ISO joystick controls, the company offers H-Pattern controls and hand and foot controls. Wacker Neuson leads the industry in the medium-frame class with 221-ft.-lb. engine torque and a 10-foot, 4-inch hinge pin height.
“The two primary tasks skid steers are used for on a farm are moving feed and moving manure. Given the nature of those two tasks, Wacker Neuson designed these machines with some of the highest dump heights on the market, and the overhead window makes seeing the elevated load easy,” Ryan says. “The bucket leveling feature ensures that no feed is spilled back onto the operator when dumping into TMR mixers. Our standard lift arm float feature aids operators in scraping out barns by fixing the bucket position and using the weight of the lift arms to push down on the bucket.”
That’s one of the tasks dairy and crop farmer Joe Massmann of Melrose, Minnesota, uses his ST45 track loader for. In addition to milking 55 cows, he grows 350 acres of corn and soybeans and helps with his dad’s 1,000-hog finishing operation. He wanted power (11,079 pounds of pushing power) and lifting capacity to do jobs his older, smaller skid steer couldn’t handle. He hadn’t heard of Wacker Neuson until he saw it at a local dealership. At 37, he was curious and interested in trying something different.
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“I am quite impressed,” Massmann says. “The tracks are my favorite part.”
With the tracks, he can drive on a 4-foot frozen bedpack to add more bedding for his steers – something he can’t do with his wheeled skid steer. It can also lift 2,400-pound pallets of lime, boxes of bean and corn seed, and liquid fertilizer totes.
The quick-attach makes it easier to change from a bucket to pallet forks, and Massmann bought a tree puller that can handle trees up to 8 inches in diameter.
“It gets used pretty much for everything,” he says.
Ryan notes that one of the biggest markets for the Wacker Neuson skid steer is agriculture. However, rental, construction, and landscape companies as well as municipal and utility workers are also buying into the brand for the warranty, quality, and competitive pricing.
About Wacker Neuson
Producers may be unfamiliar with Wacker Neuson skid and track loaders, but the name is well known by construction companies for soil and asphalt compaction equipment, concrete products, light towers, generators, wheel loaders, excavators, and dumpers. The name comes from the 2007 merger of Wacker Construction Equipment AG (Munich, Germany) and Neuson Kramer Baumaschinen AG (Linz, Austria). The Wacker Neuson Group is a global manufacturer of more than 300 products.
With North America as the largest market for skid steers, the company recognized an opportunity to create its own version at the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, facility.
“Wacker Neuson engineers took feedback from contractors and users in the region who regularly work with these machines and channeled these insights into the development of our loader line,” says Nathan Ryan, product manager. “In 2017, Wacker Neuson introduced a new line of medium-frame skid steer and compact track loaders that included an entirely new design. Four new skid steers and two new compact track loaders were developed from the ground up, offering the power and torque needed to lift more, push more, work longer, and maneuver through challenging jobsite obstacles.”
In early 2019, the company reintroduced its large-frame series loaders, using many of the design features of the medium-