Utility Vehicles and Loaders

These utility vehicles and loaders can help out with a variety of tasks around the farm.

| April/May 2006

John Deere Gator

The John Deere Gator is the best-known vehicle in the utility vehicle class and will appeal to farmers who favor John Deere.


Before you decide to buy a traditional tractor, you may want to consider a couple of unconventional options.

When we say “unconventional,” we mean it. These vehicles are so new there aren’t even words in common usage to describe them or what they do. However, that doesn’t mean these vehicles are untested. They’ve been used extensively in commercial industries such as landscaping and construction for years, and their dependability is indisputable. But they are new in the small-farm market, and we’re not entirely sure what to call them. So for lack of a more definitive name, we’ll refer to them as utility vehicles (UTVs) and loaders.


Based on the ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) platform, these handy four-wheel- and six-wheel-drive “utility vehicles” combine the mobility, durability and speed of an off-road vehicle with utility features such as dump-beds, winches, trailer hitches and even hydraulic attachments.

The John Deere Gator (see photo in the Image Gallery) is the best-known vehicle in this class and will appeal to farmers who favor John Deere. Many manufacturers make versions equipped to move small payloads on rough terrain with a minimum of fuss.

The new invention from Bobcat takes the utility vehicle to a higher level, however. The ToolCat (see photo in the Image Gallery) features a top speed of 18 mph, all-wheel steering, a front-end hydraulic lift capable of hoisting 1,500 pounds and an 18-cubic-foot dump bed with a 2,000-pound load capacity. Attachments include snow blowers, mowers, augers, grapples, grader blades and many others. We predict that some small farms eventually will do without a tractor and instead depend on a UTV such as the ToolCat.


Not to be confused with “front-end loaders,” these small, eminently maneuverable machines are based on “skid-steering”— this means they turn and pivot by controlling the rotational speed and direction of the loader’s wheels or tracks. These skid-steer loaders are specially adapted for farm chores with a full range of hydraulic attachments and are available in a wide spectrum of power ranges.

3/21/2015 8:24:08 PM

I am looking to buy an UTV for our farm. We have a small tractor, but the terrain is sloped and rocky. Can anyone help with recommendations and price ranges.

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