Machinery manufacturer Caterpillar may have more of a foothold in the construction industry than it does in agriculture, but it is seeking to change that with the introduction of the 918M wheeled loader.
This model is being showcased at events across the country this year, according to Agriland, and it is promising to give rival loaders from the likes of JCB and Komatsu a run for their money. And while this may not be the largest model in its range by a large margin, its compact size and power-to-weight ratio should help it to find a place on the farmyard for a range of handling tasks.
An Excellent Choice
Power is provided by a 4.4 litre engine that develops 115hp and has emissions-reducing technology built into the exhaust system to make it cleaner than some of its competitors. It should also be more efficient thanks to the automation engine shut-off setting that kicks in if it is left idling.
The two-speed hydrostatic gearbox offers a creep setting for precise management of engine speed, making it well suited to being combined with attachments of all sorts aside from the standard bucket. The booms benefit from an intelligent suspension system which accounts for the lumps and bumps that are encountered on rough terrain and help to keep the load level and steady at all times to prevent spillage of loose materials like silage.
With a maximum capacity of close to 5.7 tonnes, this is the kind of machinery that can be very useful for farmers and contractors alike, helping to deal with large volumes of material effectively in a short amount of time.
Furthermore, the 918M wheeled loader, along with its siblings, is built on a compact platform which makes it eminently manoeuvrable. So for squeezing through narrow gaps or carrying out turns in tight spaces, this machine should be an excellent choice.
Cutting-Edge Power Management System
Of course, farmers may prefer to opt for a telehandler over a wheeled loader, since the longer reach offered by the booms of agri-specific models like those made by JCB and John Deere may be preferable when compared with the fixed set-up adopted by Caterpillar's latest offering. There are also compelling options from Manitou and Merlo to consider, with a wheeled set-up being preferable to a tracked platform for use on the farm.
Achieving traction in slippery conditions should not be a problem for the 918M thanks to its cutting-edge power management system that lets the operator choose how much is being put through the wheels on the fly. This helps to minimise the likelihood of getting stuck while also increasing productivity, as less time need be wasted.
As well as considering new equipment, buyers in the UK have the option of investing in used Caterpillar farm machinery, along with products from all other major manufacturers. And since a wheeled loader, telehandler or any other machine can be an important investment, it pays to consider the available options carefully and make a choice that fits your requirements.