Over the course of recent years, we have noted a number of smaller skid-steer-like mini loaders appearing on the Irish market. Such machines are currently used in sectors including construction, landscaping and equine, but have the potential to play a role on farms such as those with sheds with limited access that may be used for calving cows, rearing calves or lambing ewes. SME Plant Sales in Meath recently gave us an Italian manufactured Cast Worky Quad SSQ15D mini skid-steer loader to put it through its paces.

Who is the Cast Group?

The Cast Group is based in Venice in Italy. It has been manufacturing mini skid-steer loaders (five models), such as the one featured, and articulated mini-loaders (12 models) for two decades. Cast first entered Ireland in mid-2018 through the newly appointed Irish importer SME Plant Sales. SME has the agency for the 32 counties and is actively looking for more dealers throughout the country.


From the get-go, the build quality and high standard of components used in the manufacture of the machine is evident. The unit features a stylish design, with all components well protected under the grills.

Cast uses a two-cylinder Kubota Z602 diesel-fuelled engine in the SSQ15D. Petrol-powered equivalents using Honda engines and an electric version are also available.

This particular model paired with the Kubota locomotive has 14.8hp on tap. This engine sources fuel from a 25l diesel tank. The unit proved to be very fuel efficient, with a full tank lasting in the region of seven hours of stop-start work.

The SSQ15D is hydraulically driven using a Casappa-sourced pump. The unit features just the one hydraulic pump, which has a flow rate of 25l/min. This pump is in charge of powering both the Poclain wheel motors and the loader’s linkage. The machine has one forward speed (up to approximately 5.5km/h).

The fact that the unit has just the one pump means that when driving forward and using the loader’s linkage at the same time, it will put a drain on the pump, which can be observed. This 25l/min pump was ample for using the grab, which was the only attachment with a hydraulic requirement we used.

However, SME says that up to 200 attachments are available. Those attachments with a greater hydraulic requirement could put a strain on its flow rate.

As standard, the machine is shod on 23x8.50-12 tyres. A range of other tyre options can be fitted if required. SME has said that Cast is not currently offering tracks on its mini skid-steer loaders, but is actively looking at the concept.

We used the machine for a range of tasks, including cleaning out calving areas. While pushing and collecting dung with the grab, it performed well, but would quickly reach its limitation if too much material built up in front.

Although it’s a very compact piece of kit (74cm wide x 153cm long), the unit is also surprisingly sturdy. This is thanks to its operating weight of 684kg and low 15cm ground clearance.


The SSQ15 encompasses a very simple, straightforward control layout. The five main machine controls are conveniently located directly in front of the operator, underneath the handle bars.

The second handle on the right controls the two right-hand wheel motors, while the second handle to the left controls the two left-hand wheel motors. Operating the machine is as simple as pressing these handles simultaneously forward to drive the machine forwards or vice versa to go backwards. This means the unit drives and steers as a skid steer.

The handle on the very left is used to operate the up and down movement of the front-end loader linkage.

Meanwhile, moving the handle on the immediate right-hand side will tilt the loader linkage.

The central handle is used to power the hydraulic auxiliary for the attachment. Hydraulic attachments are married up through double-acting quick-attach auxiliary couplings.

Other instruments on the control panel include the accelerator switch, switches for the horn and optional lights, the odometer and warning lights for the battery, low oil level, temperature, diesel and glow plug.

Lift capacity

When fitted with the ballast weights, SME says the SSQ15D featured is certified to lift 380kg. In most applications where this machine will be used, this should suffice. Despite its compact size, the unit has a lifting height to the bottom of the headstock of over 2m (2,050mm).

The big advantage to this machine is how nimble and agile it is. You can literally turn the machine on the spot.

The unit really comes into its own in restricted environments.

Whether this be cleaning out sheds that traditionally only a wheel barrow went in or out of, cleaning stables or pushing silage in centre passageways, this unit is certainly one solution to reducing the physical workload on farms.


The SSQ15D featured with a set of pallet forks will set you back €16,500 plus VAT. Petrol-powered units start at €13,000 plus VAT, while Cast now also builds a battery-powered unit which is priced at €18,000 plus VAT. A more cost-effective version for those interested in the services of such a machine may be to hire the unit. Meath-based SME charges a weekly hire rate of €250 plus VAT which includes a number of implements.


The control layout is self-explanatory and easy to follow. The usability of the machine is very good, once you get a feel for it. However, at the start, it can be very jumpy.

The machine has one forward speed, although some people may prefer the option of a second forward speed.

The 25l/min pump was ample for using the grab. However, other hydraulically powered attachments such as a sweeper or an augur drill would be much more power-hungry and would really test the machine’s hydraulic capacity.

The unit features a stylish design, with all components well protected under the hood.

The machine features a well-positioned deadman kill switch. A lead to an exterior positive and negative battery access near the kill switch would be handy if you ever get a flat battery, as the battery is positioned underneath the loader linkage. SME have said a sawdust/lime dispenser will be soon available as an optional attachment. This would make the machine more appealing to those in the dairy sector, and one worth considering if in the market for a cubicle sweeper/dispenser.

Overall, the build quality, the componentry and power could not be faulted.

The only area where the machine could lack punch is with power-hungry hydraulic components, but this only comes into play with limited applications.

As with all new equipment nowadays, the units are quite pricy. However, the option of weekly hire may interest some people, making the machine much more accessible.


  • Ability to turn on the spot.
  • Simple controls.
  • Build quality.
  • Top dislikes

  • Quite jumpy initially.
  • Would like a little more hydraulic capacity.
  • SSQ15D spec
  • Engine: two-cylinder Kubota Z602 14.8hp.
  • Drive system: hydrostatic 4WD wheel motors.
  • Hydraulics: 25l/min.
  • Steering: skid steering.
  • Start up: electric.
  • Fuel: diesel.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 25 litres.
  • Standard tyres: 23x8.50-12.
  • Kerb weight: 684kg.
  • Price as tested: €16,500 plus VAT.