When it comes to making pit silage, contractors know that it’s as important to have a good loader on the pit as it is to have a good harvester in the field.
Modern high-throughput agricultural contracting outfits need a wheel loader capable of shifting a large volume of grass.
Contractors will have varying preferences, whether it be power-to-weight ratio, four cylinders v six cylinders, and some might prefer a smaller nimble 10t machine over a 14t or 15t one.
In this article, we take a look at what loaders are available on the Irish market and how they stand up to one another on specification and price.
Imported and distributed in Ireland by ECI, JCB has three main offerings in the silage loader bracket for contractors, namely the 419s, the 427s and the larger 435s.
The British-built machines have been very popular in Ireland among farmers and contractors for many years.
The 230hp JCB 435s has a list price of €175,000 plus VAT.
The three agricultural contractor loader models mentioned above are all powered by 6.7l Cummins engines, have ZF transmissions and axles and Rexroth pumps.
Through the years, JCB has always been fond of producing a high power-to-weight-ratio machine, and based on current offering this fact has not changed.
JCB has been the market leader in sales of wheel loaders to Irish contractors for the past number of years.
Although still a relatively unheard of name in Ireland, Weycor has a strong history of manufacturing wheel loaders through the years under the Atlas Weycor name.
This 215hp Weycor AR250e wheel loader has a list price of €155,000 plus VAT.
First imported into Ireland last year by Seamus Vaughan Agri in Co Cork, the firm has confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that it has already sold one of the flagship models, the AR250e, which will be used for pushing silage.
The AR250e is powered by a 6.1l Deutz TCD engine.
This water-cooled six-cylinder in-line engine has a power output of 215hp and meets the latest Stage IV emission regulations. Weighing in at 13,900kg, this loader is fitted with Bosch Rexroth pumps.
Built in Italy, Venieri machines are imported to Ireland by McCarthy Plant and Agri in Co Cork.
The Veneiri 11.63B is the most common wheel loader in the range used for pushing silage in Ireland.
The loader is powered by a four-cylinder in-line turbocharged common rail engine capable of producing 164hp.
The 164hp Veneiri 11.63B has a list price of €125,000 plus VAT.
This 4.1l Deutz TCD engine is in accordance with the latest Stage IIIB/Tier4i emissions regulations.
The 11.63B is equipped with a hydrostatic transmission with automatic power regulation.
The transmission has three forward/reverse speeds with fully automatic gear shift and single-lever control. The loader has a maximum permissible weight of 13,450kg.
Case wheel loaders are imported and distributed in Ireland by Jim Macadam Equipment Ltd, based in Dublin.
The Case 721G is the model favoured by Irish contractors. This wheeled loader is powered by a six-cylinder 6.7l FPT engine that churns out a sizeable 195hp.
It is fitted with a five-speed transmission with lock-up torque converter that provides a travel speed of up to 40km/h.
The 195hp Case 721G is the model favoured by Irish contractors. It has a list price of €168,000 plus VAT.
The loader is equipped with heavy-duty ZF axles with differential lock and wet multiple-disc brakes. Maximum hydraulic oil flow is 206l/min. The wheel loader is four-wheel drive and weighs in at a hefty 15,450kg.
Widely used across the construction industry, the Komatsu brand established itself as a well-built capable silage loader back in the mid-2000s.
Imported and distributed in Ireland by McHale Plant Sales, Komatsu released its lasted model of the 320 loader last year, the WA320-8.
The Komatsu WA320-8 is powered by a turbocharged air-to-air after-cooled diesel engine, providing an output of 170hp. It has an operational weight of 15,500kg.
The 170hp Komatsu WA320-8 wheel loader would cost you €168,000 plus VAT.
The latest model has an extended engine oil service interval from 250 hours up to 500 hours.
An inching pedal allows the operator to take control of travel speed and hydraulic speeds, according to Komatsu.
By pressing the inching pedal, pump flow to the motors will decrease, reducing the ground speed and allowing the operator to use the accelerator to increase flow to the equipment hydraulics.
Claas first launched a range of wheel loaders suitable for agricultural contractors in Agritechnica back in 2017.
Since then, the first Irish sighting of these loaders was at the Grass & Muck event held at Gurteen College last May.
The 155hp Class 1410 wheel loader has a list price of €199,500.
The Torion is a collaboration with Liebherr, the German crane and loader giant. The range includes 10 models with load capacities from 3.45t up to 12.4t.
The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the 1410 model will be going on a demo tour around Ireland this summer. It is powered by a four-cylinder Deere Power Systems (DPS) engine capable of turning out 155hp.
This loader has a tipping load capacity of 9,100kg and an operating weight of 13,900kg. Its 40km/h VariPower hydrostatic transmission features three ranges: 0–6km/h, 0–16km/h and 0–40km/h.
Number-wise, the W170D is the most popular contractor-spec wheel loader that New Holland sell in Ireland.
New Holland introduced the updated W170D to the market back in March 2017. The wheel loader is powered from a six-cylinder 6.7l FPT engine capable of churning out 197hp.
The 197hp New Holland W170D wheel loader has a list price of €221,839.
This machine features a 45km/h Ecoshift five-speed powershift transmission, with a torque converter.
Other updates to the loader include larger 26in wheels. It’s also equipped with heavy-duty ZF axles. There is no shortage of weight either, with the loader tipping the scales at 14.8t. Maximum hydraulic oil flow is 206l/min.
Imported and distributed in Ireland by Pat O’Donnell, Volvo has established itself as a key player in the wheel loader market.
Irish agricultural contractors use models from the L60H right up to the larger L110H, with the L70H and the L90H being the most popular models in the range.
When it comes to Volvo, the 173hp L70H and the 186hp L90H are the preferred models by Irish contractors.
Volvo tends to use all of its own running gear such as engines, axles and transmissions.
The L60H, L70H and L90H would be similar machines, each using the Volvo D6J engine and the same Volvo transmission and axles.
The L110H is on a different level. It’s fitted with the larger Volvo D8J engine and a heavier duty drivetrain.
Doosan is well-known for manufacturing heavy duty wheel loaders for the construction and quarrying industry, but not for agriculture.
However, the firm has recently introduced a new series which is specifically designed for agriculture.
The DL280-5 is powered by a six-cylinder common rail Doosan DL06 engine.
Doosan will be introducing the 172hp ag spec DL280-5 into the Irish market this year. It has a list price of €145,000 plus VAT.
This 5.9l engine has a rated power of 172hp. This engine is Tier 4-compliant using DOC and SCR.
The wheel loader has a ZF automatic power-shift torque converter transmission.
This transmission is fitted with four gears and three drive modes. The loader has an operational weight of 15,682kg.
DGM machinery was set up by Damian and Diane Goff in 2014. DGM is an Irish-owned brand and registered trademark.
The company informed the Irish Farmers Journal that it outsources its manufacturing to two factories in China.
This 220hp DGM wheel loader on 750 ag tyres would cost €90,000 plus VAT.
Although there are none of these machines working on Irish silage pits up to now, Damien has confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that he has sold one to an agricultural contractor in Co Meath who will be using the machine for silage.
The silage-spec loader in question is an 18t machine powered by a six-cylinder 220hp Cummins engine and it has a four-speed ZF transmission.
Sitting on agricultural spec 750 tyres, this machine is very competitively priced at €90,000 plus VAT.
Once distributed through a dealer network, CAT machines are now solely distributed throughout Ireland by Finning. CAT’s answer to the Irish contractor’s needs is the 926M Agri.
This wheel loader is built by CAT using almost all of their own components including their own engine, axles and transmission.
The Cat 926M Ag Spec wheel loader would set you back €187,000 plus VAT.
The loader is powered by a 7.1l engine capable of turning out 166hp. Weighing in at 13,500kg, the loader is equipped with a four-speed transmission with a maximum road speed of 40km/h.