Growing potatoes and cereals for more than 100 years in Rush and the surrounding areas of north Co Dublin, the farming family behind the business that is Paud Flynn and Sons are well known growers and packers of Queens, Kerr’s Pink and Roosters.

In 2020, one of the farm’s JCB side boom telehandlers was replaced with a Kramer KL55.8T telescopic wheeled loader, a relatively new machine to the market at the time.

Now amid the fifth and sixth generation, the business comprises five brothers (Gerry, Vincent, Laurence, Paul and Fergal) and their sons (Eric, Padraig, Niall and Cathal).

Alongside farming circa 2,000 acres, the family carry out contract work which includes baling large square bales of straw, the majority of which goes for composting. The family also operate a logistics business.

Loaders play an integral role on the farm from day to day. Whether it’s handling potato boxes, stacking or loading straw or shifting over 2,000t of grain numerous times right through from drying to loading grain stores or trucks, more than one machine is needed. Alongside the Kramer, three JCB Loadalls are used on the farm which include one 535-70 and two 530-70s.

Fixed chassis

For some time, the Flynns had been on the lookout for an alternative to a side-boom telehandler, a machine that offered more breakout force and a higher central driving position with greater visibility, yet able to pull a flatbed trailer at ease.

“Having been used to the four-wheel steer concept and stability of the rigid chassis, we were reluctant to move to a telescopic pivot steer. Wheel loaders in the same power category with Z-bar or parallel lift linkages didn’t offer enough lift height either,” Niall said.

“The Kramer brand got our attention having been in and out of the Meath Farm Machinery, the local dealer. Having not seen a suitable alternative we almost had our minds made up on buying a KT557 side boom telehandler after a demo. We got talking to the Irish Kramer rep who informed us of a new model that was coming. Called the KL55.8T, it was essentially a telescopic version of the KL60.8. So, we demonstrated the KL60.8 given its similarities, knowing it hadn’t enough reach. It impressed us in every other aspect.”

“Fairly sure the KL55.8T would tick all the boxes and with none in Ireland, Kramer took us to the factory in Pfullendorf, Germany, to see the machine in the flesh and view the build process. The attention to detail in the factory was impressive. We got to spend some time with the KL55.8T. It was practically what we said we wanted in a loader,” Niall explained.

The KL55.8T is fitted with a heavy duty pickup hitch along with two double acting and one single acting spool valves.

There and then the Flynns struck a deal with Meath Farm Machinery to secure Ireland’s first and one of Europe’s first KL55.8Ts. As part of the deal the loader arrived full spec and sporting a stealthy black livery instead of the Kramer green colour.


The KL55.8T is fitted with a 4.1l four-cylinder Deutz power unit which produces 134hp as standard or 156hp if optioned. The Flynns’ loader is fitted with the latter. The large cooling pack and reversible fan are two good features, according to Niall: “The temperature gauge never moves even while working hard in the dust during the heat wave this harvest past. The engine bay is spacious too from a service aspect.”

The loader is fitted with a large cooling pack and reversible fan.

Both the diesel and AdBlue tanks are positioned to the right hand side of the machine and hold respective volumes of 140l and 12l.

The Flynns are impressed with power and fuel economy, noting how the only time consumption noticeably increases travelling the road pulling a trailer, which they feel is to be expected.


Having come from the JCB torque convertor transmission, Niall said the hydrostatic unit required a complete new driving mindset. The KL55.8T is fitted with a GKN sourced unit, named the ecospeed Pro by Kramer. It features three working ranges, low 0-10km/h, medium 0-20km/h and high 0-40km/h. Inside the cab it benefits from the low speed control and hand throttle option, allowing the operator to set a constant engine rpm independent of forward speed or vice versa.

During the spring and winter sowing the loader is used to pull seed from field to field and load the drill.

Niall said: “We all found not having a left-hand shuttle the biggest change to overcome. But once used to directional changes on the joystick, they’re effortless. It’s responsive, smooth and quite quiet too on the road. However, it might be a bit sluggish when facing a hill or pulling a loaded trailer which we find typical with any hydrostatic machine. Then again it’s easy to forget that it weighs 11,170kg.”

With four-wheel, two-wheel and crab steering modes, two-wheel steering has to be engaged to reach max speed during transport. Engine rpm is reduced to 1,550rpm once 40km/h is reached. Kramer use Cararro axles with 100% locking front and rear differentials. The loader is fitted with the yard-orientated 540/70 r24 Michelin Bibload tyres, providing it spends most of the time on concrete bar the odd days in spring and autumn when it’s on drill loading duties.


Being the larger 156hp variant, it is fitted with the optional 187/min load-sensing hydraulic pump. Hydraulic performance is where the loader really shines according to Niall: “It has serious tear-out force. Even just at idle it has the ability to tilt back a 3m3 bucket of grain.

“For jobs such as loading the drier, the return to dig function works well. It automatically returns the bucket to the set position every time. The parallel lift and auto boom retraction can be switched on or off depending on the application.”

The Flynns retrofitted a camera to the boom to see into truck trailers.

Boom suspension can also be set to engage or disengage automatically based on a set forward speed. All in all, the KL55.8T has a maximum lift height of 5.4m and maximum tipping load of 5,500kg which unlike its pivot steer competitors is at all steering angles.

Wanting to tow trailers, the Flynns had the machine specified with a pickup hitch alongside one single and two double-acting services and trailer brake valve.


Niall said: “The high seating position provides good visibility in all directions. The boom pivot is nice and low too. However, it’s not without a few minor blind spots. When using pallet forks it can be hard to see the position of the actual fork once the boom is lowered.

The cab is a spacious environment.

“We fitted a camera on the end of the boom to see into trucks when loading grain – this would have been a nice option integrated from the factory. However, an automatic rear view camera is fitted as standard. Space or comfort isn’t an issue either. All controls are well positioned with all machine presets and settings easily accessed through on the 7in screen.”

All controls are well laid out and at the operators fingertips.

Being a full-spec machine, it is equipped with the full LED worklight kit and an auto greaser meaning all pins and pivots are always routinely greased, two excellent features Niall pointed out.

With shy of 900 hours clocked up since taking delivery, it’s evident the Flynns are well chuffed with the KL55.8T.

“It’s effectively a hybrid between a wheel loader and telehandler that suits our needs perfectly. We always liked the rigid four-wheel steering concept for stability, especially when towing. Whether it’s stacking bales, loading the drier or trucks, it’s hard to fault its performance. It’s weighty at 11,170kg but build quality is top class.

Niall and Padriag Flynn

“A standard service is significantly cheaper than what our other machines are costing. We run over 10 John Deere tractors and two John Deere combines which are supplied and serviced up by Meath Farm Machinery. It’s a big benefit too that we can work with just the one dealer.

“There are a few small things like a left-hand shuttle, rear reversing sensors and a boom-mounted camera that would make nice factory extras but they’re only minor bits and pieces. So far, we’d have no reason not to buy another Kramer,” Niall said.

Engine: 4.1l four-cylinder Stage V Deutz.

Horsepower: 156hp.

Transmission: Three speed hydrostatic transmission.

Travel speed: 40km/h.

Hydraulics: 187l/min.

Max lift height: 5.4m.

Max lift capacity: 3,900kg.

Fuel tank capacity: 140l.

AdBlue tank capacity: 12l.

Weight: 11,170kg.

List price: €205,430 plus VAT.