Jump In and Go (2010)

December 17, 2009 10:42 AM

Nowadays you can put everything except the kitchen sink into your utility vehicle (UV). The popularity of these on-farm workhorses has grown, as well as the number of options offered.

Accessories, hydraulic dump beds and heavy-hauling load capacities have enhanced the appeal of UVs. The ability to carry multiple passengers, the latest trend in UVs, has only added to the list of tasks the vehicles can help accomplish.

The companies offering multiple-passenger UVs include: Bobcat, Case IH, Club Car, Kawasaki, Kubota, New Holland and Polaris.

The Farm Journal Test Plots have used a six-passenger Polaris Ranger 800 Crew for the past two years. The Test Plots headquarters is surrounded by 16 acres of demonstration plots for Farm Journal Corn College. The Ranger came to the aid of the plot crew many times as they planted, scouted and prepped the plots for the event.

"We used the vehicle a lot running back and forth across the demo plots and to and from the shop," says Isaac Ferrie, who works in the plots. "It was easy for all of us to jump in and have everything we needed right in the bed."

The plot crew spends a lot of their time soil testing. This requires many hours and long days on and off ATVs across field after field. In comparison to the ATVs, Ferrie says he and his co-workers appreciated the comfort of a UV, as well as being able to have people ride together.

The crew also loaded the Ranger on a trailer to take to fields at planting and to check weather station data loggers posted in the field. "We carried everything from seed bags to starter additives to field flags," Ferrie says.

Plenty of jobs to do. UVs have been able to carve out a niche for themselves between farm trucks and ATVs.

"Instead of jumping in trucks, farmers are jumping in utility vehicles," says John Monteleone, a salesman with Lamb & Webster, a farm equipment dealership in North Java, N.Y. "In some cases, utility vehicles can be more practical than ATVs. The price between the largest ATV and smallest utility vehicle is narrowing, and it just depends on what chores you are doing to best fit a farmer to the vehicle type."

Monteleone's dealership carries Kubota's line of UVs, including the unique Kubota 1140CPX. This UV can transform from a two-passenger to four-passenger vehicle, and the dump bed functions in either position.

"Half of the utility vehicles I sell are going to be used on farms for everything from feeding calves to checking fence to hauling logs," Monteleone says. "Being able to switch the vehicle's configuration has been an attention-grabber in our showroom. It appeals to a lot of people."

Pam Campbell, who runs a 125-head dairy with her daughters and son-in-law near North Java, bought a 1140CPX from Lamb & Webster. "The only thing we haven't done with it has been go to town," she jokes. "I didn't think we would use it this much, but we use it for taking milk to the calf barn, going to the maple syrup trees along the back of the property, checking fence and taking hay to the horses."

Campbell added a rearview mirror and auxiliary lights on the back of the vehicle. She adds that the only other thing she could ask from the UV is for it to have a clock.

Some side-by-side UVs can be driven on public roads. Check state and county laws for operation regulations.

As UVs are asked to do more and more on the farm, manufacturers will find a way to meet the growing demand for these versatile workhorses. 

Who Has Room for Your Crew?

These models of utility vehicles boast room for at least four passengers:

  • Bobcat 2200S
  • Case IH Scout
  • Club Car XRT1550SE
  • Kawasaki Mule 4010 Trans4x4
  • Kubota RTV1140CPX
  • New Holland Rustler
  • Polaris Ranger 800 Crew

You can e-mail Margy Fischer at mfischer@farmjournal.com.

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