Posted on Dec 18, 2020
In warmer weather, your skid loader is king of handling muddy conditions and awkward spaces, but how can you utilize this equipment when that mud is wetter than ever, gets as cold as asphalt, or when you’re in need of some kind of snow-clearing assistance? You don’t need to go out and purchase or rent additional machines for your fleet to handle these jobs. These small, wheeled task-masters can tackle winter chores with just a few helpful tools and accessories if you’re living and working in the colder parts of the country.
Get Better Traction
Regular skid tires are designed for mud and soft conditions. Hard surfaces, like snowy pavement or once soft ground that’s now frozen can be problematic as your tires are likely to spin out while trying to grip the surface beneath. The two options you have here, depending on your geographic area and needs, are either to opt for a winter set of tires made for better gripping and pressure distribution in these conditions, or to get some steel tracks to go over your tires if you’re battling more wet than cold conditions. Better traction means you can take on snow management tasks or if you’re in southern areas, continue working through your chore list without getting stuck.
Gear to Push Through Snow
Need to clear moderate snowfall or move an inconveniently located mound? There’s a host of skid steer attachments in this category. There are snow-specific pushers but you can also rely on some of your existing equipment if you happen to have it already, like utility and v-blades. There’s a strong argument for a skid steer snow pusher with a pullback edge like those specially designed by John Deere if you have a lot of obstacles to work around. Otherwise, utility and v-blades provide you with the ability to push cold weather material out of the way when you have a little more freedom of space. Blades that can be angled to the right and left, with trip springs and adjustable skid-shoes are best as they’ll protect riders and their equipment. If you’re doing a lot of concrete surface work also consider adding rubber edges to minimize surface disruption and potential blade damage.
Heavy Duty Snow Removal
For the heaviest duty jobs where you need to move a lot of snow quickly and regularly, you can arm yourself with a skid steer snow blower. If you’re between a pusher and a snow blower, take into account how often and how much precipitation you usually get in your area as well as what kind of underfoot conditions you’re dealing with. For instance, lake effect snow can be wet and heavy, meaning you’ll need a heavier duty blower that’ll require more horsepower to pick up and throw the snow. Or when thinking about pushers, consider what’s under the snow. If angled too low and without guards installed, this equipment can easily grab gravel and a layer of dirt underneath along with the snow. Repeating this multiple times in one season may result in some undesirable material transportation and more work later on.
When it comes to maximizing winter productivity, we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of winterizing your skid loader on your own or by contacting your local dealership to schedule a service. Doing so can help ensure that all your parts are working as they should be. Doing things like double checking that your tires are at their optimal level will not only protect your equipment from damage and help extend tire life but can also increase productivity and efficiency, allowing you to deliver the power where you need to. Have a question or need to contact the service department? Locate the Ag-Pro showroom that’s nearest you.