It’s summer in Minnesota. Warm weather rejuvenates a spirit of play in all of us – from fishing and watersports to golf and backyard barbeques with friends and family. Yes, Minnesota summers are as enjoyable as they are short-lived.
|“We even had rubber and metal tracks on the skid steers and the Cat MTL was still getting more work done faster than the two skid steers could combined,” Rowe says.
For many green industry professionals, like Jeff Rowe, President of Hydro Seeding Creations, warm summer weather brings abundant work and an abundance of unpredictably rainy weather and time constraints.
The Challenge: Racing the Clock
Ramsey, MN-based Hydro Seeding Creations Inc. has specialized in hydroseeding since 1999. The company prides itself on providing accurate bids and quality work in a timely manner, typically one acre to one-and-a-half acre seeding jobs for residential and commercial properties.
“With hydroseeding, it’s important to complete the job – soil prep to finish grading and hand raking to seed application – in one day,” Rowe says. “Timing is critical; if prepped soil gets rained on, we have to regrade it before applying the hydroseed mixture.”
In 2003, Rowe approached each job with a FINN® T120 hydroseeder, two Bobcat skid steer loaders, and a crew of four people. Despite machine and manpower resources, his crew was working well into the evening on typical jobs, as late as 9:00 p.m., a day-after-day race with the clock.
“Something was missing on the prep side of every job,” Rowe says. “The skid steers I was using couldn’t keep up with the hydroseeder I was using.”
Long, laborious hours threatened Hydro Seeding Creations’ full job schedule. Knowing the right compact machine could maximize jobsite productivity, Rowe began evaluating equipment that could meet the challenge and the needs of his crews.
The Solution: Impressive Results, Proven Efficiency
Rowe was interested in a new breed of rubber-tracked equipment, which emerged in the late 90s and was steadily gaining popularity throughout the green industry. Tracked loaders feature ground speed, traction and floatation required in green applications, and lower ground pressure undercarriages (tracks), greatly reducing damage to delicate turf and other surfaces.
“I tried a couple tracked machines, including a Bobcat, ASV and Cat, and talked to people who ran them,” Rowe says. “Everyone complained about how rough the ride was with the Bobcat – a big downfall. ASV had a suspended undercarriage but the power and balance was no comparison to the Cat 247 multi terrain loader (the latest model available in 2003). The 247 was the only other machine out there with a suspended track system, so I talked with Ziegler and got an on-site test drive.”
Rowe didn’t just test drive the 247 multi terrain loader (MTL), he ran the machine through the paces of a full work day, side-by-side with his two skid steers. The results were impressive.
“We even had rubber and metal tracks on the skid steers and the Cat MTL was still getting more work done faster than the two skid steers could combined,” Rowe says. “The MTL proved itself that day – it proved it was more efficient. I was impressed with the lower ground pressure and great traction, not just up and down hills but with it’s general pushing power, too. We added the 247 to our crew that August.”
It All Adds Up to Less…And It Adds Up Fast!
The adage “less is more” doesn’t apply to a lot of things, but in the case of Hydro Seeding Creations, one Cat 247 MTL replaced two skid steers and two trailers, and Rowe also decreased his crew to three people instead of four. And more importantly, with the 247 Rowe’s crew was completing jobs faster.
“I can bid out a job and provide my customers an accurate completion time – one day,” Rowe says. “Jobs are completed on time, every time and that makes customers happy.”
He adds, “After two years with the 247, we upgraded to the Cat 247B three weeks ago, and it’s one well-built, quality machine. It’s about speed and efficiency: the 247B enables us to get our jobs done with less manpower and in about four hours less per acre now than when we ran the two skid steers – and those four hours add up fast.”
Multi Terrain Loader Product Information