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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was about to buy a Bobcat but a sales guy mentioned buying a tractor with a front end loader with forks, minus the loader bucket. He says for half the price you can get something that can be used not just for moving bees.

My question is this, I dont see anyone in the bee business with a tractor with front forks, is this a bad decision?

Dixon Apiaries
 

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DO NOT USE A TRACTOR! You can't see the forks as easy-you'll end up crashing into hives and wrecking boxes/pallets. You hit a bump and there is more leverage to throw your hives. You can't turn as good. Tractors are for field work and gardening. A bobcat with 5th wheel and mast or a swinger/hummerbee w/mast is for bee work.
 

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My mentor had a tractor with front forks and rear fork mast for using in loading hives for his 28 hive almond contract. Seemed to work pretty well to me, carried a pallet on front and another on back to set in orchard while I unstrapped and smoked the next set.

He retired and sold the tractor to me, and it's been being used to clear brush and make drive ways and level ground. Oh, it was great help in setting new well tank too!

So yes, a tractor might be more versatile, but I'm not one to say as I've never used a bobcat.
 

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I've seen it done - loading/ unloading a semi with a tractor - but I tell ya - that guy was good!! Not just anyone could do that with a tractor + I was surprised at how much HP it too for that tractor to be really stable. I've ran a tractor all my life, but doubt I'd be much good on one unloading a semi, but I can help out with a bobcat + I bet I can buy 3 bobcats for the price of one tractor big enough and solid enough to be really useful with a big bee semi.
 

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When a tractor tips over usually it throws the driver down on the ground first then falls on top of him.
Good point! If you do get a tractor, be sure it has a good rollbar and seatbelts - I can not count the number of rollover tractor accidents around here in the last 25 years. Bet I can not turn our little bobcat over if I tried.... well maybe tip it.
 

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Tom G. thats what ROPS and seat belts are for, :) Harry Vanderpool has a nice set up with a tractor and he can till his garden when needed, try that with a bobcat...
 

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and he can till his garden when needed, try that with a bobcat...
I have worn out my first Bobcat rototiller and am well into my second. This is the old one on the block.

 

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I was lucky enough to use the demo Swinger 1K for three week this spring, and this is the next forklift I'm going to buy. I own two old swingers and a new Hummerbee turbo, and I'll tell you the new Swinger is real nice! Plus, they are making an air-conditioned cab for it. Next year I'll own one.
 

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A skidder is a real versitle machine. It turns on a dime, and moves bees very well. But, it can be real choppy, and cuts up a yard . I never used a swinger, but I am told they are nice. My neighbour choose a swinger over a skidder. I chose a skidder over a swinger. We use the skidder for many other non beekeeping jobs
 

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Hey John give a shout out if you are going to sell one of your older swingers.
 

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I didn't know they made one for beekeepers, I was just thinking about a regular one. I'm told they get good traction and are very maneuverable. I have been looking a Princetons and Moffetts. This video is impressive though, red lights, high back stop, white steering wheel, pretty dang cool. I wonder how they are on soft ground...
 

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I know that they are 3 wheel drive. So would guess that they are ok. The only thing I really dont like is that there are too many controls. Its hard to multi task, which makes them slow.
 

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Comparing the specs to a hummer the Donkey is about 1300 lbs. lighter which is good, I guess. The one thing that I wouldnt like, though, is that the Donkey is over 2 feet wider, I know that would be a problem at times in our operation. I assume it mounts on the back of a truck though they didnt show that in their video.
 

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it would take me all day to get anything done with the donkey loader. good thing they were loading on smooth level ground. 99% of the time bee yards are either rough or on uneven ground.
 
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