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“Best Buy” Mini Excavator Ideal For Small Farms
“My 46 hp Kubota Mini Excavator is way more versatile than a tractor fitted with a loader and backhoe,” says New Hampshire resident Steve Cunningham. “The 360 degree swing system lets me pile rocks, trees and dirt to one side of the machine or the other, or even completely behind me, without moving. A tractor backhoe has limited swing range, and it always takes time to lift the outriggers and reset the machine to excavate another area. When I have to move I just edge up a few feet on the tracks and keep on working.”
  Cunningham bought his used KX161-3 Kubota when it was a year old. He uses it to move rocks, smooth his quarter mile-long driveway, uproot trees and stumps in his woods when cutting timber, and to work on landscape jobs around his yard.
  “My wife actually suggested we look into one of these when she saw all the trouble I was having with the tractor and backhoe,” says Cunningham. “We found this one with 500 hrs. on it and I couldn’t be happier.”
  His machine has a 46 hp diesel engine and is 18 ft. long and 8 ft. wide. It weighs about 11,500 lbs. and has 16-in. wide steel tracks. It can pick up a 2-ton rock. The excavator arm will dig a hole 12 ft. deep in a 20-ft. radius and deposit dirt or gravel in a pile more than 16 ft. high. The bucket Cunningham has on the machine is about 2 ft. square. The machine also has a 6 1/2-ft. wide dirt blade.
  “The machine doesn’t have a cab, but it does have rollbars and a protective roof, which I like,” says Cunningham. “I only use it during warm weather months, so a cab isn’t necessary. I built a tool carrier on the back of the cab that’s 5 ft. wide, 8 in. deep and 18 in. across so I can carry saws, picks and shovels into the woods,” says Cunningham.
  Other machine features are functional and operator friendly. Cunningham says
“There’s a hydraulic override so a person can’t lift or pull too much and damage the machine. If I’m trying to dig harder than the machine will take, it will go into bypass, so a person can’t hurt it. The machine hydraulics are calculated for that workload, which works great on stumps and rocks. My neighbor doesn’t have that on his backhoe and he ripped apart the lift arm trying to move a rock that was too large for his machine.”
  Cunningham also likes the automatic idling system. It lowers the engine speed if hydraulics aren’t used for 30 seconds, and automatically increases rpms when hydraulics are activated again. In the past year Cunningham has used the machine to smooth a new road in his woods, install hydronic water and irrigation lines and grade and smooth his driveway. Best of all, jobs his wife suggests are much easier, too.
“I built a gazebo roof on the ground, where it was easy to get at, and used the excavator arm as a construction crane to set the roof on top of the walls,” says Cunningham. “I also used the bucket to position 100-lb. rocks in a walkway on our terraced garden, something that I never could’ve done with the backhoe. All in all, the machine is a great addition to our place.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Steve Cunningham, 351 Old Springfield Rd., Sunapee, N.H. 03782 (ph 603 763-4359)

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6