September 11, 2015

Hard Work or "Fowl" Play?

Before we accuse Donnie Farley of "fowl" play, let's get one thing straight: Poultry farming is hard work. Sure, it looks like he's having plenty of fun in his John Deere 320D Skid Steer Loader (he is). But cut him some slack.

Farley raises six flocks a year in his four broiler barns in Moulton, Alabama. That's over 700,000 chickens, many of which are destined to be Kentucky-fried by a national fast food chain. After the flock is taken away for slaughter, Farley works nonstop from dawn to dusk cleaning the broiler barns using his 320D. The barns are cramped and filled with feathers, dust, and poultry litter. And if you've ever visited a poultry farm, the first thing you probably noticed was the strong ammonia smell.

And when he's not raising chickens, he's tending to hundreds of cows and over 700 acres of pasture. Or driving the bus for the local elementary school.

But the spacious cab on the John Deere 320D Skid Steer Loader sure takes the sting out of a long day. The sealed, pressurized cab keeps out the debris, noise, and "fowl" smell of the broiler house. "I don't have to breathe that all the time, and that really helps me get through the day," Farley says. "The compact size of the machine is perfect for work in the confined spaces of the barn. Yet it's roomy and comfortable, and it's got plenty of power and hydraulics to handle anything we do. It's easy to get in and out of the machine, and you have excellent visibility. I opted for the air-suspension seat for an even more comfortable ride all day."

Big Fan of Reversing Option
The machine's hydraulically driven variable-speed fan runs only as fast or frequently as needed to increase fuel efficiency, while decreasing noise and debris collection on the coolers. Exclusive electronic injection further reduces fuel consumption and noise, while improving cold-start ability. Auto-idle also conserves fuel by reducing engine speed when the operator leaves his seat.

"Fuel efficiency is excellent on this machine," says Farley. "I can clean a house and a half without having to refuel. And these machines are always ready to go, even first thing in the morning. Hot or cold, just crank it up and go."

Farley is also a big fan of the exclusive fan option that reverses automatically every 20 minutes or at the click of a switch to clear dust and feathers. "You don't have to worry about the radiators and coolers getting flogged up. On other machines, you have to constantly stop and clean out debris. But the fan does this automatically at periodic intervals or as needed at the push of a button. You don't have to get out of the cab, and you never have to worry about the machine overheating."

Farley's farm is absolutely meticulous. The 320D helps him keep up on a long list of chores. Hooking up to a bale spear, bucket, or auger, he can load hay, move rock, dig postholes, and whatever else that needs to be done. "It's so versatile — by far the handiest machine you can have on a farm. There are just so many uses for it, I don't know how I could get by without one. It's got plenty of lift capability for its size — I can load 12-14 bales of hay in a matter of minutes."

With so much to do, he can't afford downtime. "We need our skid steer to run every day, and I'll tell you, it is probably the most dependable piece of equipment you can own. It's never given me a minutes' problem."

Farley has been using John Deere equipment for 30 years. "Deere really stands behind its equipment. If something does go wrong, I know I never have to wait to get a machine repaired, and parts are either in stock or mailed overnight. With this kind of service and support, I'm a customer for life.

"The skid steer is the perfect piece of equipment for my poultry operation. Anything I've asked it to do, it's done. And it's never given me any trouble about it."