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Since introducing our 440 Skidder in 1965, we've listened intently to loggers like you to tell us how to make your tough job easier. Today, that same customer-inspired commitment to quality lives on in the game-changing productivity and durability of the new L-Series Skidders. Explore the history of John Deere Forestry Skidders and then learn more about the new game-changing L-Series.


19651965 John Deere enters the game with the 440 Cable Skidder, boasting 59 HP and more operator comfort for better safety and productivity.

19661966 440A Skidder delivers an additional 15 HP and offers an optional Powershift transmission. Wrap-around canopy and operator station enhance comfort and safety.

19681968 New 540 features a six cylinder 94 HP engine and standard Powershift transmission with clutchless shifting. Improved ground clearance and up to 30 degrees of front-axle oscillation means a smoother ride and more stability.


19711971 540A launches with optional Deere grapple and canted-tube radiator, which improves cooling and resists clogging. Stronger frame and powertrain improve safety and productivity. Canopy on new 440B reduces vibration and noise to improve operator comfort.

19731973 At 145 HP, the 740 becomes Deere's biggest skidder to date. New blade and winch options along with a best-in-class grapple increase productivity.

19751975 640 introduced with 110 HP engine with altitude-compensating turbocharger. New winch delivers an impressive 33,000 lbs of bare-drum line-pull for handling large loads. Automotive-style steering provides a full 80 degrees of articulation. Standard ROPS canopy with brush screens and limb risers protect the operator.

19761976 Stronger frame and larger winch drum on new 540B increase cable life. Durable box-constructed grapple on 440C keeps constant hydraulic pressure on load for steady grip, regardless of terrain or load shift.


19831983 D-Series Introduction: New 7420 dual-function grapple with 120-inch opening makes the 640 well suited for work with extra-large bunches. Larger clutch and thicker radiator improve reliability and longevity. New oscillation damper keeps the grapple under control during transport.

19831983 New model numbers (340,440,448D) distinguish between cable and grapple skidder models. Drivetrain efficiency improvements – over 92% through four gears – increase fuel economy. New oscillation damper stabilizes the grapple, while better bearings increase durability.

19841984 540, 548, 640, 648D introduced, with new cab, lighting, bumper, and cold weather options. Torque converter eliminated to increase efficiency, while direct injection improves fuel economy. Twenty-two percent torque rise provides extra lugging power.


19911991 E-Series Launch: While others are content to level the playing field, Deere continues to change the game. Sealed, isolation-mounted operators' station reduces engine noise and heat. Electronic monitor provides info on vital machine functions. Wider wheel base increases machine stability. Load- and speed-sensing power steering delivers quick response, while 90 degrees of articulation improves maneuverability.

19951995 G-Series Introduction: Wider stances and longer wheelbases ensure unmatched stability. New differential lock switch can be engaged on the go. New grapple with individual tong cylinders provides up to 50% more clamping force. All G-series grapples provide continuous 360 degree rotation. Closed center hydraulics provide quick response and secure clamping force.

Operator station tilts to allow easy access to drive train.


20012001 848G is launched, becoming Deere's biggest model with over 200 peak HP. Improved operator station and fuel capacity allow the operator to run longer with less fatigue.
2005 Deere switches from yellow to green skidders.

20082008 H-Series Introduction: 6.8L Tier3 engines with Auto Shift reduce emissions and increase productivity. Automatic load detection adjusts and maintains the grapple's clamping force if a load is jarred.


20152015 L-Series Introduction: Deere once again changes the game. Heavy-duty axles extend life up to 15,000 hours. Easy-to-use Continuous Variable Transmission delivers more power to the ground and longer engine life. Cycle times of the boom, arch, and grapple are up to 40% faster. Largest grapple is 25% larger.


Explore the L-Series Skidders


Watch the Skidder 50th Anniversary Video

Celebrating 50 Years of Skidders

A look back at the history of John Deere Skidders and a look forward to the future.

Watch the Skidder 50th Anniversary Video