SDLGs Help M&M Dairy Keep Cow Stalls Clean, Comfortable

Tue April 29, 2014 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

The SDLG 959 loader’s engine, manufactured by Volvo, specifically for SDLG meets Tier III standards and is characterized by low noise, low emission, low fuel consumption, reliable performance and strong power.
The SDLG 959 loader’s engine, manufactured by Volvo, specifically for SDLG meets Tier III standards and is characterized by low noise, low emission, low fuel consumption, reliable performance and strong power.
The SDLG 959 loader’s engine, manufactured by Volvo, specifically for SDLG meets Tier III standards and is characterized by low noise, low emission, low fuel consumption, reliable performance and strong power. The SDLG 959 loader with a 4 cu. yd. (3.1 cu m) works for M&M Dairy for many reasons, including joy stick controls for ease of operation. (L-R): Jeff Maness, owner of M&M Dairy; Robert Mitchell, operator of the SDLG loader; Mark Nelson, ASC Construction Equipment; and Christina Clark, SDLG product specialist of ASC Construction Equipment talk about the benefits of the SDLG loader. M&M Dairy has about 1,700 cows that need to be milked three times a day every day, with a total herd numbering about 3,000 animals. The operator of the SDLG loader moves the screened river sand.


For Jeff Maness, the choice was simple.

He needed a tough and reliable machine to help him move bedding sand for the cows on his 2,500 acres of farmland near Statesville, N.C.

He researched various front loaders before he decided to go with a relatively new product backed by a trusted name.

Last December, Maness finally went with an SDLG959 wheel loader that he purchased from ASC Construction Equipment USA Inc. in Charlotte, N.C.

The Chinese-built loader was developed in a joint operation between Volvo and SDLG and rolled out to the North American market only last summer. It integrates the characteristics of reliability, comfort and energy savings into one tough machine.

Maness has seen all of that in the short time that he has had the loader.

By mid-February he had racked up 367 hours of use from the machine, despite the harsh winter and bitterly cold mornings — the LG959 proved to be a reliable piece of equipment every day.

When Maness was in the market for a new loader, he was looking for a simple, uncomplicated machine that would not have a lot of downtime.

“The great thing about this loader is that it is a basic machine and when it is out of warranty there will be no trouble getting it worked on,” Maness said. “It doesn’t have a lot of the electronics that can give you trouble later on and it is a very easy machine to work on as far as accessibility.”

As an example of its uncomplicated design, the LG959 has adopted a single lever control system, which ensures convenient and flexible operation, a fact that pleases M&M Dairy’s Robert Mitchell, who operates the loader.

“I really like the joystick control on this machine,” Mitchell said. “The boom and the bucket are all on one stick. Other machines have two sticks, but with this just the one. It works great and cranks right up.”

But in the beginning, one thing mattered just as much as reliability to Maness.

“The price, that’s the bottom line,” Maness said. “Its price was very competitive with other machines.”

Backed by Volvo and ASC

Another factor that added weight to Maness’ decision to go with the LG959 was the chance to buy from ASC Construction Equipment. ASC offers SDLG and Volvo equipment, as well as product lines of many other manufacturers. It also offers top-of-the-line service to all of its customers, according to the company.

That Volvo/ASC connection probably did more to reassure Maness that buying the relatively unknown loader was a good bargain. It gave him the peace of mind that if anything went wrong with the machine, he had a rock solid team of service professionals ready to assist him.

Maness has already seen the benefits of the up close and personal attention that ASC and Volvo extend to their customers.

“In the time that I have spent with ASC and Volvo, everything has been great so far,” Maness said.

The Right Machine for M&M

Maness has about 1,700 cows that need to be milked three times a day every day, with a total herd numbering about 3,000 animals. With such a large population of cows, he needed the LG959 to move bedding sand that is dredged from river or creek beds.

Bedding sand is used by farmers like Maness to spread on the ground in cattle stalls and similar locations. This type of sand, when clean, is low in organic materials and doesn’t provide an easy place for bacteria to grow.

“We mainly use the loader for recycling our bedding sand,” Maness said. “After it is pulled out of the river, it is spread on the ground and, eventually, it is mixed with all kinds of manure solids so that it has to be run through a cleaner to get it back to a pristine condition, which, in turn, reduces the bacteria load and makes for good cow health.”

Maness said that the first step in the process is to use the LG959 to move the clean sand onto a bedding machine and as he and his farm hands clean the barn, the sand is washed out. Then the loader is used to scoop out all the sand from a long, 300-ft. (91.4 m) settling lane.

“That gives the sand time to slow down before it goes into the storage pond and then we scoop it again to run it through a machine that separates the sand from bad material like gravel that we don’t want,” Maness said.

According to Maness the sand that he recycles is what his cows prefer. And happy cows are exactly what he needs to keep them producing milk.

It is a process that began in the late 1940s when Maness’ grandfather and father started the farm with just 12 cows in order to supply milk to a Carnation plant in nearby Statesville.

“It is incredible to think that now we have over 1,700 cows going through the milking lines three times each day,” Maness said. “But that’s life on a dairy farm. We’re farming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

For more information on the LG959 loader or other SDLG products call Christina Clark of ASC Construction Equipment at 704/572-9759.