Many farmers have asked the question “Why are agricultural loadalls so expensive compared to construction ones?” The short answer is there is a hell of a lot of spec differences and if you spent a day loading bales, grain lorries or muckspreaders using a construction machine you would be able to justify the price difference quite quickly.
Lets go through it section by section. Because of the amount of spec that can be added and taken away I’m going to do a comparison between an ex hire fleet construction machine and a typical Agri Super/Agri Xtra machine.
Construction machines tend to have just enough power to pull themselves through the mud and operate hydraulics, but not necessarily at the same time. 75HP is standard but they can get up to 110HP, however these are rare as the hire fleet dominated construction market simply doesn’t see the value. But no adblue on these as they are below the threshold of power.
Agricultural machines have more horsepower, 125Hp, 145HP or 150HP and even a 175HP option now! More power = you can do more things at once and faster. Great for repetitive loading at speed. Drive, steer, lift boom, boom out and tilt all at once…. No problem. They also get the reversing fan to help blow off chaff and dust from the bonnet and radiators.
Problem is you need all the eco-friendly good stuff that comes with power now, so yes that’s a full adblue system which aint cheap if it goes wrong.
Construction is limited to a 4 speed 33kph powershift transmission, great for sites, not great for roads. They are very slow at top speed and very slow at getting there. Motorists love them!
Ag gets a 6 speed auto in top gears, powershift, torquelock, 40kph road speed gearbox and some different diffs. They also get the Dualtech, same top speed but acts like a hydrostatic at low speeds (great round the yard) and a powershift at higher speeds (great for towing). There is also now a 50kph option for the customer who really needs to get on. Agriculture machines also get selectable 2or 4 wheel drive, whereas construction machines are stuck in 4 wheel drive all the time. Not great for roadwork.
Construction machines get one operation at a time, there is no load sensing, just a basic gear pump setup. Pallet of bricks, boom up , then boom out, then boom up a bit, then tilt and place. Perfect. Slower than molasses in winter. They can be upgraded from multi lever to a single lever but don’t expect much.
Agriculture machines get full load sensing variable pump top of the line hydraulics. Lets do everything at once and fast. They also get regenerative hydraulics on boom down and boom in. This means the oil coming out the ram is directed into the other side of the ram to get even faster speed. This is great just be careful of looking behind you and putting the boom down as you go backwards….The speed can catch you out and make a lovely grain trailer not so lovely.
Construction machines are as basic as they come, construction guys are hard, they don’t need all the fancy gadgets, that or they don’t sit in them all day… SO that means they get none of the following worklights, radio, plastic cab trim, boom suspension air seat or air con as standard. Agricultural machines get all these and even the new design cab which is a lot better! They even get hydraulic pin locking so no need to get out the machine when changing attachments.
Agriculture machines also get some tasty treats outside the cab which construction machines don’t. They get a proper pick up hitch so trailers can be moved. Proper radial tyres and not cheap crossply ones, so the ride is a lot better, and the final cherry on the top… Agricultural machines pay no road tax compared to a construction machine which is classified as a special vehicle and taxed accordingly.