Quite often when we see non-Deere dealers discussing the advantages of their (sub)compact tractors, they will mention the Skid Steer Quick Attach loader connection. Usually, they will sneer at “the other manufacturer” who uses a “proprietary” connector, obviously insinuating that no one in their right mind would prefer THAT connector! In this article, we will dig into this topic to see if this “proprietary” connector has any merits, or if it deserves the scorn shown during these conversations.
I had the opportunity recently to meet Neil Messick from Messick’s Farm Equipment. Christy and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Neil. He is incredibly knowledgeable in the compact tractor space, very friendly and easy going. After just a few minutes I knew that he and I would get along fine. This is one of my favorite parts of the compact tractor universe. We meet quality people everywhere we go.
Anyway, Neil recently published a video titled “The downside to a skid steer quick coupler”. I’ll include a link to this video here:
In this video, Neil does a fabulous job of explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Skid Steer Quick Attach (SSQA). I’ll briefly summarize
SSQA Advantages (vs. pin on bucket)
- Easily change from one front end loader attachment to another
- Extend the tractor’s utility and functionality by providing access to a “world of unique attachments” such as snow-pushers, grapples, pallet forks, loader mount blades, etc.
SSQA Disadvantages (vs. pin on bucket)
- Weight (~86 lbs heavier than pin on) Reduces BX lift capacity from 509lbs to 423lbs (consuming 15-20% of the loader capacity!)
- Reduced break-out force due to the bucket being extended outward from the hinge.
- Cost ($500 cost adder on BX). …Tim added this one. Neil didn’t mention it.
Neil concluded that the SSQA was useful for most (95%) of his compact tractor customers, but that in some instances, namely the BX, the SSQA’s additional functionality might not be worth the tradeoff in loader lift capacity.
As I was watching, I realized that I agreed with all of the facts presented in this video. However, I was reaching an entirely different conclusion.
Neil, You’ve made my case!
Early in this video, Neil mentioned condescendingly that “you should laugh at all the other tractor companies that continue to offer the proprietary solutions”.
Not so fast, Neil! Let’s dig into this a bit. Let’s revisit Neil’s list of SSQA advantages/disadvantages in comparison to JDQA:
SSQA Advantages as compared to JDQA
- Easily switch between loader attachments.
I think most people could objectively agree that the JDQA and SSQA are roughly the same amount of effort to attach/detach.
- “world of unique attachments” available.
While we agree that more attachments are available for SSQA than JDQA, let’s consider the sub-compact tractor market specifically. There are lightweight pallet forks, grapples, snow pushers, loader mount blades, stump buckets and more available for JDQA. Additionally, there is plenty of competition in this area. For example, there are at least 5 manufacturers producing JDQA sub-compact tractor grapples as shown in our Grapple Roundup.
Larger SSQA attachments such as post hole diggers, power brooms, snow blowers, etc are not suitable for sub-compact tractors, or even compact tractors up to nearly 50hp due to their hefty hydraulic requirements.
So, it seems this SSQA advantage is equally matched with JDQA.
SSQA Disadvantages as compared to JDQA
- Weight. This is the primary design point of the JDQA. It is lightweight. Designed specifically for these small tractors. So, practically thinking, there is no weight disadvantage to the JDQA system. So much so that Deere quit offering a pin-on option in 2018. There is simply no need for pin-on buckets anymore.
- Reduced breakout force. The JDQA does not ‘extend outward’ from the hinge like the SSQA. So, the breakout force is maintained even with this system. Another advantage JDQA
- Cost. Saving 86lbs of steel has to save money, right? Yes, it does. The SSQA option is ~$500 on the BX. The JDQA is standard on the Deere.
Ignore the Scornful/Condescending Tone…
Once you investigate, you’ll see that there really are no disadvantages to the John Deere Quick Attach system for sub-compact and small compact utility tractors. It is lighter than the SSQA. It is cheaper than the SSQA, and every attachment you might need exists for this mounting system.
For example the Deere 1025R (with JDQA) is rated to lift 520lbs at full height while the Kubota BX with Quick attach is rated at 423lbs (509lbs without quick attach). So, with the 1-series, you can have it both ways. Retain the capacity AND keep the flexibility of a quick attach bucket.
Once you get to the 50hp range (Deere 4 series, Kubota Grand L, MX), then the wide variety of SSQA hydraulic driven attachments become useful, and the additional weight of the SSQA becomes less important.
For those of us with smaller tractors, the JDQA is the most optimal quick attach system on the market today.