Mechanized Manure Loaders Eased Job

The manure loader introduced by John Deere made a significant contribution to reducing backbreaking manual labor on the farm.

| January 2019

  • The No. 30 hydraulic loader on a Model 40 utility tractor.
    Farm Collector archives
  • The John Deere No. 25 push-type loader mounted on a John Deere Model A.
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  • “This cut-away view of the flywheel, clutch unit and brake system shows the simple design and sturdy construction of the No. 25 loader,” a sales brochure said.
    Farm Collector archives
  • The John Deere manure loader in transporting position. Pedestal is raised and turntable locked in position to prevent boom from swinging.
    Farm Collector archives
  • Right-side view of the loader with boom lowered. Promotional material claimed that the “new John Deere manure loader loads as fast as five men pitching by hand – saves time, hard work and money.”
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Manure spreaders were available before the turn of the 20th century. However, until the late 1930s, the only way to load them was with a manually operated pitchfork. At best, that was a time-consuming job; at worst, in bedding-packed cattle sheds, it was also a backbreaking job.

John Deere introduced an unusual loader in 1939-40. It was mounted at the rear of the tractor and had a turntable and mast attached to the drawbar with diagonal braces to the rear axles (see images 1 and 2, opposite page). A 12-foot boom that could be raised and lowered swung in a 180-degree arc, and a forked bucket traveled along the underside of the boom to pick up the manure. When the loader was in position to begin operation, a large shoe-type pedestal was dropped down and locked in place to support most of the weight of the loader.

The loader’s cable-controlled operations were driven by the tractor’s PTO through roller chain drives to the clutch and winch units. Moving the left lever forward advanced the loader bucket to fill it, and pulling the lever back retracted the bucket. The right lever controlled the boom; moving it forward raised it and backward lowered it.

When the levers were released, they automatically returned to the neutral (or center) position, stopping further movement of the bucket and boom. The bucket was dumped by extending it to the end of the boom. At that point, the bucket teeth were 6-1/2 feet above the ground and 8 feet out from the mast when the boom was at its maximum height. The swing of the boom was controlled by foot pedals: Pushing the left pedal swung the boom to the operator’s right and vice versa with the right pedal.

After the loader had cleaned the area that it could reach (a half circle with a 10-foot radius), the tractor was backed up to a new working position by simply unlocking the pedestal brake and letting the shoe slide over the cleaned area. Obviously the tractor could not be moved while it was loading manure.

Cattle sheds could be cleaned with the loader if the opening was at least 8 feet high (to clear the mast) and wide enough for the loader and a spreader to be placed side by side. In those tight quarters, the operator had to be careful to depress the correct foot pedal, or he might put the boom out through the side of the shed.


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