Given the popularity, modest cost and availability of the mini digger, it is no surprise that it is now finding itself pressed into service where it was never intended.

Bobcat has taken note of how its skid steer loaders have developed into multi role tools and are now appears to be applying the same logic to the mini excavator, or MEX, as the company has taken to referring to them as.

Thinking outside of the box

This move may carry more potential that might be immediately obvious and Agriland recently reported on how one Donegal farmer had pressed a medium-sized excavator into service on his stock farm.

Excavator Donegal, access
Bale handling is another use found for 360 degree excavators in Donegal

Larger machines are already being used to trim and fell trees when fitted with hydraulic sheers, so it is only logical that the growing awareness of the machine's versatility moves down the scale.

Big players get involved

Bobcat has recently introduced new attachments that, it claims, expands the role of the MEX into the landscaping and agricultural sectors further.

The company may be a little late to the market with its excavator mounted mower for there are a good selection of such attachments already out there.

What the company can bring to the party is a quick change hydraulic system which minimises the time taken in switching attachments and is a growing item of interest from customers.

However, the recognition by a major manufacturer that the mini-digger needs not be confined to just digging holes, might encourage farmers to look at how else they may be used in and around the farm .

Mini digger advantages

The greatest asset of a mini digger is that the reach into locations which are inaccessible to other machines while still maintaining a low ground pressure.

Flail mower MEX
Blaney Agri is one Irish-based company producing flail mowers for diggers

Tractor mounted hedge trimmers e.g., tend to need a big tractor to mount them upon, and that means extra weight which may bar them from situations where the ground is soft.

The ability to swivel 360° also increases their versatility as it is no longer necessary to have the tractor aligned parallel to the area that needs cutting.

That said, it is unlikely that they will replace the established tractor and hedge trimmer combination any time soon, transport speeds being one major drawback, yet they remain a viable option for many situations.