Picking the right equipment for your farm depends on the type of farming activities that take place on your property. Heavy machinery such as excavators and skid steers make light work of tough tasks while tractors and harvesters are essential for planting and harvesting crops. For day-to-day farming activities, most farmers would be lost without a handyman toolkit equipped with basic tools!

Knowing the differences when comparing excavators vs. skid steers will help you find the right fit for your agricultural applications. If you’re looking for a Kubota excavator for sale, you must decide if you want a new or used model. The same applies when shopping around for skid steers.

Read on to decide which heavy machinery is best for your farm so you can make a well-informed purchase.

Excavators vs. Skid Steers: What’s the Difference?


Excavators and skid steers are popular choices for most heavy-duty tasks and there isn’t always a clear answer as to which one is best for your farming activities. Investing in both requires a huge capital outlay, regular maintenance, repair costs and operators to drive them. Looking at the differences can help you narrow down your pick!

What You Need to Know About Excavators

Excavators are heavy machinery that comes in numerous sizes, including the mini design for confined or tight spaces. The operator sits in a cab to steer the boom arm which has a digging bucket attached to the end of it. Other attachments can be used for more efficient work performance depending on the type of application.

Excavators come with either steel wheels or rubber tracks for mobility. Some models could include the following useful features:

  • Zero-tail swing: The tail stays within the track of the machine, preventing damage to objects on either side of the excavator.
  • Intelligent control system: An LCD panel that displays current working conditions, oil levels, engine RPM and temperature plus alerts for routine maintenance.
  • Digging and lifting performance: Different models have varying digging force and lifting capacities for improved work performance.

Excavators are typically used to dig trenches, create holes or for large-scale excavation tasks. You can use excavators to move heavy loads from one site to another and traverse uneven or rugged terrains safely and efficiently.

What You Need to Know About Skid Steers


Skid steers are powerful and versatile heavy machinery that can undertake a variety of agricultural tasks safely, quickly and smoothly. They’re smaller and more compact than most excavators and have four wheels. The operator sits in a cabin and can maneuver the machine easily, especially in tight spaces.

Various attachments can be attached to the skid steer to improve work performance on different applications. These typically include:

  • Buckets
  • Forks
  • Backhoes

Skid steers come in different sizes and power capacities, require more maintenance than excavators and can be hazardous if not operated properly. There are many benefits too though. For example, features such as the Kubota Shockless Ride will prevent operator fatigue when working on uneven terrain.

When to Use an Excavator on the Farm

Excavators are excellent for lifting applications as well as digging large trenches or holes, making them useful for clearing land and building dams or waterholes. They can be used to lift and transport large loads of fertiliser to the fields or move feed from storage to farm animals.

The following farming activities can be done with an excavator:

  • Loading hay bales
  • Clearing sites for building sheds or paddocks
  • Clear brush for firebreaks
  • Spreading compost for crops
  • Grading fields and levelling farm roads
  • Creating and maintaining drainage systems
  • Digging holes for fence poles

Mini-excavators are lightweight, and less likely to compact soil, making them ideal for grading and preparing fields for planting. They can be used in confined spaces and are more fuel efficient.

When to Use a Skid Steer on the Farm

Skid steers were originally engineered to perform agricultural activities, making them the perfect choice for most farming tasks. This agile heavy machinery can move large items such as farming materials and supplies from one site to another, safely and quickly. Skid steers can be used to clear out farm sheds or shift snow during heavy storms.

With the right attachment, skid steers can be used to:

  • Clear away debris and invasive vegetation
  • Remove dirt from paved areas such as pathways and roads
  • Till soil for planting seeds
  • Level gravel roads
  • Digging holes for fence poles and other purposes

Before deciding on a skid steer, you need to know the size of the farming application, the type of terrain it will be navigating and what engine power you need.

Final Thoughts

Skid steers are an excellent choice for most farming activities and will be well-used on a productive farm. Excavators are useful for the occasional large agricultural task such as building dams – consider hiring this type of heavy machinery to save on maintenance and repair costs.

Getting advice from heavy machinery experts will help you decide which is better for your farm when searching for an excavator or skid steer for sale.