Manitou’s Manihoe is a hybrid machine with mixed parentage – the front-end’s telescopic boom is true Manitou while the backhoe and cab are sourced from New Holland. Everything in between has been bundled together by Manitou’s French engineers.
It’s not uncommon to see old JCB 3CX machines and the like scattered across farms as they offer many of the benefits of a loader with the added advantages of a back-actor. What makes the Manihoe revolutionary is that it offers a telescopic boom.
Two years ago Joe Maxwell was looking to change a tired Fermec 860 digger on his 323ha (800 acre) farm, based in Kinegad, West Meath, Ireland, when he came across the Manihoe at Ireland’s infamous Ploughing Championships.
Having always had a back-hoe unit on the farm, he liked the extra versatility the Manihoe’s telescopic boom offered and that clinched the deal.
“We’d run our old Fermec for years, but when we switched to TMR feeding it only just managed to reach into our Keenan 140 wagon. With the Manihoe we just extend the boom a fraction for a comfortable reach,” says Mr Maxwell.
But, with a second stock unit eight miles away, road travel is one of the first areas where Mr Maxwell levels criticism at the machine.
“It’s a bit slow on the road and with having to go to the other farm twice a week it’s a bit of a burden,” he says.
He adds that boom and attachment cycle times are a bit slow when trying to use two functions simultaneously.
“You end up revving the nuts off the machine to get the loader and bucket to respond in time, which doesn’t do much for fuel consumption.”
MANIHOE – MLB 625T
Mr Maxwell reports that the back-actor is actually employed less than he had anticipated, although when he does use it, it proves its worth.
“A few years ago we would have done all our own building work, such as lanes and extra housing, but these days, with the amount of input the farm itself requires, we don’t have the time for construction.”
“That said, it proves useful in a number of situations, from digging a trench even to lifting cows that have become trapped in the older cubicles.”
And getting to those less accessible places in wet weather poses little problem.
“Getting to sticky spots is no problem for the unit and if you do get bogged down a bit you can use the digger arm in traditional style to push yourself through anyway,” he says.
Servicing is all done by the local dealer and costs in the region of e400-e600 (£270-£408) every 250-500 hours. Aside from regular servicing, the Manitou mechanics have had to visit the farm on a couple of occasions to deal with rogue electronics in the four-wheel-steer wheel alignment system – minor niggles that were quickly and easily sorted.
“Overall we’re happy with the machine and if we were looking again we’d certainly be interested in Manitou, though we’d recommend a few small changes such as better wipers and self-cancelling indicators,” concludes Mr Maxwell.
“A faster road speed and a quieter cab would make the real difference.”