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50 Years: Lessons, Leadership, Loaders

50 Years of Lessons, Leadership, and John Deere Wheel Loaders

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John Deere began with one man and one leap of faith. Mr. Deere saw an opportunity to improve and advance agriculture with his steel plow and, while it may not have been an overnight success, he grew that one invention into a diversified, thriving company.

RDO Equipment Co. also began with one man, a leap of faith, and an agriculture background. In 1968, a potato farmer named Ronald D. Offutt invested everything he had to purchase his first John Deere dealership. Today, there are more than 75 stores across nine states bearing Mr. Offutt’s initials.

And that’s not where the similarities end.

50 Years of Partnerships, Gratitude, and Vision
Just as Deere diversified into the construction equipment industry, so too did RDO. Coincidentally, both achieved big milestones last year. As RDO celebrated 50 years in the equipment industry, Deere marked 50 years of wheel loader production, commemorating the original JD544.

While the RDO team spent last year reflecting on 50 years of partnerships, showing gratitude for those who helped achieve that milestone, and renewing a continued vision of the future, Deere is celebrating its 50-year milestone this year, with the introduction of the new L Series loaders.

The L Series draws on the history of excellence and foundation of John Deere’s original 544 wheel loader, while being a testament to Deere’s commitment to continuous improvement. It’s also an example of Deere’s focus on customers, with the new L Series incorporating customer feedback and improved design with the operator in mind.

Speaking of customers, here’s a look at how RDO Equipment Co. customers are using John Deere’s K Series and the new L Series loaders in various ways.

It goes without saying that John Deere loaders are designed for the construction industry – there are numerous tasks within the broad scope of construction that are a perfect fit for the K Series and L Series wheel loaders. Energy and underground applications are particularly strong industry segments right now.

The L Series’ new design is especially ideal for numerous applications because of the faster auxiliary hydraulic function. Additionally, attachment configurations can be saved for fast switching between attachments. Site prep, cleanup, and other tasks that require different attachments go quickly.


Quarry and Aggregate
The larger K Series and L Series loaders are a common sight in mines and quarries, used for a variety of aggregate and material moving applications.

The new L Series loaders feature improved bucket options to improve bucket filling and material retention. Additional enhancements further reduce spillage and offer better operator experience for less fatigue of repetitive work.

Infrastructure and roadbuilding are among the most talked about and important jobs in our country. John Deere’s large K Series and L Series wheel loaders are ideal for the many applications and uses within the roadbuilding segment and have years of proven performance in supporting the expansion and improvement of the country’s infrastructure.

The L Series loaders feature options for higher hinge pin heights, allowing the operator to dump into higher receptacles, especially important in ready-mix applications.


Snow Removal
Compact wheel loaders are commonly used for snow removal. Watch how RDO Equipment Co. customer, Welk’s Lawn Care, enhanced its commercial snow management services with the John Deere 344L Series Loader.

Related article: Equipment solutions and support boost Fargo company’s snow business

But compact wheel loaders aren’t the only models that work well for snow removal. John Deere’s mid-size and large loaders offer advantages, including the L Series’ improved lift height for stacking snow, improved HVAC and cab comfort, and fuel-efficient diesel engines for hours of uninterrupted operation to make it through long snow events.

John Deere offers a wide variety of green machines, dedicated to agriculture professionals and large property owners, however, yellow iron is found on many farms and ranches.

Moving feed, stacking hay bales, and site cleanup tasks are fast and easy with wheel loaders. Specifically, improvements to the L Series’ boom structure increases visibility to the coupler, buckets, or forks to help reduce spillage and equipment damage.

Respecting the Past, Looking to the Future
While the new L Series loaders could be looked at strictly in terms of the upgrades like improved ergonomic design and smoother hydraulic kickouts, this new product line really is a testament to Deere’s heritage and values – both of which we share in similar ways at RDO.

When Ron founded RDO more than 50 years ago, he was focused on a connection to the customer. That value is still in place today, as every team member continues to live Ron’s mindset of Building Customers for Life (which became one of RDO Equipment Co.’s Core Values) and evolving together.

Diversification. Growth and expansion. Technology adaptation. Right alongside customers, RDO has evolved, ensuring the team is ready to help customers implement the solutions that will allow them to build on their success, operate more efficiently, and retain a competitive advantage.


About the Author
For 25 years, Daryl Shelton has been working in the equipment industry. His background, while diverse in both agriculture and construction machinery, is primarily rooted in John Deere equipment and he has spent time both on the manufacturing and dealership sides. As Executive Vice President at RDO Equipment Co., Daryl spends the majority of his time doing what he loves most – being out in the field. He especially enjoys the opportunity to find ways for RDO Equipment Co. and customers to grow together, listening to customer feedback and finding solutions to their challenges. He takes this philosophy to his team members as well, ensuring he’s leading the group in its quest to build customers for life. 

Browse listings of used construction equipment for sale or learn more about new construction equipment from John Deere and other manufacturers. To see all available equipment, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.