Operating Equipment at the John Deere Proving Grounds in Arizona

At the Sacaton event, John Deere introduced its  L-Series backhoes.

At the Sacaton event, John Deere introduced its
L-Series backhoes.

Last month, John Deere Construction and Forestry invited editors out to its training facility in Sacaton, Ariz. There we were treated to an awesome equipment demo, machine walk-arounds (with the chance to pick the brains of product managers) and the opportunity to test drive backhoes, dozers, scrapers and excavators. Jealous? Yeah, you probably should be. The day started off with an equipment demonstration featuring more than a dozen machines, including the all-new L-Series backhoes, the recently introduced 1050K dozers and more.
We were split up into groups for walk-arounds where product managers highlighted the special features of four key products: the L-Series backhoes, 1050K dozers, 300G excavators and ejector scrapers. While there’s plenty to talk about, let’s focus on the brand-new backhoes when it comes to compact machinery.

According to the company’s press release, the new L-Series backhoes offer improvements on features that John Deere customers have come to know and trust, plus the addition of several new ones, to increase uptime, provide productivity and lower daily operating costs. The L-Series lineup boasts six new models: the 310L EP, 310L, 310SL, 310SL HL, 315SL and 410L. Built in John Deere’s facility in Dubuque, Iowa, the L-Series backhoes are designed for a variety of jobs, including loading trucks, placing pipe, digging trenches, moving materials or tearing up asphalt.

The L-Series meets today’s emissions regulations through a rugged Tier 4 Final/EU Stage IV PowerTech Plus diesel engines. The 310SL, 310SL HL, 315SL and 410L boast a five-speed PowerShift transmission with speeds up to 25 mph. Contractors may also utilize the Autoshift option that uses the fuel efficiency advantage of the transmission and automatically selects the best gear for a specific load. All of these innovative technologies work very well in tandem, even when a novice operator (like myself) is behind the sticks.

After the walk-arounds, we were able to test out the machines and experience the backhoe’s comfy cab firsthand. The new cabs boast extra legroom and a more comfortable seat — leading to easier rotation between loader and backhoe operation. Let me tell you, it’s not a bad place to sit on a 90-degree day. Of course, it wasn’t all about backhoes. The event really focused on larger equipment — excavators, dozers and scrapers. If you’re interested in that big iron, please visit the publication I run called Utility Contractor at utilitycontractormagazine.com.

Pam Kleineke
Managing Editor