Arctic Cat plows ahead with farming implements
SPEEDPoint line shown to farming and hunting media
Typically media demo rides in the ATV and side-by-side world are centered around dirt, mud, speed and pushing machines to their limits, and though the event Arctic Cat hosted in late July definitely had dirt, activities involved more plowing and digging than high-speed riding.
The OEM brought farm and hunting media to Hastings, Minn., to show off its SPEEDPoint line of accessories and to debut its new Prowler 500 HDX. Powersports Business tagged along as Jeff Lane, who works in ATV/ROV/Wildcat accessory product development for Arctic Cat, showed off the company’s SPEEDPoint moldboard plow, tandem disc attachment and cultivator, along with its brush mower.
Lane has been integral to the creation of many SPEEDPoint products, which also include a landscape rake, a planter/drill seeder and a drag harrow. As a landowner himself, he’s modeled much of the product out of what he and his neighbors could use.
“A lot of it was starting with basically the things that I wanted to have for making food plots and guys who have property who need to work up the earth,” he explained. “I just looked at myself as a typical consumer who has some hunting land and wants to improve the quality of their hunting land.”
The SPEEDPoint attachments, which are available for Arctic Cat’s ATVs and Prowlers, aren’t designed for the hardcore farmer, but they are ideal for food plot makers, landscapers and hobby farmers. Though that consumer base isn’t large, Arctic Cat finds it an important segment to play in as a utility vehicle manufacturer.
“It’s not a huge market by any means, but it’s just one that we serve and no one else is really serving,” marketing communications manager John Tranby said.
When Arctic Cat set out to create the SPEEDPoint line in the mid-2000s, the company immediately focused on making farm-grade accessories, so customers weren’t always dealing with repairs. Third-party sourced accessories were considered, but they never measured up to Arctic Cat quality.
“We’d get some samples here and there from other places, and we just weren’t happy with the way that they worked or the quality that they had. We wanted things that worked better,” Lane recalled.
On top of having more control over quality, manufacturing the SPEEDPoint accessories in-house allows Arctic Cat to assure each piece works perfectly with its machines.
“On the ATV side, one of the big things is having three points so you can actually put pressure on the ground. A lot of things that were out there, you couldn’t do that, it was all based on weight,” Lane explained. All ATV SPEEDPoint accessories require the use of the company’s 3-point hitch for operation, while the side-by-side accessories attach to the machine’s two-inch ball hitch.
Developing the accessories in tandem with the machines also allows both to be tested together, so Arctic Cat can assure both will be durable when in practical use.
“We have the proper wattage to run the actuators, and we have the proper hitches — so you’re not breaking things — and the right amount of power for the size of the implement. It’s all been tested, versus just going out there and hooking up and breaking, or who knows what could go wrong,” Tranby said.
Lane has used some of his implements to create food plots on his land for years, and he said they’ve taken all the work that he’s dished out.
Using an Arctic Cat setup versus a tractor also has its benefits, Lane said. For one, the ATVs and Prowlers can get to places tractors can’t. To plot his land, Lane has to drive through low ground to get to the plot’s high ground, and if the low ground is damp, a tractor won’t make it through like an off-road vehicle will. Also, with an ATV or side-by-side, chores can be completed more quickly, as the machines can easily travel 3-5 mph on soft ground while digging. Of course there’s also the benefit of taking the ATV or side-by-side pleasure riding when the work is complete.
“It’s got dual-purpose uses. It’s designed so it was quick on, quick off, so you can still get your work done and then play,” Lane said.
Dealers near rural communities do quite well with the SPEEDPoint product, so Arctic Cat officials say it’s important that the company continue to reach those regions and to improve its hobby farming products.