a John Deere Gator…

…in Southern Norway…

Gator™ TH 6x4 Diesel…

This ATV is the work-horse on our dairy farm, and we probably couldn't have farmed the way we do without it.

A John Deere Gator is small, but with its over half-a-ton load-capacity, 4 wheel drive and extremely low ground-pressure, it is a very capable transport-vehicle. Whether it's about feeding cows twice a day or just getting around in a hurry to do what needs to be done on our farm, the Gator is the vehicle of choice.

It is as all-terrain transport-vehicle our Gator shows its force, as it can carry, pull and/or drag over half a ton of stuff around nearly everywhere. We regularly use the Gator to transport everything from gravel and firewood, through cow-dung and other semi-solid waste products, to hay and silage. If something has to be transported from “A” to “B” on our farm, it is usually dumped on the Gator.

Now and then even a newborn calf found in the woods needs to be transported back to the barn on a straw-bed in the back of our Gator. During those trips we need to have a person in the back to hold and take care of the calf so it doesn't jump off and/or hurt itself as we slowly negotiate our way homewards with the cow following her calf's every move, but otherwise people in the back is of course a no-no.

Our Gator is also quite versatile in our local woods. It can maneuver well between the trees, and some branches on the ground provides a road for it if the ground is too soggy or uneven. Securing one end of tree-trunks on the back of the Gater so the load is distributed evenly onto its back wheels, means we can haul quite long and medium-heavy trees out.

equipped for farming…

Our Traditional Series 6x4 diesel Gator is pretty standard, with only minor optional additions.

It is equipped with electrical box bed lift to ease dumping of load. A plastic lining protects the box bed from wear and tear, which is essential given all the various loads we put on it.

We had it equipped with a ball hitch for hauling regular car trailers like those our feed stations are built on, which extends the vehicle's total transport-capacity to well over a ton. Pretty efficient little tractor.

We added connections for hand-held lights on it, since we sometimes have to work in the dark.

We bought our Gator over a decade ago (in 2000), so it isn't quite as fast as the latest versions despite the fact that it has the same engine. A top speed of around 25 km/h is more than fast enough though, and the rest seems to be pretty much the same throughout versions.

minor complaints…

We have over the years gathered some experience with this ATV both in terrain it can handle well and in terrain it definitely cannot handle. There is some of the latter types of terrain around here, but so far that hasn't been much of a problem.

To be realistic: all vehicles have their limitations and weaknesses, and since this isn't a sales-promotion I've listed some of them below.

  • a Gator apply so low ground-pressure that it almost floats on water, and hardly leaves tracks on any surface. This is excellent, but it also means the vehicle can lose traction and skid a bit on really wet, muddy and slippery ground.
  • a Gator needs slightly more space and better roads than a cow, so “all-terrain” may be a slightly too optimistic term. However, after having driven and compared it against other ATVs for 8 years, I'll have to say our Gator defends the use of the term quite well and better than most vehicles for which the same term is used.
  • a Gator has low ground-clearance (only 16 cm) and can sink in and get stuck in deep and rotten late-winter snow. This usually happens at least once every year on our farm, but it is a light-weight vehicle that is relative easy to dig or pull loose. Only thing is that it usually happens during one of our regular snow-storms.
  • the small engine needs good fuel in the winter, as diesel has a tendency to separate into oil and water and freeze in filters and pipes. The problem is easy to prevent by storing the diesel so it separates before it is to be used, and then only pour the water-free top-layer of that stored diesel onto the Gator's fuel-tank.
  • the thin-plate box bed is corrosion-prone – despite the plastic lining, but it doesn't look too bad after having been exposed to rain, frost, dirt and silage-sap for 8 years. Besides, the box bed is easy to replace.

As can be seen, the list of complaints isn't long, and we have had no serious problems with any of the points so far. To make it perfectly clear: our Gator isn't for sale.


Our Traditional Series Gator isn't quite as tough as the military versions, but it has the same engine and basically the same construction as those and has proven itself to be more than capable of filling its peace-time role around our place.

It has taken quite a beating over the years, but apart from providing it with new tires, changing oil and doing some minor repairs on its most exposed body-parts, we haven't found the need for much maintenance-work on it. That's a good thing since we can't really do without its services for more than a few hours no matter what.

If we can keep corrosion somewhat under control in the years to come and avoid bumping into too many trees and rocks, I wouldn't be surprised if the Gator is still capable of doing its job long after I've quit doing mine on this farm.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 27.jun.2008
29.jun.2008 - edited
10.nov.2012 - updated
last rev: 10.nov.2012

a John Deere Gator…

I wouldn't be surprised if the Gator is still capable of doing its job long after I've quit doing mine on this farm.
— Georg

external information:

…2008 - 2012