Tyres & Tracks
Power on the Land
Track and tyre efﬁciency gathers pace The introduction of rubber tracks was one of the most important power farming developments of the last 50 years, offering all the performance benefits of traditional steel tracks but without the problems of road travel restrictions and slow speeds. Mike Williams writes. Sales of tractors with steel tracks had been shrinking rapidly during the 1970s and early 1980s, but the downward trend was reversed after 1987 when the first rubber tracks arrived from Caterpillar on the Challenger 65 tractor. Having re-established the tracklayer’s success, Caterpillar sold its tractor business which became Agco’s Challenger range. With tracklayer sales increasing, more tractor companies moved into the market and recent arrivals include New Holland with the SmartTrax models introduced two years ago during a major update for the T8 series. Maximum outputs for SmartTrax models are from 320–435hp with a design based on track units at the rear and wheels with an axle and
suspension system at the front. Track width options are from 18–30in, offering a big reduction in ground pressure compared with wheels. The rear tracks with front wheels layout has also been adopted for Rowtrac tractors introduced two years ago by Case IH, based on the Magnum series. The three models produce 382,
The 380 is the top model in the Case IH Magnum Rowtrac range combining wheels and rubber tracks.
409 and 435hp with power boost, and the specification includes a front suspension to improve ride comfort while diff locks increase traction efficiency. Case IH was already well established in the tracklayer market with the Quadtrac series introduced in 1996 with the power delivered through four track units. The current seven-model Quadtrac range provides up to 682hp maximum output.
Early arrivals John Deere was also among the early arrivals when rubber tracks encouraged the tracklayer recovery, and it expanded its range two years ago with the new 9RX models. The new models with their four-track layout were the first departure from John Deere’s previous two-track layout, offering outputs from 470–620hp. The 9RX tractors have puncture-resistant tracks from the Camso 3500 and 6500 series and are available in 30 and 36in widths with 40kph speed capability. ` As well as tractors, the rubber track revival also includes other farm equipment including self-propelled
harvesters. Most leading combine harvester manufacturers include rubber tracks on their options lists, and tracks are also well established for root crop harvesters which often work late in the year when the ground is soft and easily compacted. In the Grimme self-propelled potato harvester range, for example, models with a Terra Trac rubber track option include the Varitron Platinum 270 two-row harvester powered by a 354hp engine and equipped with a 7t capacity bunker.
Grimme’s Varitron Platinum two-row potato harvester on rubber tracks.
Track specialist Sly Agri, the Lincolnshire based company offering a specialised rubber track equipment service, offers a wide range of replacement parts including seals, hubs and shafts continued over...
• 24 Hour on site repair service • Water ballasting • Wheel and tyre conversions • Pressure recommendations • Leading brands available from stock • Large range of trailer and implement tyres available • Experienced technicians • Wheels • Friendly and reliable service • Seasonal harvester and row crop stock available • Tyre checks available • Farming groups welcome
Agricultural tyres available from stock, on site throughout East Anglia
Grove Lane Industrial Estate, Elmswell, Suffolk IP30 9HN
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Published on Feb 2, 2017