Innovative four-track tractors aid soil conservation
WITH winter crop sowing upon us, many farmers will be thinking about equipment upgrades. Technology developments in tractors mean there's a wide range to choose from and one important decision for farmers to make is whether to include tyres or tracks. Some farming operations are better suited to tracks, while others are better suited to tyres. The decision is based on soil, crop type and the planting and harvesting timeframe. Case IH High Horsepower product manager Pete McCann says tracks are becoming more popular as farmers realise their benefits. “Today's designs have come a long way since the steam tractor with ‘dreadnaught wheels', or tracks, in the mid 1800s. These days, tractors with tracks are highly manoeuvrable, offer excellent traction and are very effective at protecting the soil,” Mr McCann said. Because tracks have a greater contact area with the ground, they place even pressure on the soil, conform to contours and minimise compaction. They are also better suited to changing windows for planting, seeding and harvesting, because they can help farmers get on the paddock earlier. “When choosing your tracked machine, it's ideal to have four points of contact on the ground — whether that's by a four-track system or a rear twin-track with tyres—it significantly reduces the berming effect produced by a stand-alone twin track system. Berms are good for landscaping your garden, but not in a paddock,” Mr McCann said. Case IH's new Steiger Quadtrac and Rowtrac have a four-track system, which ensures maximum manoeuvrability while increasing traction and reducing compaction and soil disturbance. “There's also a track-wheels combination in the Magnum Rowtrac. This gives farmers row-crop flexibility; it has the flotation benefits of tracks, with the manoeuvrability of a mechanical front drive. It also reduces berms and soil disturbance when turning,” Mr McCann said. “Bespoke wheel-tracks tractors give the best of both worlds, as well as special features such as customisable row spacings for speciality crops, like many vegetable varieties.” Mr McCann says a four-track system gives much better traction and optimum manoeuvrability. “By keeping four points of ground contact, these Case IH tractors don't turn like a bulldozer, so they reduce surface pressure and create less weight transfer from front to rear, and this is what reduces berms,” he said. The new Case IH track tractors are also well suited to large-scale arable farmers and contractors - businesses that strongly depend on efficient, timely and soilconserving operations. “The United Nations has named 2015 the ‘International Year of Soils'. Along with the wheeled version, the Magnum Rowtrac 380 CVT was recently voted ‘Tractor of the Year 2015' by a panel of 23 independent journalists from trade magazines in 23 European countries, so Case IH is particularly proud to launch this innovative tractor this year.” The Steiger Quadtrac and Rowtrac models come with some of the most powerful engines on the market, adding to productivity and suiting these tractors to operations that need the highest horsepower available. As well as choosing a four-track system or a rear twin-track with tyres system, it is also important to check out the tractor undercarriage. “Case IH's unique and proven track undercarriage design ensures maximum ground contact; more power to the ground means less compaction and soil disturbance. While independent, positivedrive tracks give the tractor full-time, full-soil contact, and that provides better traction and even soil pressure with less compaction,” Mr McCann said. “There are also many different tyre options, and they all still provide really good flotation and traction for specific soil conditions. They're also available in a wider range of frame sizes, so they can be great for farmers who want a smaller machine.” • Details: www.caseih.com
The Case IH Magnum Rowtrac features the flotation benefits of tracks and manoeuvrability of a front wheel drive.