In the age-old debate of which is better—tires or tracks—on farm tractors, New Holland asks, why not both?
Today the company took the wraps off a half-tracked, half-wheeled tractor called the new GenesisT8 Series SmartTrax. It is designed with wheels in front for maneuverability and tracks in the back to provide traction and flotation--without the tradeoffs of going with either method exclusively.
“We know that twin track machines have been a staple on many farms for many years now,” says Nathan Graham, commercial trainer with New Holland. “But those twin tracks have some inherent flaws.” He goes on to cite the formation of berms at the end rows where you turn, or in between rows where you’ve planted, soil scuffing issues and the loss of “full power” on turns.
“What I mean by that, is that when you turn a twin track machine, like a bulldozer, you have to slow down or reduce power to one track, and you get that sliding action which causes soil scuffing and potential soil damage” he explains. “Also if you have an implement engaged in the ground at that point, the twin track tractor will keep going straight until you’ve disengaged the implement.”
Graham says New Holland has incorporated the benefits of tracks farmers are looking for into a well-balanced, conventional tractor while removing the flaws. “What we’ve done is taken the comfort and balance of a conventional wheeled tractor and added the benefits of tracks to it.”
Installing tracks instead of wheels on these innovative units required engineers to take into account some inherent changes to the already robust design. A track-specific 5-inch heavy duty-axle to efficiently transfer power to both tracks and an updated cab entry design to ensure operator ease-of-entry are just two of the Genesis T8 SmartTrax smart design features.
Graham says the benefits of having wheels up front are tighter turning, ride comfort, and less soil damage. Tracks in the back improve flotation and traction and let you get in the field earlier in marginal conditions.
“If the ground is wet or conditions are marginal, farmers with wheeled tractors might have to wait three or four days before they can get in the field,” he says. “With this tractor they can get in and air out the soil with tillage equipment without rutting the field or potentially getting stuck.”
SmartTrax is offered on the top two models in the T8 Tier 4B Series: The 409 max hp T8.410; and the 435-max hp T8.435. The Auto Command continuously variable transmission is standard on the T8.435 and an option on the T8.410 with the full powershift Ultra Command offered as standard.
The tractors are available in up to seven different working widths with track spacing choices of between 76- and 152-inches. Available track widths are 16-, 18-, 24-, or 30-inches.
For more information, visit http://www.newholland.com/na
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