Wheel slip on sand hills causing erosion and uneven crops encouraged Victorian Mallee croppers, Tim and Richie Gleeson to look at track technology.
Cropping 18,000 hectares north of Swan Hill, the Gleesons bought two Case IH Steiger 600 Quadtracs in early 2015.
E.T. Gleeson & Sons farm manager Scott Gladman said the big hills were an issue for tyred tractors.
“The wheel slip incorporates chemical where you don’t want it, which can then make your crop over the sandhills sick or die, exposing them to wind and resulting in erosion.”
He said despite having plenty of horsepower, previous tractors couldn’t climb some of the sandhills.
“So we’d have to drive up where the sand hill wasn’t as steep, and sow down it,” Mr Gladman said.
“We were running over what we’d already seeded, and crops in those areas often just didn’t come up.
“It was really impractical.”
He said pulling a seeder up the hills was almost impossible.
“The wheels would start spinning, then they’d dig a hole and the tractor would stop — bogged.”
The Gleesons’ research led them to tracked tractors, which Case IH introduced in 1996.
The tractors four individually driven, oscillating tracks give greater ground contact than tyres or two-track systems, resulting in a good balance between productivity and efficiency.
Having previously owned Case IH machines and been impressed with the warranty, the business took delivery of the Quadtracs just before seeding last year and they’ve now done well over 2000 hours of seeding and harvesting.
“They probably do around the same amount of driving with the chaser bin on as what they did at cropping time, so it’s not as if they just done a seeding of 500 hours and then been parked in the shed,” Mr Gladman said.
“We’ve worked them and haven’t had an issue.”
He said while the initial capital outlay may seem more, the return on investment is excellent.