THE capacity to run harvesters on load-spreading tracks instead of tyres has been made just that little bit easier with the development of track conversion kits that can be retrofitted to existing machines.
One of those systems on display at the Neil’s Parts stand at this year’s Farmfest field days on the Darling Downs featured a track conversion system manufactured by the Camso company.
Neil’s Parts Australia products director, Marney Strachan, said prior to the availability of conversion systems, the only option for growers was to buy a new harvester manufactured with tracks already on it.
“This system allows you to jack the machine up in a workshop, take the wheels off and install the tracks straight onto where the wheels were. With the right equipment, you can get it done quite quickly,” he said.
“The need for tracks is growing by sheer weight of harvesters that get bogged. And the agronomy side of things is also about reducing compaction. With controlled traffic rows, dual wheels have become unfavourable. Tracks can fill that void.
“The footprint tracks leave on the ground is far less than what tyres do. On a harvester, to match the imprint of a pair of these track systems you would have to have six tyres on each side of the machine.”
Mr Strachan said the Camso track conversion system would fit the common range of header brands.
“It comes as a basic unit with a kit for each particular make. They come as a kitted-up pair with a left and right-hand track system,” he said.
The system for harvesters is available in track widths of 30 inch (76.2cm) or 36 inch (91.44cm).
The layout has a drive sprocket in the middle which has the contact points inside the track.
“The principle is the same as is used on all common brands of harvester. It is a positive drive with pins that locate into the drive lugs. The system has suspension to smooth out the ride,” he said.
“They have been in the European market for more than 10 years. The latest system has been beefed up to be a far more durable and heavier system than it used to be. It also has a gear case in it so there is no loss of ground speed.”
All the wheel hubs and mid rollers are oil filled and there are new age plastics and Teflon bushes, so there is no need for grease nipples.
It is a low maintenance system that has a 2000-hour service life.
So far Neil’s Parts have been importing the units on request.
“We have sold six units in Australia and New Zealand. We are getting to the point where we will be carrying some inventory in Australia,” he said.
Mr Strachan said in the future there would be track conversion kits available for tractors, and a slightly different track system for trailed equipment such as grain carts, airseeder carts, planters and sprayers.