By Farm Progress staff
Ever since growers and companies realized in the 1980s that soil compaction was not only real, but also costing bushels and dollars, there has been a search for a solution. Several people have latched on to tracks vs. tires for tractors, combines, grain carts and even planters to help provide more flotation, spread out the footprint and hopefully cause less deep-soil compaction. Deep soil compaction is the toughest kind to correct and prevent from reoccurring.
Major companies today offer machinery on tracks, but short-line companies offer tracks, as well. Some are designed for tractors or combines. Others are for specialized uses.
Two new offerings displayed at recent farm shows were for grain carts. In addition, J&M exhibited the largest grain cart with the highest bushel capacity at the current time in the industry. It was shown on a large set of long tracks designed to help provide flotation and spread the weight over a larger footprint compared to tires.
Proving anything when it comes to soil compaction is difficult, notes Gary Steinhardt, a Purdue University Extension soil specialist. He has worked on proving possible damaging effects of soil compaction since the early 1980s and was one of the first to get farmers to recognize that some of the uneven corn growth they were seeing at that time was caused by soil compaction. He was one of the first to coin the phrase “tall corn, short-corn syndrome” that describes how corn growing in a compacted field may appear.
Many people believe tracks are a solid option to help minimize soil compaction. They now have even more products to choose from.
To see some of these latest track offerings, check out the slideshow.