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New Take on Tracks

New Take on Tracks
New Holland offers a combo drive system brings tracks to the back of new Genesis T8 tractor

The rising interest in track machines has companies looking at a number of ways to innovate drive systems and the folks at New Holland have taken the idea to a new level with the Genesis T8 SmartTrax machine. The half-track, half-wheeled machine provides flotation and traction at the rear combined with the steerability of wheels at the front.

A Genesis T8 Series SmartTrax has a larger contact patch with the soil, which New Holland says enhances traction and reduces ground pressure and compaction. The contact patch of the 24-inch SmartTrax system is up to 65% larger than a 710/75R42 single rear tire set. The 18-inch SmartTrax system is 35% larger than a set of 480/95R50 rear duals. The reduced ground pressure allows earlier access to drying land and can provide extended working late in the season with a reduced risk of damage to the structure of the soil, New Holland says.

It's an innovation that aims to provide the best of both worlds to the market and one that will capture a lot of attention for farmers who visit the fall farm shows. The rising need to boost productivity means being able to get into fields earlier and with greater efficiency, which has people looking at tracks as an option. The SmartTrax approach offers a new alternative.

“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.”

Installing tracks instead of wheels on these machines 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 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.

Also check out: New Holland Launches New Combine Line

“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.

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Written by Jodie Wehrspann, senior editor, Farm Industry News.

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