A few months ago, a frustrated Sib gave TKV a call and set us a challenge. He had a New Holland T7 tractor that he had spent a lot of time and money on customer engineering to widen the axles and convert it to a spraying rig. The problem was, due to the combination of underground irrigation and rainfall, soft patches were forming in his fields. When the tractor was passing over these patches, potholes are created which grow and grow with every pass of the tractor.
Finally, some of these potholes had grown to the point the irrigation piping and plastic sheet was either being damaged or driven down into the subsoil, requiring constant repairs and excavation.
This might not sound like too much of a big deal, but when you consider hundreds of hectares of this black plastic tube that is all covered over, the accumulation of small leaks becomes a huge problem and waste of water. Not to mention the cost of not being able to use the plastic sheet for multiple seasons.
Damaged irrigation piping and plastic sheet
Upon receiving the call from Sib, the technical team from TKV chartered a light plane and flew up to the beautiful property along the Burdekin River. Once out on the field it became clear that the root cause of the problem was the point loading of the tyres creating the potholes which set in motion the vicious and worsening chain reaction resulting in extensive down-time, crop damage and additional labour expenses.
The solution – convert the machine from tyres to tracks!!
This was a challenge in itself however. The machine was highly modified and there existed no off the shelf solution. But TKV loves to keep machines moving. The team got the machine to the shed and took detailed dimensions and lots of photos. Once back in Toowoomba, the team worked with Mattracks in USA to come up with a custom, one of a kind, tyre to tracks conversion system to reduce the ground pressure of this machine.
After a few months of manufacture and shipping from the northern hemisphere, the TKV team again headed by plane back up to North QLD to unveil and fit the tracks to Rapisarda’s machine on-site.
After a few teething issues the results were astounding! The problem has been completely solved. As witnessed in the above footage, the tractor now only leaves a nice flat even footprint approx an inch deep. Bear in mind this is while working on very soft, sticky muddy soil that is even very difficult to walk on without sinking, yet the tractor is just gliding over the surface without sinking or slipping.
With GPS tracking guidance in the tractor this keeps the tracks running in the tramlines and fitting beautifully between the rows. The operators have also commented on the increased stability, particularly when the spray booms are out, all in all, an excellent result.
This is not the first time the TKV team has worked with Rapisarda having previously supplied a few sets of Camso 6500 series rubber tracks for John Deere 8RT tractors. Its been a great opportunity to work with this iconic Aussie farming family once again.
(Spoiler alert!! – TKV has since been given another opportunity to work with Rapisardas on another project involving more track conversions – footage will be released in coming weeks, keep an eye out!!)
If you have a problem with your farm equipment with either traction, compaction, or stability, contact the team at TKV Group. We will come up with a complete track solution to keep your machines moving, as we did for Rapisarda Farms.
– Ash Collins, Managing Director