New Holland's SmartTrax makes its debut
New Holland WA sales manager Geoff Anderson (left), takes Yuna farmer Jeff 'Charlie' Williamson on a walk-around of the new T9.615 New Holland tractor shoed with SmartTrax II tracks, before a test drive earlier this month.
Published in Farm Weekly August 28, 2018
IT HAS taken a while but New Holland is now in the track tractor game.
According to the company’s WA sales manager Geoff Anderson, it is presenting a serious contender to capture the growing track tractor market in WA.
Designated the T9 Series, the T9.670 and T9.615 models are both equipped with SmartTrax II tracks.
The T9.670, develops 500 kilowatt (670 horsepower) while the T9.615 is rated at 459kW (615hp).
Both models have been busy clocking up hours of speed tillering and seeding throughout the WA Wheatbelt, with some impressive statistics for power-to-ground and fuel efficiency.
The T9.615 was officially unveiled at last week’s McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo and both models will be displayed at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days on Wednesday, August 29 and Thursday, August 30.
Recently the T9.615 was seen in action at a demonstration day at Yuna, pulling a 12.2 metre Ausplow EasiTill deep ripper.
“It was in a paddock that had never been ripped and it turned out to be the hardest test we put the tractor through,” Mr Anderson said.
“But every farmer who took a test drive came back with positive feedback.
“Comments included excellent turning with no scuffing, good power to the ground, smooth ride and impressive figures.”
The “rock hard” soil comprised a mix of red loam and yellow sand and the EasiTill – set on 600 millimetre spacings – penetrated to depths between 450mm and 500mm.
The tractor was operating at 100 per cent load, developing 1720rpm in ninth gear and travelling at 7.5 kilometres an hour.
“They are fairly impressive figures given the conditions,” Mr Anderson said.
“It’s a comparable performance to a tractor on triples with probably a gear the difference.”
According to Mr Anderson the tracked T9 Series does have some points of difference with opposition models.
“It has Camoplast SmartTrax II 90 centimetre-wide tracks which are designed to lessen compaction while providing more power to the ground,” he said.
“Feedback from guys who have been driving it, gives a big thumbs-up for its smooth ride.
“It’s smoother than tyres.”
According to New Holland, there are two track and belt lug choices – two track designs to suit differing soil conditions and two belt lugs – 50mm standard and 65mm for added traction and pulling capability in wet, loose or soft soils.
The Hi-Idler design of the tracks also provides an aggressive approach angle that allows tracks to ‘climb’ rather than ploughing through soil, reducing berming and scuffing – a feature that did not escape the attention of farmers during test drives.
While the T9 model visually looks very stable, the axle position of the SmartTrax II design is the main reason, providing a low centre of gravity.
The smooth ride is enhanced by the SmartTrac II design – there is no midroller directly under the track module pivot point, reducing over-centre ride impact.
To further differentiate from the competition, New Holland said the SmartTrac II drive wheel was the largest in the industry measuring 1.4 metres – 30 per cent bigger than the nearest competitor.
The Hi-Idler design features seven to eight drive lugs while the less expensive standard design has 13-14.
Both are fully engaged at all times, eliminating slippage between the drive wheel and the track.
This is the main reason for increased power to the ground.
Another feature of the SmartTraxII design is the absence of grease fitting.
All bearings are sealed and lubricated for the life of the machine (with annual maintenance).
Bogey and idler wheel oil levels need only to be checked once a year and changed at 5000 hours.
There is no need for alignment adjustment mechanisms.
The SmartTrac II rigid undercarriage shaft bores are machined in one operation, ensuring correct alignment between bores.
Operators will feel right at home with a Tier 2 13 litre FPT Cursor engine linked to a ‘IntelliShift’ powershift transmission operating through 16 forward gears and two reverse with creeper.
A rear PTO is standard and models are IntelliSteer guidance-ready.
The T9 Series models are also available as tyred versions.