Are you seeing growing “interest” in tracks for combines, tractors and grain carts? What’s driving it? Do you expect to see increased sales of tracks in the next 3-5 years?
“We’re seeing more tracks being used on agricultural equipment. The reasons are varied: On tractors and carts it appears to be a compaction issue that affects spring and fall seeding.
On combines, compaction may be a factor, but I think most farmers are wanting them for the extreme wet conditions experienced this year. Another reason for seeing more tracks is the poor quality we’re currently experiencing with ag and implement tires. Tracks are also trendy, so I’m sure we will see more of them in the future.”
— Clark Tweed, Tweed Farm Equipment, Medora, Manitoba
“We have a Case IH 9120 on tracks as a demo and we’re having a very wet fall. It’s the only machine that can go anywhere and not do any damage to the field or get stuck. We’re pricing every new combine with tracks now.”
— Bernie Chabot, Chabot Implements, Elie, Manitoba
“We’re seeing a very high percentage of large-horsepower tractors being purchased as track machines, and not as traditional 4WD machines.
Over 90% of the large-horsepower tractors here are track machines. One reason is compaction, and another is transportability. They can be driven or trucked down the road much easier due to the narrow stance.
Another reason is that we have very little, if any, headlands on the end of the field. Many times they pull out of the field and turn on the dirt road to go back on the next pass. They can turn shorter with the track machines. One thing customers don’t like about tracks is the cost-per-hour of usage is higher due to the wear and tear on the tracks and undercarriage.
We’ve actually had more customers pricing and looking at traditional 4WD tractors lately, but at the end they normally purchase the track machine because of the transporting issues.”
— Larry Kerkhoff, general manager, Pringle Tractor Co., Salinas, Calif.
“The reason for additional track sales is that the technology is readily available on more products and they also allow a less-invasive footprint in marginal conditions.”
— Don Van Houweling, president, VanWall Equipment, Perry, Iowa
“In our area on the coast, there is no interest in tracks since we’re primarily hay and forage production. Our stores in Peace Country are selling more track machines since John Deere came out with the new 8RT series, with a vastly improved track system.”
— Garry Robinson, Prairie Coast Equipment, Duncan, British Columbia
“Track requirements are expanding and customers are getting larger, with more acres to seed and less time. That means earlier seeding starts are required. You have bigger equipment, more horsepower and customers want less compaction. This year, with all the rain, harvest will be interesting. Farmers are getting stuck with swathers.”
— Cyd Gyug, Moody’s Equipment, Calgary, Alberta
“Having experienced the “Year of Noah,” our farmers are looking at all avenues to help them adjust to the unusual land conditions.”
— Sid Patterson, Hepson Equipment , Brandon, Manitoba
“We’re experiencing interest in tracks for combines, due mainly to the extreme wet, muddy conditions. I’d expect that in a year or two, when the weather cycle’s back to drier conditions more common in South Dakota, the interest will fade.”
— Brad Gering, Freeman Implement, Freeman, S.D.
“Yes, we’re seeing more interest in tracks because of the later harvest of rice in Northern California. Track sales will vary from year to year, depending on the lateness of the harvest and if we had a wet or dry year.”
— John S. Miller, Valley Truck and Tractor Co., Yuba City, Calif.
“We haven’t seen an increase in our area. I’d say there that some areas have been wetter than usual and that’s driving the interest.”
— Todd Chance, Fred Haar Co., Yankton, S.D.
“In south Texas we only have two customers that use tracks for certain pulling tillage jobs. Dealerships don’t care for tracks because there’s no secondary market for them in our area. Our bias is toward tires because of overall value to the customer, and we apparently have done a good job in “pushing” tires over tracks. We don’t see any renewed interest in tracks.”
— John Watkins, Weaks Martin Implement Co., Mission, Texas
“We’re seeing more interest in tracks for all types of equipment as floatation and pull performance allows the machine greater flexibility.”
— John Dick, president, All Terrain Truck & Equipment Inc., Anchorage, Alaska
“Weather drives the demand for tracks. We’re located in the Peace Country of Alberta and we’ve had an extremely dry summer, so the interest in tracks is nil. But when we’re faced with wet summers, as in the past, there’s always interest in tracks.”
— Denis Peyre, Deereline Sales/Martin Equipment, High Prairie, Alberta
“Rubber tracks have a limited market application in Arizona. A small number of large growers have track tractors for pulling rippers or large tillage tools. Arizona’s wet ground condition is controlled by irrigation. The high initial cost, along with high maintenance cost for rubber tracks is a factor that influences purchase numbers. A growing trend to increase tracks is not foreseen here.”
— Jim Keller, APM&S, Peoria, Arizona
“We’ve sold a higher-than-average number of track tractors for a number of years. We don’t see that increasing or decreasing in the next few years. We have very little demand for tracks on combines or grain carts and don’t see that changing.”
— Michael Veldman, Ag Power Enterprises Inc., Hollandale, Minn.
“We’re seeing a modest increase in tracks. The driving force is less compaction and a narrower profile. Rider comfort is also a plus for tractors and combines. We’re just starting to get the trade-ins back on the lot and they seem to go quickly.”
— David Zecha, Roth Equipment Co., Larned, Kan.
“A few years ago we had a very wet fall, with a lot of interest in tracks because it was the only way to get the crop in. That interest has dwindled, but it’s still there and that should continue to increase in the next 3-5 years.”
— Eugene Saville, Lamb Webster Inc., West Valley, N.Y.