No single solution works best

No single solution works best

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Determining if tracks or tyres are better systems comes down to customer preference.

Determining if tracks or tyres are better systems comes down to customer preference.

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Tyres4U, Australia's independent tyre distributor and agent for Firestone, Alliance, Mitas and Advance farm tyre brands believe farm tyres are the ideal choice, though they acknowledge in some specific cases, tracks may be the best solution.

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Tyres4U, Australia's independent tyre distributor and agent for Firestone, Alliance, Mitas and Advance farm tyre brands believe farm tyres are the ideal choice, though they acknowledge in some specific cases, tracks may be the best solution.

Generally there's not a one-size-fits-all.

Modern Tire Dealer, a leading US trade magazine and website asked in which applications and fitments do you recommend using rubber tracks versus tyres? What are the performance differences in terms of traction, fuel economy, soil compaction and roading between the two?

"Just like asking if apple or orange juice is better, asking if tracks or tyres are better systems comes down to customer preference, but tracks are more expensive to purchase than tyres," manager of global agricultural field engineering, Firestone Ag Tyre Operations, Bradley Harris said.

"Both systems have pros and cons, so it is important to understand the facts and benefits about each system and determine which is best for your operation.

"In many operations, it could be a combination of both systems.

"When I ask users why they have tracks, the number one response I get is they want to get rid of compaction and the track has a much larger footprint area.

"While it is true the total footprint area of a track is larger than a tyre, the weight of the machine is not equally distributed under the track."

Firestone Ag has conducted studies on soil contact pressures on two and four track systems and wheeled tractors.

It has published technical papers with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

The results show if the inflation pressure of the tyres is less than 20psi, tyres transmit less contact pressure to the soil compared to tracks.

From 20 to 35psi, the tracks and wheel systems were comparable.

If the inflation pressure of the tyres is above 35psi, the track system had lower contact pressure than the tyres.

However, there is still the perception that tracks reduce soil compaction when compared to tyres in all situations.

When looking at traction, track systems are most efficient at zero to three per cent slip, while wheeled systems are most efficient at five to nine per cent slip.

The lower slip range of the track system does give users more traction in the field, but that does not result in less fuel used.

A track system takes more horsepower to rotate the track, which results in higher fuel consumption.

Comparing a tracked tractor to a comparable wheeled tractor with the proper inflation pressure, they both will use similar amounts of fuel.

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