Properly Ballasting Your Tractors Can Improve Performance - Case IH | Blog
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Properly Ballasting Your Tractors Can Improve Performance

Calculate and adjust ballasting on each of your tractors now to help improve efficiency when you head to the field come spring.

Is the new year tempting you to hit the gym for a workout? Does it have you thinking of ways to improve your life balance? Here’s a thought: How about spending some time this winter in the shop tossing around tractor weights? It will be good for you and it will bring better balance to your tractor.

A properly ballasted tractor is more efficient. For smaller utility tractors, ballast also can help improve safety when using front-end loaders or three-point mounted equipment, such as mowers or sprayers, or when operating on sloped ground. Whether performing heavy tillage or moving heavy hay bales, the right amount of ballast is important.

Too much weight can:

  • Cause a tractor to feel sluggish
  • Increase soil compaction
  • Reduce fuel efficiency
  • Result in premature drivetrain wear

Too little weight can:

  • Result in tire slippage
  • Reduce fuel efficiency
  • Cause premature tire tread wear

Proper ballasting is complex. Extension.org provides an excellent overview about ballasting tractors. And our online calculator can guide you through the process. It provides results specific to each of your tractors. So before you begin, gather information, such as tractor model, tire sizes, hitch coupler and drawbar type, etc. The calculator will analyze your information and provide a printable worksheet to help you properly weight and ballast your tractors.

Monitoring tire slippage when you head to the field can help confirm you’ve accomplished your objective. Most late-model tractors are equipped with technology that provides real-time tire slippage as you move across the field. Aim for slippage between 10 percent and 20 percent. When your tractor performs within this range, it’s generally operating in the sweet spot where favorable traction, fuel use, horsepower to the ground, and wear and tear meet. If you prefer to measure slippage longhand, Extension.org provides this handy guide.

If your tires slip more than 20 percent, you’ll need to add weight. Less than 10 percent slippage indicates your tractor may be overweighted. Remember: Slippage can vary from field to field as soil types and conditions change. It also changes significantly with the type of equipment you’re pulling.

If, like most farmers, you’re striving for greater efficiency and less spending in 2015, a tractor ballast check can help you improve on both fronts.

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