Choosing the right new vineyard tractor is an important decision, given the major capital outlay.
Key advantages of the Fendt tractors for the business, which offers a broad range of services, include their Vario transmission, cab suspension, 65km/h road speed and ISOBUS compatibility.
Quigley Contracting focuses on three tractor sizes – 150 hp, 280 hp and 360 hp – with their drivers allocated a tractor to use with a range of implements. Over the last two years, two 936 and 11 828 models have arrived, all fitted with the VarioGrip tyre pressure system, originally to reduce tyre wear.
Operations manager Rob Raisbeck says the choice has also led to several other benefits.
“As contractors, road wear is a big problem for us,” he says. “But VarioGrip gives us the ability to run the ideal pressure in the field or on the road and even adjust pressures for individual applications, such as cultivation or harvest work.”
Raisbeck says on heavy cultivation tractors they were lucky to get 3000 hours out of a set of tyres.
“We are currently sitting on 3000 hours and some have minimal wear,” he adds.
“I am reasonably confident that with VarioGrip we will get close to 6000 hours out of our tyres or potentially more.”
As Quigley Contracting offers a broad range of services, its tractor fleet is large, so doubling tyre life adds up to a massive saving.
VarioGrip allows operators to change tyre pressures, using a double compressor and feed lines via a rotary union to each of the tyre valves. Pressures can be set as low as 0.6 bar in the field and up to 2.5 bar on the road, depending on the weight of the tractor and the implement.
Raiser says it takes about five minutes to change pressure, initiated via a submenu on the main screen, allowing the right pressure to be chosen for a job.
A lower pressure in the paddock increases the contact patch, which gives more grip, less wheel-slip and less compaction. Improved traction has removed the need for dual wheel set-ups, with one tyre size covering all work scenarios, including precision planting operations in the spring.
Furthermore, access to paddocks is made much easier, as the tractors are significantly narrower without dual wheels.
With the VarioGrip system including a compressor within the tractor, meaning the operation no longer carries compressors on the back of its service utes. This has the added benefit of allowing drivers to blow out radiators or seed drills.
Additionally, Quigley’s are specifying air brakes on new implements, as they are more efficient than traditional hydraulic systems.