Vining pea groups have had to adapt their harvesters to cope with some of the worst harvesting conditions for a decade.
Anglian Pea Growers has fitted a front steering axle to reduce scuffing and larger Trelleborg tyres to improve traction and lower ground pressure.
APG’s technical director Ed Hadingham says: “The steering bogey, bigger tyres and optimised tread pattern creates a stable platform with good traction, particularly on turns. On tracked combines we have had problems with scuffing and the combine burying straw on headlands. I can’t think why combine manufacturers do not opt for this [bogey] arrangement.”
Holbeach Marsh Co-operative has, in contrast, gone for tracks. It experimented three years ago and now two of its three machines are fitted with tracks.
“Our two tracked 979s have been able to keep going when the wheeled machine has not,” says manager Richard Fitzpatrick. “We have no option but to vine as there are strict quality and quantity targets to meet. Furthermore, soil compaction is reduced.
“Even in dry conditions the tracks pay off. We frequently have to vine against the tramlines and tracks allow us to travel quicker,” he says. The Claas-sourced 630mm tracks now come with a new suspension system and Mr Fitzpatrick says that they plan to replace the remaining wheeled machine with a tracked version.