Kubota’s M8540 has long been a favourite with orchardists, viticulturists and berry growers because of its narrow width and tight turning circle.
Now, Kubota offers even more advantages with a tracked version, the M8540NPK.
The tractor checks in at just 54 inches wide, and thanks to the bi-speed axle, the NPK gives better traction while still allowing tight turns at the end of a row.
The major advantage with the NPK, of course, is its vastly improved traction, stability, and less damage to the soil. The Power Krawler has a larger rear footprint than a conventional tractor with tires, so it exerts downward pressure of only 4.12 pounds per square inch, roughly 60 per cent less than a typical tractor wheel.
“Kubota is not a company that rests on its laurels,” says Market Specialist Adam Haney. “We listen carefully to the customer, and we’ll design a series of products based entirely on our customer’s comments and needs.
“This product was built because of a desire by California vineyard owners,” Haney explained. “They wanted a tractor for hilly terrains, with more traction but less compaction of the soil, and of course BC and Ontario would have the same applications.”
Chris Britten at Avenue Machinery in Abbotsford says the Kubota’s L series of narrow tractors
and now the M8540NPK are big sellers in the berry, vineyard and orchard industries.
“We’ve had a lot of success with L series in that 60 to 80 horsepower range, and now we’re having a lot of impact, especially on blueberry and raspberry farms, with the Power Krawler,” Britten says. “Flotation is the big issue there, and of course the advantage of this tracked vehicle is it has great traction and flotation in those conditions, and it also adds an even better level of stability to the tractor.”
Britten says the L series tractors are also very big sellers in BC, particularly for berry growers and viticulturists, who need the tightest rows possible to increase their production.
“L series are very popular with the berry growers and I think it’s really the HP rating and the width,” Britten said. “A big feature on the tractor is the bi-steering, which allows the tractor to turn much sharper with the implement attached, and turn into the next row quickly without having to maneuver back and forth.”
In fact, Haney says Kubota’s have the tightest turning radius on the market, and have also added a bevel gear on the front wheels that gives the tractors more ground clearance.
“Over the years Kubota has worked closely with the orchard, vineyard and berry growers, we’ve listened and learned about what they want and need, and so the product is constantly evolving to meet their expectations,” Haney says.
“I think with the Power Krawler we have another product that helps us get into the areas of the industry where we really excel.”
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