Kubota M126X Half-Track Review

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Kubota’s revolutionary half-track design improves vegetable and dairy farm operations

Kubota M126X Half-Track Review
Kubota M126X

Australian dairy farmers and vegetable growers often experience limitations in the use of their wheel tractors due to very wet or undulating ground conditions. It was in the mid-1990s that Kubota introduced the first half-track tractors on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan, to help farmers overcome their struggles in these types of conditions.

Following extensive evaluation, Kubota Tractor Australia has introduced the 125hp (92kW) M126X Power Krawler tractor.

"We have given the M126X Power Krawler half-track tractor a really good test on dairy farms in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia and vegetable farms [as] far north as Mackay in Queensland," Kubota Product Manager Lars Pasedag says.

This new half-track tractor is based on the M126X four-wheel tractor and features 400mm wide rubber tracks on the rear axle for a very light footprint and big contact area on the ground.

"Whether the tractor was used for feeding out round bales during the wet winter months or spreading fertilizer in very hilly terrain, our customers have confirmed the fantastic handling of the half-track tractor over a conventional wheeled tractor," Pasedag says.

"One onion farmer reported he was able to plough the ground two weeks earlier than he could have done with his wheel tractor, allowing him to plant his crop earlier and improve quality and quantity of his crops."


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MANOEUVRABILITY, STABILITY, SMOOTH RIDE

Unlike full crawler vehicles, the M126X Power Krawler's basic manoeuvrability and speed is nearly identical to that of standard four-wheel tractors, so there is no need for special operator training.

The longer wheelbase, lower centre of gravity, and independently oscillating rear tracks improves stability and keeps operators from bouncing on uneven terrain ― dramatically increasing operator comfort.

"The M126X Power Krawler steers and drives just like a wheel tractor," Pasedag says.

"The front axle in fact is identical to the wheel tractor and the rear rubber tracks on the rear do not leave scuffing marks on the ground when turning, which protects the soil."

TRACTION AND FLOATATION

The larger track footprint offers better traction, especially in wet and hilly conditions which makes this tractor very safe when operating on hills.

The Power Krawler's rear weight is distributed over the larger surface area of the rear tracks, which decreases the level of ground compaction by an estimated 60 percent compared with a standard wheel tractor of comparable size; this results in better floatation with less damage to soil.

The Power Krawler's traction and larger ground contact area also delivers superior stability and straight-line performance ― making for a solid, smoother ride.

The rear crawler design is central to the Power Krawler's special performance capabilities. The synthetic rubber track features hard rubber lugs providing a smoother, quieter ride at higher speeds than typical steel lugs. Both sides of the tractor are kept in contact with the ground via independently oscillating crawlers.

The maintenance and process for changing crawler tracks is user-friendly due to the split-type drive sprocket design with rotating pins.

"Experience from overseas suggests the [tracks will last] between 2,000 and 3,500 hours depending on work load.

"A set of replacement rubber tracks is priced at around $6,000 via our spare parts department, which is very competitive as a set of rear wheels costs the end user around $5,000 per set," Pasedag says.

POWER AND RELIABILITY

The M126X Power Krawler is equipped with Kubota's turbo-charged Common Rail centre-direct injection system engine.

The E-CDIS diesel engine provides power, durability and efficiency, as well as low noise levels, all while meeting Tier 3 EPA emission regulations.

A dual range transmission with eight powershift gears offers 16 forward and 16 reverse gears. A hydraulic shuttle makes quick direction changes easy.

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