A new option from Kubota Tractor Company-outfitting its company's 100-hp M5L-111 tractor with Alliance A-328 multi-purpose flotation tires as optional equipment-is opening up new market opportunities in orchard applications.
Alliance A-328 flotation tires from the Alliance Tire Group (ATG) are a popular 8-ply, bar-tread design, which create a large, even footprint, and they can operate at low inflation pressure. The result is a highly puncture-resistant tire capable of carrying heavy loads while minimizing root damage from soil compaction.
Paul Williams, Senior Manager, Applications and Testing for Kubota, says he has seen the tires perform extremely well as special fitments on Kubota tractors.
"We think they're going to be a real asset for us," Williams says. "It's the best of all worlds-the ability for running at high load capacity or operating at lower-pressure to reduce compaction, and they are puncture resistant. We gain flotation capabilities and we're dropping the tractor's overall height by two inches."
That two-inch height reduction makes the M5L-111 low-profile tractor ideal for orchard use.
Optimizing the tractor for the fruit and nut industries included careful attention to selecting tires that can operate in an environment with severe puncture hazards from prunings while protecting delicate feeder roots in the upper inches of the soil.
"Depending on what application the operator is doing in the orchard and the weight of the implement on the tractor, he can operate at a pressure from the mid-20s down to 6 to 10 psi," says Williams. "The rim has a special bead hump on the inside that allows the tire to operate efficiently at low inflation pressure."