FOR more than a decade high horsepower front wheel assist (FWA) tractors have dominated the low horsepower range of four wheel drive tractors (4WD).
The FWA models met a market acceptance as a year-round workhorse, capable of spray, tillage, spreading, hay and chaser work and with some variants, front-end loader work.
A major appeal was the fitment of transmissions which gave higher road transport speeds - 40 to 70 kilometres an hour.
But now, with the John Deere 9R Series 4WD models, you can have a year-round workhorse with engine power ratings up to 462 kilowatts (620 horsepower).
According to AFGRI Equipment Geraldton salesman Adam Van Aswegen, it's the tyred 9R models that have got the most attention compared to the previous more popular 9RT (two track) and 9RX (four track) models.
"The 9R is available from the factory with the new Titan LSW (low sidewall) tyre and HydraCushion suspension system," he said.
"Essentially what that combination achieves is good tractor balance, eliminating power hop and a more comfortable ride.
"And the 18-speed powershift transmission is rated for 40km/h road speed."
Mr Van Aswegen said that adding the optional 1000rpm PTO and electric-hydraulic three-point linkage, you had a "tractor for all seasons" and an ideal unit for controlled traffic.
"John Deere has effectively changed the face of an old 4WD warrior that was usually parked in the shed after seeding sitting idle until the next season," he said.
"Now it is equipped for versatility of jobs and will probably work 800-plus hours a year, given the flexibility to seed, pull a large spreader and the chaser bin during harvest."
According to Mr Van Aswegen, LSW technology costs less than tracked alternatives and offers better performance than conventional wheels.
The compact sidewall dampens the swaying motion while travelling at high speeds and eliminates power hopping in high-drawbar applications.
It also allows for carrying weight at 40 per cent lower inflation pressures than a standard competitive radial tyre, reducing soil compaction significantly.
The LSW tyre features a larger rim diameter and smaller sidewall than a standard radial tyre, while maintaining the same outside diameter, inflation pressures and weight load capacity.
With the smaller sidewall and larger rim diameter of LSW, there is less potential for recoil and bouncing.
The benefits of the LSW tyre is greatly enhanced by John Deere's exclusive HydraCushion suspension system, where the hydraulic and electrical systems work together to maintain a level and vertically-centred position of the front differential case, in relation to the tractor's chassis and independent of tractor weight or dynamic loading.
The system's ability to maintain a vertically-centred position provides full suspension travel of 10 centimetres.
This translates to consistent soil contact for improved power to the ground, while dampening the energy from bumps.
For existing John Deere 9R owners, retro-fitment of LSW tyres is possible, but not the new suspension.
The LSW is available in various sizes to fit tractors, self-propelled sprayers and headers.
More information: See your local AFGRI Equipment dealer.