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 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.”
Domenic Mazzola, Vice President, Sales—Original Equipment for Alliance Tire Americas, says the A-328 is the company’s top-selling flotation design worldwide. Alliance sells tires in more than 120 countries, and has earned a reputation as a leader in flotation tire technology. “The Alliance A-328 bar tread has a long track record in the nut industry, where many nut harvesting companies are using the tires on their harvesters. They don’t want a tread that collects the nuts that have fallen.”
Tyler Pittson, Product Manager at Kubota, says dealer reaction to the flotation-tire-equipped tractors has been excellent. A display model introduced the new configuration to farmers at the Farm Progress Show in Iowa, drawing great attention.
“We had a good take ratio at the introduction,” he says. “We’re the only company at this time that we know of offering these low profile flotation tires as OE fitments and we think this is going to be a real win-win.”