Everything you shall know about Tractors
History and background of Tractors
The tractor is a heavy-duty robust vehicle that delivers powerful traction for ploughing the land and for numerous haulage tasks where a high traction force is needed. Tractors are associated with farming but their use is widespread also in construction and excavation. Bulldozers and backhoe loaders are basically tractors adapted for engineering purposes. The tractor is typically an open vehicle, four or two-wheel drive, with sizeable driving back wheels and smaller front wheels. Some types have caterpillar or crawler traction.
Tractors have been around for over a century and are an essential piece of farming equipment. In 1850 traction systems already existed, developed from steam-engines which were employed for driving farm machinery. Then came the ‘ploughing-machine’: plough-hauling devices fixed at each end of the field hauled the plough on a cable. In the USA these were soon replaced by steam-powered devices which directly hauled the plough. The first petrol-powered tractor was invented by John Froelich in 1892. The term ‘tractor’ was created by Messrs Hart and Parr who put a two-cylinder petrol-engine tractor on the American market in 1903. In Britain the first traction-engine sale was in 1897 (Hornsby-Ackroyd) while the first commercial production was in 1902 – the Ivel three-wheeler. In 1908 Saunderson Tractor marketed the four-wheel version, then in 1917 Ford presented the first mass-produced tractor – the Fordson.
Main types of tractors
The classic farm tractor, with its big and little wheels, contributes to rustic tradition: alongside a horse-and-cart neither one looks out of place. It is an extremely practical and versatile apparatus. On farms it is used for ploughing, tilling, planting and many other tasks. Modern farm tractors mostly run on diesel fuel and have a manual transmission. They are all equipped with ROPS – the modern roll-over prevention system which eliminates the danger of the tractor rolling over. Equipment or implements attached to the tractor generally use the Ferguson ‘three-point hitch’, a device that allows equipment to be supported by the tractor, and which is operated by lever controls to hydraulically raise or lower the equipment. Ads of used and new farm tractors are available on Agriaffaires.
Specially designed to be used in orchards and in the cultivation of fruit-bearing trees, orchard tractors are a smaller, and lower, version of the classic farm tractor with some extra protection depending on the type of fruit to be harvested. Protection can mean that maybe the wheels need to be protected from tree thorns (for example on citrus trees) which can become dry and hard and cause punctures. Also the tractor itself can have a tin casing to protect the moving parts from odd branches. To prevent snagging from overhead branches a metal cowling or covering deflects low-hanging branches. Exhaust pipes are located on the underside and sometimes there is a cage to protect the operator. Orchad tractors can be bought on Agriaffaires.
The main characteristic of vineyard tractors is that they are narrow enough to fit between close rows of grape-vines. Also a tight-turning capacity is important in the vineyards where there is usually little room to manoeuvre. Some have adjustable wheels to accommodate different row spaces, they are necessarily small and narrow and sometimes have a closed cab for the operator. However the open-type vineyard tractor is widely used in most of the sunny grape-growing regions where the weather poses no problem. Many ads of vineyard tractors are available on Agriaffaires.
Main manufacturers of tractors
The main manufacturers are mostly the historic companies that have been producing tractors for decades, for example Ford or Massey Ferguson (Massey Ferguson tractors available here). The famous Ford ‘N-Series’ is the result of the agreement in 1938 between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson to build tractors with the Ferguson system. Kubota is another century-old company, it has been producing agricultural machinery in Japan since 1890. Other well-known names in tractor production are John Deere (ads of John Deere Tractors here), who have been making tractors since 1915, and the New Holland brand which is a merger between the original New Holland, Ford and Fiat. Other very well known brands are Case IH tractors, Deutz Fahr & Claas tractors.Google+