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PUMPELLER hybrid lagoon pump Maxx-Trax Steerable Manure Tankers

Lots of attention has been given lately to using bigger and better flotation tires on manure tankers in an effort to prevent field and road damage. While excellent flotation is indeed very important, let’s not forget the basics...whatever size of tire you choose must either steer into the turn or must be dragged sideways, so tankers that cannot steer cause a strong “smear” action on the road or field. We have all seen how poorly a tri-axle transport trailer corners, with tires skidding sideways and much creaking and groaning. This action not only puts tremendous strain on the axles, hubs, wheels and tires but also on the ground. Field damage at the headlands caused by non-steerable tankers is a common sight, but a growing issue today is the road damage caused when non-steerable tankers turn into the field lane. Road damage can range from broken edges on the pavement to more severe problems such as depression or dishing of the surface.

Tankers that are equipped with steering aim the wheels into the turn, so all tires are simply rolling instead of dragging sideways. This is obviously much better for tire life, which is a big consideration when you have invested in some nice, wide flotation tires. It is also obviously much less damaging to fields and roads. Harvey Martin of Saugeen Agri Service in Arthur, Ontario relates that shortly after he bought his first steerable tanker, he soon had some customers telling him that he should not bring his other (non-steering) tankers back to their farms next year. They saw the difference in their fields, and Harvey saw how to quickly become their preferred hauler: he replaced the other two tankers with steerable models.

When trading his tankers, he also decided to move to larger capacities. Given the terrain in his market, the largest tanker he felt would be practical was the Jamesway Ultra-Trac 7400 US gallon, which is a 6-wheel (tridem) model. Obviously hauling more gallons per load is the name of the game and trading to bigger models improved his throughput, but he also realized some other benefits he had not anticipated. While the new tankers carry a 25% bigger load, the 6-wheel design spreads the load over 50% more tires than his old tanker had, resulting in less load per tire. In addition to this lower loading per tire, all his tankers are equipped with 850/50x30.5 flotation tires. When this tremendous floatation is combined with the “no-smear” cornering of his steerable tankers, he is now able to continue working in conditions that were previously unthinkable. It’s a win-win situation: his customers are happier due to the improved condition of their fields, and he is happier because he bills more gallons per day and is able to run more days per year.




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