WONGAN Hills farmer Brad West has a good reason to like his three Challenger MT865 track tractors - saving money on fuel.
According to Mr West fuel costs are down by about 30 per cent compared to his previous tractors used on his 14,000 hectare cropping program, comprising wheat, barley, lupins and canola.
The family farm bought two Challenger MT865 tractors nearly three years ago and the third was delivered in March this year.
"We bought the first two because we wanted to go to tracks for three metre tramlining," Mr West said.
"We have bigger seeding equipment now and we wanted track machines to eliminate wheelslip.
"These are the first track tractors we have had and we decided to go with the Challengers because of the service from our local dealer, McIntosh & Son.
"We also talked with people who already operate them and we liked what we heard about their reliability."
Mr West's Challengers are employed pulling the family's large seeding and deep tillage equipment, which includes an 18m Ausplow DBS precision seeder and two 6.45m Bednar Terraland TO chisel ploughs.
He said a major feature of the MT865 tractors was their fuel efficiency.
Commenting on the fuel efficiency, Mr West said pulling the seeding rig produced an average figure of 65 litres an hour.
"Other tractors we have had were sitting on about 90 litres an hour, so that's a huge saving," he said.
Mr West and his family are also about to purchase a smaller Challenger MT743 to pull spreaders and do other general farm work.
"The tracks are great," Mr West said.
"We use them for their flotation as well because they cause less compaction on the ground."
The Mobil-Trac system has the longest wheelbase in its category (three metres) and is available with four belt widths, three tread bar designs, and two widths for the drive wheels, idlers and mid-wheels.
The long wheelbase provides more stability and better balance during work and travel, and the longer footprint provides lower ground pressure and better traction in all conditions.
The Opti-Ride suspension provides a smooth ride over rough terrain.
"The Challengers are beautiful and comfortable to operate," Mr West said.
"They ride really well across the paddock, their functionality is great and everything is pretty simple.
"Overall, they are well-balanced tractors and the mid-mount idlers are really well built.
"Some other brands seem to have issues with the idlers failing at times."
The Challenger MT800E series are the first tracked tractors in the industry to use the new AGCO Power 16.8 litre, V12 engine, with a maximum power output of 484kW (646hp).
The model benefits from a new two-stage cooling system - four turbochargers with inter-stage and after-cooling, ensure an optimal delivery of clean air to the engine and make sure maximum torque is always delivered.
The 16/4 powershift transmission was designed specifically for the MT800E series and uses electronic transmission control and electronic engine control, which work together via the 'lntellitronics' network to manage gear shifts.
These models have the highest transport speed of any tracked tractor, with transport speeds up to 39.6 km/h.
Gear splits are spaced further apart at the higher transport speeds, requiring minimal gearshifts while maintaining rapid acceleration.
The MT800E's cab has more glass area for superior visibility and more interior space than any other tractor in its class while the Tractor Management Centre (TMC) is integrated into the armrest and puts control of major functions at the operator's fingertips.
Performance data is displayed in a simple format, with advanced features such as one-touch headland management system, power management and auto-guide all conveniently controlled using the TMC.