Challenger sets new cultivation record

It’s official: the Challenger MT875B tractor, using Grégoire Besson’s latest XXL discs, could cultivate its way from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg in a day – unmodified. Joe Spencer reports.
Issue date 16 November 2007

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An AGCO Challenger MT875B rubber-tracked crawler tractor, pulling a 14m-wide set of Grégoire Besson XXL discs, has set a new world record by cultivating 644ha in 24 hours – equivalent to discing the width of the N3 freeway from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg in a day! Working to a consistent depth of 12cm in demanding, heavy-to-medium clay loam soils, the record-breaking team disced the area at a rate of 26,8ha, or about 30 soccer pitches, an hour, on only 4,42ℓ/ha of fuel. The 24-hour cultivation marathon, on a privately-owned farm close to Timisoara in Romania, demonstrated how the tractor’s awesome 427kW and performance enhancing features, coupled with Grégoire Besson’s massive new XXL discs, offers unrivalled output in demanding conditions.

“While this record sets a new landmark in productivity, it actually represents a typical day’s cultivating for this equipment,” says Richard Miller, marketing manager for Challenger Tracked Tractors. “Both the tractor and the discs are specially designed and built for this type of high-output operation. Challenger MT875Bs consistently deliver work rates similar to those achieved in the record.” Meeting the challenge The Challenger MT875B, currently the world’s most powerful tracked tractor, is equipped with a 427kW, 18,1ℓ capacity, Caterpillar C18 engine and a 16F/4R powershift transmission. Key to its exceptional productivity are its Mobil-Trac rubber track units. At 240cm between the axles, the tracks have the longest wheelbase in the industry, ensuring they deliver maximum power to the ground.

The track units are fitted with the exclusive Opti-Ride suspension system, which not only provides the best ground contact/traction, but also offers superb comfort and safety, allowing the machine to run at high speed in the field and up to 40km/h on the road. “It isn’t only the most powerful tracked tractor in the world, it’s the most sophisticated,” claims Richard. “It’s the latest technology and electronics systems that offer users record-beating performance and economy.” Both the tractor and the discs used to set the record were entirely standard-production machines with no modifications. The Grégoire Besson XXL discs, which will be introduced at the Agritechnica Show in Germany this month, have been developed especially for the demanding conditions of Eastern and Central Europe. At 14m wide, they’re the widest in the new XXL range. “More operators are switching to high-power tractors like the Challenger,” says Matthieu Peron, marketing manager for Grégoire Besson. “These discs are designed to cope with rugged conditions, and help bring land that has been left derelict back into production.

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They’re also ideal for minimum tillage and can pull a following packer roller if required.” With eight gangs mounted on a central chassis, the 14m wide XXL uses 120 discs, each 7mm thick and 660mm in diameter. Set at 230mm spacing, these exert about 120kg of pressure per disc. For information on Challenger tractors locally, contact Jaco Stemmet of Barloworld on 082 771 7541, or e-mail [email protected]. |fw