Gramlow tacks rubber tracks and GPS onto planter

If the local dealer can’t supply GPS steerable OEM factory rubber tracks, aftermarket companies like Gramlow probably can

When plans for a rubber-tracked GPS-guided steerable corn planter bog down because the dealer can’t find the parts, help might be available from Gramlow Ltd.

“Centre sections on planters are too heavy much of the time. The original tires aren’t up to carrying the full load,” says Richard Gramlow, co-owner of Gramlow in Fullerton, North Dakota.

He said a centre section with inadequate tires will lead to soil compaction, poor depth control, pinching and getting stuck if conditions are wet. Rubber tracks are just beginning to show up on the largest prairie air drills, but the trend seems to have missed corn planters.

“We put rubber tracks under the centre section of your planter to give it a bigger footprint. It also eliminates the pinch row effect you get between tires. But we don’t see any reason to put tracks on the wings,” he said.

“We spent four years developing that steerable hitch system. It gives your planter full implement steering according to guidance instructions from your existing GPS system. We build our rubber track kits to be extremely heavy duty because we know they’ll be used in strip till operations. Strip till requires a high degree of guidance accuracy, so we’ve made a steerable axle available for most planters. And it all has to be extra strong.”

Gramlow said the track kit for CNH 1265 can be set up with either fixed or steered axles. Gramlow removes the tires and installs a pair of 25 inch wide tracks.

Available track spacing options are 100, 110 and 120 inches. Planters with steered axles do not lose that steering feature.

On the John Deere 1770NT, Gramlow replaces four frame mounted tires with a pair of 16.5 inch wide tracks, giving the centre four times the footprint of the tires.

The increased load capacity allows the producer to install other attachments, such as fertilizer coulters. Gramlow figures it takes the average customer about two days to install the kit on a 24-row planter.

Kits are also available for steerable axles and fixed axles on the Deere/Bauer planters.

Five widths are available from 16.5 to 25 inches wide. Track spacing options are 100, 110 and 120 inches.

“Centre sections with tracks swivel into the normal transit position, same as with tires, because all we’ve done is bolt tracks on where the factory tires had been,” he said.

That feature of the centre section doesn’t change at all.”

Gramlow has also built carts for cone bottom tanks. A typical design carries two, 1,600 gallon tanks. The rear pair of 22-inch-wide tracks exert 13 pounds per sq. inch on the soil when both tanks are full. The single 16.5 inch wide track at the front exerts 10 p.s.i.

The tracks are all Camopast Flexhaul. Gramlow buys the rubber belts and then builds the carriages that support the tracks for each specific machine.

“The tracks you see with the rubber carved out of the middle are for very narrow row spacing,” he said.

“Camopast doesn’t make it that way. That’s something we do for the customer. The treads run between the rows and the carved out area runs over a row so the soil isn’t compacted or affected by the tracks. The row unit is located right behind the tracks, so wherever the tracks go, the row unit goes also. In this case, the row unit follows right behind the carved out groove, so seed or fertilizer applied in that area will not be affected by the track.”

Gramlow said his company wants to work with other companies interested in developing better guidance systems and rubber track systems for more implements.

One of his latest partnership projects is a Montag application unit that can be used just for applying fertilizer or switched over to a planter.

The 60-foot-wide Integra Frame toolbar comes from yet a different company.

For more information, contact Gramlow at 701-375-6330 or visit www.gramlowltd.com.

Contact ron.lyseng@producer.com

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