Tractors are like mother: down to earth, hardworking and undervalued

The landscape of American agriculture changed dramatically between 1850 and 1950 due in large part to the introduction of farm tractors. Tractors initially used steam engines, until these gave way to internal combustion engines in the 20th century. The turn-of-the-century steam engine tractor looks gigantic and primitive and uses chains on a rotating shaft to drive.

When tractors were introduced, farmers quickly discovered that engine-driven tractors were cheaper to use, compared to raising animals for farming, and tractors began to be widely sold. In many cases farm machinery dealers received cattle to barter for tractors and they in turn sold the cattle in the meat market. The Farmall is one of the earliest tractors and the most familiar and famous names in tractor history. Tractors were made to be workhorses, so niceties were minimal. This included dispensing with a fuel gauge.

Tractors are most useful for farming purposes, so a tractor or tractors have long been a must-have for farm owners, but tractors are also used in digging, in manufacturing and industry, or on construction sites. The size of the farm, the availability of labor and personalized services, the selection of crops and cultural practices, such as the choice of tillage system, affect the selection of optimal equipment and, ultimately, the number of tractors. necessary to cultivate. Although tractor power demand generally increases with farm size, many commercial farms operate efficiently with a single tractor.

Tractors are designed to operate at different ground speeds, but final drives are not designed for all possible torques theoretically available. The engine can range from 12 to 120 horsepower or more, and over the years tractors have typically been offered in the 20 to 400 horsepower range. Power from the engine is transmitted to a gearbox that typically has 4 to 10 speeds (these transmissions are shifted manually via a joystick to determine how fast the tractor can go) and through the differential gear at two large rear drive wheels. Some farm tractors can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, but slow speeds are necessary to give the farmer more control while doing field work.

Farm tractors are designed to operate with additional weight or ballast when pulling heavy loads to reduce wheel slip. Insufficient ballast can cause excessive wheel slip and increased fuel consumption. Tractors need large tires to avoid compressing the earth and prevent digging. So only the rear tires need to be really big and the front tires can be small and slick, unless the tractor has four wheel drive. Tractors used on uneven terrain have tracks mounted so that their left and right front ends go up and down independently of each other. However, ground undulations induce vibrations in the tractor and machine, reducing driver comfort and ability to control associated machinery.

Tractors are generally used to pull or, in some cases, push objects and are designed to pull large loads at slow speeds or lighter loads at higher speeds. Field speeds of up to 10 mph are typical, but grassland applications typically range from 2 to 5 mph. Tractors can be generally classified as two-wheel drive, two-wheel drive with front-wheel assist, four-wheel drive (often with articulated steering), or crawler tractors (with two or four motorized rubber tracks). .

The tractors are equipped with a hitch point under the rear axles to prevent rollover. Unfortunately some people will bind to a point above the rear axle in a foolish attempt to get more weight/traction to the drive wheels and this can lead to disaster. Also, if a tractor is used to free and tow a stuck vehicle, the operator must hitch the vehicles head-to-head and drive the tow tractor in reverse, which minimizes the risk of tipping over by transmitting the full power of the tow engine. . tractor through the chain to the other vehicle.

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