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Some Really Funny Tractor Wheels.-Cost of Ploughing by 25 h.p. Avery.
IN A RECENT NOTE I mentioned the possibility of future trouble when the owners of sonic farm tractors might try to rim their machines along the road in the vicinity of a policeman. Just lately I have seen a description' and picture of a tractor, the wheels of which appear to consist of a somewhat swollen hub surrounded by a lot of long and more or less pointed spikes. I suppose that some kind of detachable rim would be provided for road work. In the field this collection of spikes in the place of a wheel is supposed to assist the process of tillage as well as -to secure adhesion. I have witnessed trials— properly organised—in which tractors fitted with 6 into 9 in. spikes have been asked to run on a recently manured gradient. The spikes have merely acted as collectors of lumps of manure, so that in the course of a few minutes the wheel has become to all intents and purposes a manure-tyred wheel with iron spikes embedded as a. sort of reinforcement. In view of this experience, I am very doubtful as to whether a sort of porcupine construction of wheel is going to prove practicable from the point of view of farmers in this country, though I am, of course, open to conviction.
Cost ot Ploughing by 25 h.p. Avery.
For some time I have been in touch with the user of a 25 h.p. Avery, and am enabled to divulge some figures of operation, which are based upon the results of a season's working. I have reduced these to shillings and pence per acre, and by adding the necessary corrections for depreciation, maintenance, interest on first cost and so on, have evolved a figure for actual cost per acre, using a tractor of this type, which can safely be taken as a basis for discussion.
The machine has been emplofed, ploughing and cultivating, on various classes of soil in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. It has given very satisfactory service, and has involved its owner in practically no expense as regards repairs. In the heavy, adhesive clayey loam which is found in that district, and known locally as four-horse land (since it necessitates the use of four horses to pull the ordinary singlefurrow plough), this tractor has been cutting three furrows at a time. On ordinary two-and three-horse land it will, except in unusual circumstances, pull four furrows. The average acreage per day ploughed is six. When cultivating, double this acreage has been tilled per. day. All this work has been done on fields comparatively .email in area, which circumstance militates somewhat against the tractor, owing to the frequency with which it has to turn. On larger fields, having a minimum length of, say, 300 yards, one acre per hOur can be averaged with the four-furrow plough. My friend pays his driver 35s. a week,.and ploughman 25s. a week, with the usual time-and-aquarter alloWance for a.ny 'overtime. On this basis the following table gives the cost per acre in detail.
Of the two columns of figures the first is the one which will most generally be found to;apply, as it refers to medium pair-horse and three-horse land, The second column gives the cost .of ploughing heavy clayey soils in adverse circumstances.
The figure for depreciation depends on the life of the tractor and may be subject, on ascertained data, to be as high as 7s. 6d. per acre.
Tractors on Small Farms.
The .question has frequently been launched as to the smallest-sized farm on which a tractor can be economically employed and, as a general thing, American experience indicates that a moderate-sized tractor could be quite economically worked on farms of from 100 to 150 acres. But it is interesting to note that in a recent letter to the "Farmers' Review," an American farming journal, a farmer said that a tractor was a success on nine acres. only. He uses a 5-10 h.p. tractor, quite a small Outfit, capable of doing the work of a team of four or five and pulling a couple of light ploughs. He raises celery, onions and lettuce, and he uses this tractor to do all his ploughing and working the ground. He finds it cheaper than a team of horses, and, in addition to Using it for cultivating his ground, he uses it to haul his crops te the road, where they are loaded on to his motor truck for conveyance to destination. He says that no horses whatever are now in use on his farm. His opinion is that "there is a tractor for every sized farm." AGRI/507.