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Valuable American Tests. Selling-off Government Tractors. Irish Farmers and Conversion Sets.
At the recent demonstration-of tractors at Salina, Kansas, official brake tests were made on the belt pulley of the different machines entered, as well as dynamometer tests of drawbar pull. This is the first time on record that such teats have been made and from the description of the way in which they were carried out, thpay would appear to have been very efficiently taken. When the official report of the trials is issned these figures will be given and it will be exceedingly interesting and wiltiable to compare the figures with those claimed for the different tractors by their respective producers ; and I hope that when, after the war, the long-talked-of tractor trials are held in this country, this will fOrm a prominent feature of the ,work.
The occasion of these trials, too, was taken advantage of for conducting a public trial of another kind, and as it is the first test of this character which has been carried obt, a note on the result -will be interesting. It was a 100-hour
teat of the Parrett tractor—which is now becoming known on British farms —the intention having been to have 100 hours continuous ploughing without / stoppage of any kind. This intention ' was carried out with the exception. of a period of 13 hrs. 28 mins., during which time the maehine had to be stopped, as a heavy storm so saddened the ground that it was impossible to work the ploughs ; so the machine was stopped during that period, but the engine was kept running idly at 350 revs., and the machine appears to have come out of the test quite satisfactorily. The motor was in operation 103 hrs. 19 mins. and the number of acres ploughed was 77. The sail was part "gumbo "—the heaviest soil found in the States—and had never before been ploughed deeper than 3 ins., the ploughing being done with tame 14-in. ploughs at an average depth of 6.36, ins, and the fuel consumption, including the time the tractor was not actually ploughing, owing to the rain, adjustment of ploughs, et-a—which time amounted to 22 hrs. 36 mins. 30 secs.—was 2.66 gallons (U.S. gallons) per acre. Au examination which was officially made of the engine showed it, to be in good order and not unduly carbonized.
As the time draws utar for—we hope—the end. of the war, the motor trade has been exercised as to what is going to be done with the huge war fleets of motor lorries and ears when the Army is disbanded, and how their disposal is likaly to affect the prospects of the reconstruction of the iadaatry. We have beentold all sorts of thiags as to how the Government proposes to deal, with the disposal of these army cast-offs, and that care will be taken that the interests of the manufacturers will not be prejudiced. If what is happening in the tractor business is any criterion, the motor trade will bein for a bad time, As my readers know, last year the Government bought. up a considerable number of tractors of all kinds and then rushed into a contract for 6000.Fordsons. Now that these arc here, it finds it has more than it wanbs and has let it be known for some time that most of the others are open for offers.. Apparently, the farming community are not. taking to: these east-offs' readily enough,for 'a friend of mine was in the Eastern Counties recently and saw bills announcing an auction sale of Government tractors, to the num
her of about 40, and I am told that this is being done all over the country. Needless to say, it is not doing the trade in new tractors any good 'and, if this is the procedure which *HI be adopted -after the war with the thousands of ears and wagons and the tractorswhich have been hauling the big guns about, the industry all round will be in for a bad. time and our. motor trade organizations should take steps to prevent the adoption of this policy if possible.
A year ago before Government control destroyed all enterprise in connection'svith tractors, there were many tractor ploughing demonstrations, but now they are few and far between. Yet they were very valuable as proving to the public the practicability of the machines and iving the farming community the opportunity of seeing the strange teams actually at work and judging of the quality of the work done. With the commencement of the 1918-19 season a little of this educative work is again being done, and the illustration on the next page shows a Traeford conversion set attached to a Ford chassis, working a twofurrow plough on an Essex farm near Maidon, the trial having been carried out by Mr. Girling, of Maldon, the local agent for the outfit, to demonstrate to a sceptical customer that the outfit would pull a double plough 'through the stiff soil of the district, which test it came through .successfully. Last week, in Ireland, a new .form of demonstration was carried out, whieh is interesting as, hitherto, practically all demonstrations which have been held have been of ploughing. Iii this case, however, the trials were carried out to give north Irish farmers theopportunity of seeing how tractors could help them in their harvesting work. It was Mr. John Drennan, of Carse Hall, Limavady, an, enterprising Irish farmer, who gave the agriculturists of the district the chance of seeing what tractors could do towards gettingin their crops quickly. The demonstration was carried out on a 38.acre field of oats, on the slob land between the Midland Railway and the River Foyle, near Limavady Junction. The ground was in good condition, and the crop a heavy one, in good standing, and demonstrations were given with three types of machine. The largest of these was 4 16 h.p. Mogul tractor, which was hitched to a No. 5 Massey-Harris
reaper and binder. It did its work well, consuming fuel at the rate of 12 gallons per 10-hour day, and, travelling at about 3 m.p.h., did its work at the rate of an acre an hour, or ten acres a day, there being few short turn i to make owing to the size of the field, so that there was little lost time. The second outfit employed was a Ford car with Tracford conversion set attached. This also was hitched up to a Massey-Harris No 5 reaper and binder, which it handled easily, and, going away at a 5 m.p.h. pace, cut up the crop at the rate of 15 acres per day. This machine was demonstrated by Messrs. Roberts and Sons, of the Henley Tyre and Motor Aecessories Depot, Londonderry, the Irish agents for the machine, and the third tractor demonstrated was the Fordson, which was shown by the local agents, the Alexander Motor Co., of Derry. This machine, working with a similar reaper and binder to the other* made,aboot the same speed as the Tracford, and also had no difficulty in mak ing a good showing with the work, and the demonstration on the whole was considered to be very satisfactory. This demonstration was interesting and valuable, as showing that for the lighter work of agriculture, light, cheap equipments, such as these tractor conversions, will, by reason of their greater speed, do much more work in a given time than will the more powerful, but_ slower-moving tractors of the heavier
type. • AGRIMOT.