1987 - Volume #11, Issue #2, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Illinois Farmer Finds Many Uses For Pontoon Tractor WheelsWhen Illinois farmer T. J. Shambaugh, of Oakley, first saw steel pontoon wheels while on a trip into Arkansas rice country, he decided they had application for certain jobs back home on his central Illinois farm.
He's used them for the past five years for such jobs as double cropping (interseeding soybeans into standing wheat), for nailing tall weeds in narrow-row soybeans with a "weed wiper" bar, and for rotary ditching to drain low spots.
Shambaugh bought the wheels from Hedges Mfg. Co., of Weiner, Ark., which specializes in custom building them to fit specific tractor makes and models. No modification of the tractor itself is required to mount the pontoon wheels, says Shambaugh.
"They're virtually unstoppable in mud or snow," he points out. "On dry ground, however, they provide less traction than regular wheels and tires. I put them on and take them off as needed. Takes me about a half hour to change wheels, using the tractor loader."
The "waterproof' pontoon wheels are 12 in. wide at the axle and taper down to a 2 in. width at the outer circumference. You don't have to have a powered front end tractor to use them," says Shambaugh. "You can drive them down the road and from field to field, but they do ride rough. When used in narrow 10-in. wide soybean rows, they do very little damage to the bean plants."
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