Limit Power-Hop On Your Tractor

In farming, productivity means profitability, and when your tractor isn’t performing like it should, it could mean lost dollars. One factor that can severely inhibit productivity is power hop — a bouncing effect a tractor sometimes experiences when pulling a high draw-bar load. By understanding what causes power hop, however, farmers can better diagnose the problem and make minor adjustments to correct it.

One of the major causes of power hop is unfortunately out of the farmer’s control — soil type. Power hop has been found to be most common in dry, loose soils, where traction is harder to obtain than in a high-moisture soil. Fortunately for farmers, all the other known causes of power hop can be addressed through adjustments to overall tractor weight, weight distribution and tire inflation pressures.

Overall tractor weight
Insufficient overall tractor weight for the horsepower is one of the major causes of power hop. Every tractor manufacturer has different recommendations on weight-to-horsepower ratios, but these recommendations generally fall somewhere between 100 pounds per horsepower and 145 pounds per horsepower. In other words, a 450-horsepower tractor should weigh somewhere between 45,000 and 65,250 pounds. Where your tractor falls within this range is dependent upon average speed during heaviest draft operations and whether the tractor is a mechanical front wheel drive (MFWD) or four wheel drive (4WD).

As a general rule, the slower the average speed of a tractor, the higher the weight-to-horsepower ratio should be. MFWD tractors generally have a higher recommended weight-to-horsepower ratio than 4WD tractors. So, a 4WD tractor traveling at high average speeds (5.5 mph or more)

 

should fall within the lower end of the aforementioned weight-to-horsepower ratio spectrum, whereas a MFWD tractor traveling at low average speeds (4.5 mph or less) should fall within the higher end of the spectrum.

In order for a farmer to determine the most appropriate weight-to-horsepower ratio for his or her tractor, it’s best to consult with the tractor manufacturer, as each company’s recommendation will differ slightly based on type of tractor and average speed. If it is ultimately determined that the tractor is underweight, it is recommended that the farmer add cast ballast to achieve the proper ratio. Liquid ballast has been shown to increase tire stiffness, which can increase susceptibility to power hop.

Weight distribution
Even more important than overall tractor weight is the way the weight is distributed between front and rear axles. Without proper weight distribution, a tractor is far more susceptible to the bouncing and swaying motions of power hop. Similar to overall tractor weight, proper recommendations on weight distribution will again differ between MFWD and 4WD tractors.

The general rule for MFWD tractors without suspension is that 30 to 35 percent of overall tractor weight should remain on the front axle and 65 to 70 percent on the rear. For 4WD tractors, 51 to 55 percent of overall weight should remain on the front axle and 45 to 49 percent on the rear.

Exact recommendations may differ between tractor manufacturers and could be influenced slightly by type of implement. Again, it’s best practice for farmers to consult with the manufacturer to arrive at the best solution. One important thing to consider when adjusting weight distribution, however, is that adding weight to an axle also increases overall tractor weight. A farmer should be cognizant of this while making any adjustments.

Tire inflation pressures
Inflation pressures can also play a part in susceptibility to power hop. As a general rule, the stiffer the tire, the more susceptibility there will be to power hop. So, for optimum performance, it is recommended that farmers adjust their inflation pressures to the lowest possible pressure for the static load, as recommended in the Tire and Rim Association’s (TRA) inflation pressure tables.
 

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

Cotton Production

UAVs Could Be Game Changers for Growers and Consultants

June 2, 2014

There’s an increasing buzz in the air as the number of potential commercial uses for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles continues to grow.

Crop Inputs

Increase Irrigation Efficiency – and Profit – with LEPA System

August 7, 2014

A recent AgriLife Research study showed that growers who were not utilizing LEPA sprinkler systems in their irrigation program could be losing up to $100 per acre in yield.

Cotton Production

John Deere Updates Round Module Building Cotton Picker for 2015

August 7, 2014

For 2015, John Deere has updated its on-board round module building CP690 (previously known as 7760) Cotton Picker with increased power, performance and uptime.

Crop Inputs

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Irrigation and Foliar Disease Management

July 18, 2014

Two new webcasts focusing on crop protection and irrigation management have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Cotton Production

Get the Buzz on UAVs at Delta AgTech Symposium July 7-8

May 15, 2014

If you want to know how UAVs could impact your farming operation or business, check out the Delta AgTech Symposium: Advancing UAVs in Agriculture July 7-8 in Memphis, TN.

Cotton Production

New Broadcast Spray-Hoods Help Reduce Drift, Improve Coverage

March 28, 2014

A new line of broadcast spray-hoods will offer growers greater drift control while also improving the spray coverage and efficacy of the chemicals being applied.

Cotton Production

Protect Your Profits: Revolutionary Harvesters Could Save You Money

January 8, 2014

As 2014 begins, it’s clear that cotton growers will be looking for cost-cutting efficiencies to help them remain productive and profitable, regardless of acreage and/or market prices. Our Cotton Grower editors recently outlined five topics to help growers protect their

Around The Gin

Product News

Platform Specialty Products to Acquire Arysta LifeScience as Component for New Company

October 21, 2014

Platform Specialty Products has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Arysta LifeScience for approximately $3.51 billion.

Product News

PhytoGen Partners with Farmers to Aid Local Charities

October 17, 2014

Since becoming a partner in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program three years ago, PhytoGen has made donations to 25 charities on behalf of state farmers of the year.

Product News

Enlist Duo Herbicide Approved; Enlist Weed Control System Now Cleared for Use

October 16, 2014

The Enlist Weed Control System from Dow AgroSciences has been approved for field use in corn and soybeans in 2015 by federal regulatory authorities, with introduction in cotton still scheduled for 2016.

News

Registration for 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Opens as Program Takes Shape

October 3, 2014

Registration now is open for the 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 5-7 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, TX.

Product News

October 10 Deadline for Public Comments on Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System Plants

September 25, 2014

The public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for cotton and soybean plants for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System will remain open through October 10.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Marketing

First Class Selected for Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame

September 8, 2014

Five honorees have been elected to the first class of Cotton Incorporated’s newly-established Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame.

Crop Inputs

FMC to Acquire Cheminova

September 8, 2014

Auriga Industries has agreed to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary Cheminova to FMC Corporation.

Latest News

Crop Inputs

Increase Irrigation Efficiency – and Profit – with LEPA System

August 7, 2014

A recent AgriLife Research study showed that growers who were not utilizing LEPA sprinkler systems in their irrigation program could be losing up to $100 per acre in yield.

Crop Inputs

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Irrigation and Foliar Disease Management

July 18, 2014

Two new webcasts focusing on crop protection and irrigation management have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Cotton Production

UAVs Could Be Game Changers for Growers and Consultants

June 2, 2014

There’s an increasing buzz in the air as the number of potential commercial uses for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles continues to grow.

Cotton Production

Get the Buzz on UAVs at Delta AgTech Symposium July 7-8

May 15, 2014

If you want to know how UAVs could impact your farming operation or business, check out the Delta AgTech Symposium: Advancing UAVs in Agriculture July 7-8 in Memphis, TN.

Cotton Production

John Deere Introduces New Module-Building CS690 Cotton Stripper

April 7, 2014

Innovative design speeds harvest, reduces labor and downtime, protects yields and increases operator comfort.

Cotton Production

New Broadcast Spray-Hoods Help Reduce Drift, Improve Coverage

March 28, 2014

A new line of broadcast spray-hoods will offer growers greater drift control while also improving the spray coverage and efficacy of the chemicals being applied.

Cotton Production

Protect Your Profits: Revolutionary Harvesters Could Save You Money

January 8, 2014

As 2014 begins, it’s clear that cotton growers will be looking for cost-cutting efficiencies to help them remain productive and profitable, regardless of acreage and/or market prices. Our Cotton Grower editors recently outlined five topics to help growers protect their

Cotton Production

Protect Your Profits: Save Money and Time with Remote Management Irrigation

January 3, 2014

As 2014 begins, it’s clear that cotton growers will be looking for cost-cutting efficiencies to help them remain productive and profitable, regardless of acreage and/or market prices. Our Cotton Grower editors recently outlined five topics to help growers protect their

Crop Inputs

AGCO Launches New Customer Support Service

January 2, 2014

AGCO has established the Fuse Contact Center, a new customer support resource to assist customers with setup, calibration and operation of AGCO precision agriculture and machine communication technology products. In North America, customers can reach the Fuse Contact Center by

Cotton Production

Valley Irrigation Offers New Cable Theft Deterrent Product

December 30, 2013

Valley Irrigation is adding the innovative Proof Positive Span Cable to its line of cable theft deterrent products. Copper theft is a global epidemic, and agricultural irrigation equipment is particularly vulnerable to copper theft. Thieves often grab long spans of

Cotton Production

Handle Round Modules With Care

September 6, 2013

On-board module builders have been a boon to cotton producers in terms of time, cost savings and efficiency. And as much as the equipment has impacted harvest time in the field, its quick adoption by growers has also led to

Cotton Production

Growers Struggle with Resale of Traditional Cotton Pickers

July 15, 2013

As far as roadside scenery goes, old farm equipment isn’t the most pleasant sight. . But in recent years, traditional four- and six-row cotton pickers featuring “For Sale” signs have begun to spring up along roadsides throughout the Cotton Belt. Cotton producers

Equipment

The Evolution of the U.S. Ginning Industry

July 1, 2013

If Eli Whitney could walk into a modern cotton gin, he might have a hard time recognizing his contribution to the industry. But he would probably also be fascinated with its evolution, speed and efficiency. Much like the production side

Equipment

New Products Minimize Energy and Water Consumption

November 28, 2012

Given all of the uncertainty mills have to deal with on a daily basis – such as the price of their raw materials on one end of the chain and changing consumer preferences on the other – any aspects of

Equipment

New Holland Becomes Official Ag Equipment of NASCAR

September 18, 2012

In a joint announcement at the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council meeting in Chicago, New Holland became the Official Agricultural Equipment of NASCAR. New Holland, the latest NASCAR Official Partner, has served the needs of farmers and ranchers across North