AgTrac Services is a high powered contracting outfit that has become expert in putting together a fleet of models that has ensured it always has a continued stream of customers
Cropping contractors Sam, Chris and David Haworth run AgTrac Services and jointly work across more than 25,000ha of ground in the West Wyalong region of NSW.
Now the brothers have been thrust into the spotlight as they are poised to be one of the first owners of a John Deere 2022 year 9 Series tractor to receive delivery here.
The brothers placed an order for two John Deere 9R 590 wheel tractors as soon as order books opened.
Their decision to buy the two 9R 590 tractors was a strategic move to grow the power, intelligence and productivity of the models behind their successful contracting business, AgTrac Services, first established by them in 2008.
Behind this purchase, Sam Haworth said, “We were looking for bigger equipment to cover more hectares, operator comfort and ease of use.”
“This purchase will complete our fleet and complement the equipment we have, to maximise our efficiency of operation.” Sam concluded.
The Haworths’ actually got a jump on everybody else, they were able to put a demo 9R 520 tractor to work sowing wheat for a client as part of a demonstration day organised by their local John Deere dealer.
Sam was immediately taken by the extra power delivered by the John Deere PowerTech PSS 13.6-litre engine and its ability to seamlessly connect to AgTrac’s John Deere 1890 Disc Seeder.
The John Deere 9R 590 can produce power for draft work at 458kW (623hp) with a power boost taking the power up to 477kW (649hp).
“With the extra power and increased frame weight I noticed straight away any wheel slip
was greatly reduced, which was an instant improvement,” Sam said.
“This meant I could pull the bar at a more constant speed which markedly improves productivity overall.”
To accommodate the extra power of the 9R 590, the weight of the tractor and the
maximum available ballast on selected models in the 9R and 9RX Series has increased from 27,200 to 30,300 kg, putting power straight to the ground.
On top of this, several undercarriage components, including the axle and front-frame, have been strengthened across the 9R and four-track 9RX models.
The John Deere 9R 590 tractors, soon to be part of the AgTrac Services’ contracting business, can also be ordered with hydraulic Intelligent Power Management (IPM).
This delivers an extra power up to 37kW (50hp) into high hydraulic demand applications, aligning with the Haworth brothers’ overarching need for more power and productivity.
Workhorse offers a touch of comfort
Running a full fleet of John Deere equipment, AgTrac’s team of six full-time and five seasonal
workers provides sowing, spraying, spreading and harvesting services.
Their customer base includes a large area of the Central NSW cropping region, known for production of canola, wheat, barley, chickpea and faba bean.
AgTrac’s current fleet includes four 9R 470 tractors, a 9R 570, two 8R 320s, three 1910
Tow-Behind Air Commodity Carts, two 1890 Disc Seeders, four S780 and one S670 Combine Harvesters.
Each machine is pivotal to supporting AgTrac’s varied client portfolio that encompasses two large corporate farming aggregates, as well as smaller family-owned farms.
Given the scale of the business and round-the-clock nature of peak sowing and harvesting periods, Sam said operator comfort was crucial across the machinery fleet and that he immediately noticed the larger, restyled cab that houses a heated massage chair in the 9R 520.
“As it’s an all-electric chair, it’s very easy to fine-tune the overall position, similar to an electric seat in a car, and the fact you can give yourself a massage is a bonus. All these small changes make for a better experience all round for the operator during long shifts,” he said.
The machine’s visibility has also been enhanced with the Ultimate Cab Package, as the chair
can swivel 25 degrees to the left and 40 degrees to the right, while noise has been reduced to help mitigate operator fatigue.
Brains and brawn part of the package
Although the brawn of the 9R 590 is what initially attracted the Haworth brothers to the tractor, Sam said the machinery’s brains, were also important given the need for AgTrac
Services to have a connected fleet.
All 9 Series tractors come factory fitted with JDLink connectivity, plus, Generation 4
CommandCenter display, AutoTrac guidance and free access to the John Deere
“The John Deere Operations Centre is very important to our business,” Sam said.
“Overall, it helps us keep a gauge on productivity and efficiency, and it makes it really easy to
see straight away where everyone is at in the paddock.”
Since its inception, AgTrac Services has exclusively run with John Deere, and has streamlined training for new team members given the consistency of operations across the fleet.
“The challenges our business has faced are centred around staffing and this has been made
even more difficult during COVID-19, as we haven’t had access to as many casual workers,” Sam said.
“With our bigger machinery we will be able to cover more hectares with less equipment and the ease-of-use in our new 9 Series will also assist with training.
“Using the equipment we have, we are hoping to find the right operators, and to now focus on getting the most out of our machinery to drive productivity.” Sam concluded.