Before adding ballast to your tractor, consider these important factors to attain optimum performance:
Total tractor weight and static weight split (percent of static weight on front and rear axles)
Type of ballast used (cast weight or liquid)
Tire inflation pressures
Type of front axle (2WD, standard MFWD, or MFWD with Triple-Link Suspension™ II)
What is correct ballast?
Use no more ballast than necessary and adjust ballast as tractor use changes. For correct ballast, measure amount of travel reduction (percent slip) of the drive wheels. Under normal field conditions, travel reduction should be 10-15 percent (8-12 for MFWD tractors). Add more weight to drive wheels if slip is excessive. If there is less than minimum percent slip, ballast should be removed unless needed for stability. Correct ballast allows for most efficient use of tractor's available power and will not make up for an implement that is too big for the tractor. Adding ballast will not improve performance if engine speed falls below rated speed and/or wheel slip is not beyond the recommended range.
Pulling a lighter load at a higher speed is more economical and more efficient than pulling heavier loads at a lower speed. Too little ballast or too much ballast can cause excessive wheel spin, soil compaction, power loss, increased tire wear, and increased fuel consumption, thus lowering productivity.
Factors determining amount of ballast
Soil surface—loose or firm
Type of implement—integral/semi-integral or towed
Travel speed—slow or fast
Tractor power output—partial or full load
Tires—single or dual; small or large
Type of front axle (2WD, standard MFWD, or MFWD with Triple-Link Suspension II)
IMPORTANT: Tractor weight exceeding heavy ballast limits should be avoided and may void the warranty due to ''overload'' conditions. To extend drivetrain life, never add ballast that results in continuous full power loads below 4.1 mph (6.6 km/h).
Ballast should be limited by the lowest of either tire capacity or tractor capacity. Carrying capacity of each tire should not be exceeded. If a greater amount of weight is needed, a larger single tire or duals should be considered. To extend drivetrain life and avoid excessive soil compaction and rolling resistance, avoid adding too much ballast.
What is the recommended weight split?
What type of ballast?
Tractor should be weighed to accurately determine amount and type of ballast needed. Weight should be distributed depending on how tractor is equipped and the conditions in which it will be operated.
IMPORTANT: Ideal weight split with MFWD is 35 percent front, 65 percent rear of total tractor weight.
Ballast the tractor with cast weights to arrive at recommended total tractor weight and correct weight split.
- Total tractor weight should be 120 to 145 lb per PTO horsepower, with 130 lb being most common.
- Weight split recommendations front to rear.
* Front weight requirements are determined by the weight of the hitch-mounted implement. Enough front weight needs to be added to maintain steering control of the tractor. If equipped with AutoTracTM system, 40 percent front and 60 percent rear weight split.
IMPORTANT: For power hop control, MFWD tractors should be ballasted to achieve a 35/65 front to rear weight split.
When using cast weights, refer to Rear Wheel Weights in the Attachments section to obtain ordering information.
Liquid ballast should be avoided in rear tires since it has a stiffening effect that causes the tractor to ride rough and generally reduces ability to control power hop. If liquid is used in the rear tires, all tires on the axle must be filled to the same level, which should not exceed 40 percent fill (4 o'clock valve stem position).
NOTE: Radial-ply and bias-ply tires use same ballasting procedures.
Correct inflation pressure
Inflate tires to correct pressure to carry load on each axle for optimum tractive performance. See operator's manual
IMPORTANT: Tire inflation pressures and ballasting may need to be changed when operating conditions change. For example, when tractor is being used with hitch-mounted implements, rear tire inflation may need to be increased from the recommended levels for pull-type implements and decreased when removing hitch-mounted implements.
What type of front axle and transmission?
Tractors equipped with two-wheel drive
Ballast should never exceed the weight required to provide traction for continuous full power loads in B-2 (PowrQuad™ PLUS) in two-wheel drive operation.
Tractors equipped with MFWD
Tractors with MFWD should have adequate ballast to properly load front wheels. Remove ballast when it is no longer needed. When using front-wheel drive, ballast may be increased to allow continuous full power operation in B-1 (PowrQuad PLUS or AutoQuad™ PLUS).
Tractors equipped with IVT™ transmission
Over ballasting will not cause the engine to labor due to the automatic shifting capability of the IVT transmission. Apply the same guidelines for determining maximum ballast in order to extend drivetrain life and to avoid excessive soil compaction.