The Combine Debate: Four-Wheel Drive vs Front-Wheel Drive

By: TDS Author | Jun 12, 2014 1:44:00 PM

At Mud Hog, we set out to ask farmers what seems like an age-old question: when it comes to combines, do you prefer yours be equipped with two- or four-wheel drive? What we got were several different arguments from men and women from all throughout the country. Many of the responses we received were tied to personal experience, preferences and harvest locations. The following is a sample of what we heard.

THE ARGUMENT FOR FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE

Availability

In several regions, finding a combine equipped with four-wheel drive just isn’t worth the trouble, especially when it comes to used combines. There are simply more pre-owned front-wheel drive combines available for sale these days.

Cost

For many of the same reasons mentioned above, combines equipped with four-wheel drive can cost significantly more than their front-wheel drive counterparts, depending on the region.

Alternatives

In certain areas where soil conditions are just right, some farmers view the installation of oversized rear tires or the use of a tile plow as an alternative to four-wheel drive for pushing through damp conditions.

Tradition

For farmers in areas that receive very little rainfall, many see four-wheel drive as overkill, especially when extra traction in wet conditions is viewed as the only benefit. Others told us they believe that if a farmer needs four-wheel drive on his combine, it’s too wet to be out in the fields in the first place. 

THE ARGUMENT FOR FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE

The ability to power through muddy conditions

The most well-known advantage, having a combine equipped with four-wheel drive helps make sure you won’t find yourself stuck in the mud should conditions turn wet, delaying your harvest and costing you big money. 

Easier on combine drivetrain

Having a combine equipped with four-wheel drive puts less stress on your engine, allowing it to run cooler while helping to extend its life. Several farmers who use four-wheel drive also mentioned it’s easier on their hydraulic system.

Enhanced control

Four-wheel drive can provide better steering control in any condition – wet or dry. On top of that, a number of farmers told us four-wheel drive helps them maintain a more consistent speed going up and down hills while providing them with additional power for inclines.

Less wear on your fields

Simply put, four-wheel drive minimizes the appearance of field tracks and ruts in both wet and dry conditions.

A MUD HOG DELIVERS EVEN MORE REAL-WORLD BENEFITS

On top of what we heard from farmers, there are several other advantages associated with four-wheel drive – such as those delivered by Mud Hog axle systems – we’d like to share: 

  •        Faster harvests, with increased speed and traction in both wet and dry weather
  •        Increased combine fuel efficiency
  •        Less soil compaction, which can lead to greater crop yields
  •        Reduced wear on a combine’s front tires
  •        The ability to modify axle height and width

One thing is clear: When it comes to four-wheel drive, it’s about much more than just wet weather capabilities. On top of that, it’s fast and easy to outfit your existing combine with four-wheel drive at a price that’s much less than a brand new four-wheel drive-equipped machine. In the end, the choice is yours. Happy harvesting!