How to Change Machine Height

A tractor is a significant investment for any farmer, so you want to get it right the first time. However, even if you’ve done your homework and chosen the ideal machine, there are times when you may need to change tractor height.

This change can be permanent when you switch to a different type of crop or temporary—just until you finish a particular operation. Plus, changing your tractor’s height may bring you a better price on it if you want to sell it in another market.

There are countless ways to leverage machine height change, ideally, with minimal investment and optimal results. It will come as no surprise that the primary way to adjust machine height is by changing wheel and tire configuration, often with custom wheels and tires.

When Tractor Height Needs to be Changed 

There are a lot of cases when the tractor height needs to be adjusted. As wheel and tire experts, here are the cases we see most often.

When You Use the Machine for More than One Type of Crop

Some farmers don’t use their machines for a single type of crop. Even if they focus on the same crop for a few years, they will still face the need to change the tractor height and other features when they inevitably change crops.

As you use different implements in the field, you might need different tractor heights. Changing the wheels and tires is the easiest way to get the precise drawbar height you want without any other complicated or expensive customizations.

Similarly, when you use the same tractor for clearing fields and operating an orchard, changing the tires is how you can customize height according to the type of work you need to perform. 

When You Need to Work on Crops of Different Heights

You may need to raise your machine’s height to go over shorter crops, like lettuce or strawberry. When you use your machine to run in trenches, you need to make sure you’re accounting for row width and plant height. 

On the other hand, working in an orchard requires keeping the machine height lower to avoid clipping the trees and knocking off valuable crops.

low profile machine height
Low profile set up on a Massey Ferguson 6713 used in the almond orchards.

When You Sell the Tractor to be Used in a Different Region

Finally, since different crops and different types of soil require different machine heights, you may need to change tires if you want to sell the tractor in a different market across the country. 

How Tires Change Tractor Height

Other than adjusting the axle or doing other expensive customizations, tires are the only way to change tractor height. When you want to use the same tractor for multiple applications, expensive customizations don’t make sense.

On the other hand, Tire changes can give you the results you want with a minimal expense that’s also 100% reversible. 

Here are some examples of when a change in tires can impact your machine’s performance:

  • Wider, shorter tires are ideal for orchards to lower the tractor height and avoid knocking any of the valuable crops to the ground.
  • Taller, narrower tires work for going over crops like strawberries or lettuce. This way, the machine makes its way along the rows without the drawbar disturbing or destroying the plants.

Switching to shorter or taller tires with the same width is recommended when you need to change height but are concerned about compaction and traction.

custom wheel tire to change machine height custom wheel tire to change machine height 2
A custom tire and wheel solution for a Massey Ferguson 6713 that was tall enough to pass over a carrot crop and narrow enough to fit an 80-inch row spacing.

Whatever machinery height change you want to make, keep in mind that a tire size change can impact the tractor’s speed. Fuel consumption may also be affected by a tire and height change, especially in 4WD tractors. More often than not, these consequences are unintentional but need to be taken into consideration when changing the tires.

Who Can Help

In modern agriculture, different kinds of tires are required for different types of operations. It’s not always just about the height of the tractor. Sprayers, for instance, typically use narrow tires to reduce the damage to the crops, whereas wider tires can be safely used for a broadband application without standing crops.

The type of machine you use—as well as the type of soil and the type of crop—all should factor in your decision to change the height of the tractor using wheel and tire adjustments.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all for ag tractor height and the tires used to achieve the desired it, we recommend you speak to an expert before buying new tires. Farmers can reach out to their implement dealers and discuss the problem at length.

Each day, we talk to farm implement dealers who need our expert solutions for their customers’ problems. 

If you need professional advice on changing your tractor’s height, reach out to your implement dealer. If they’re unsure of the best solution, have them call our wheel and tire experts at AXON.

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