The name of the customer and the crop are under wraps, but what we can tell you is that custom drop housings on the Hi-Crop kit elevate the existing axles by up to 350mm, which when combined with the recommended wheels and tyres gains over 500mm of extra height (nearly 90% more than the manufacturer’s standard).

Based in Ashford, County Driveline Engineering began when its parent company, the MJ Allen Group, rescued the name and active intellectual property rights from the long-standing Knighton-based County Tractors, and then proceeded to develop prototype Hi-Crop kits.

Fitted to an MXU100, the first 2wd kit was ready for testing in July 2006. Shipped directly to CNH in Basildon for evaluation, a few design updates followed ahead of the sale of the first commercial unit in 2008.

The first 4wd kit was developed for a Case IH Maxxum in 2011 and the first 4wd kit for a New Holland tractor was fitted to a T6000 in January 2012. Due to market trends and customer demand, County no longer makes a Hi-Crop kit for 2wd tractors.

The conversion takes a couple of days in a typical workshop. “The Hi-Crop solution is so effective that we have never heard of a tractor ever being returned to its original specification, although this is easily doable,” comments Mr Thornton.

The wide variety of different crops that can benefit from the high-clearance treatment include brassicas, celery, fennel, maize and sugar cane, and the company recently received a request for a Hi-Crop kit to convert and existing tractor to accommodate state-of-the-art robotic harvesting equipment, that would not have been possible without additional clearance.

Germany is currently the most important export market where Hi-Crop is popular with asparagus growers. It is also popular with Dutch bulb and flower growers and tractors have been converted in Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The popularity is not limited to Europe and the company ships its kits to far away destinations, including North America, Australia, Panama, Uzbekistan and New Zealand.

Currently supplying around a dozen Hi-Crop kits a year (prices start from around £23,000), the most popular model for conversion is the New Holland T6.155AC. County has plans to greatly increase on these numbers, and not just overseas and hopes that the first Hi-Crop kit active in the UK will be followed by many more.

The profi team is curious to know why it has taken so long for the British engineering and manufacturing company to supply the first kit to the UK. “As a business, County traditionally looked to support developing sugar cane, forestry and cash-crop markets,” comments County Driveline Engineering’s programme manager Michael Thornton. “However, the high quality of the latest 72″ track width kit is well suited to the UK market.

The company has just launched another high-clearance kit for CNH tractors, this time for SWB models of the Case IH Puma and New Holland T7. Both are on a fixed 80” track width (60, 72 and 80” track width are available for all Maxxum and T6 tractors). Looking ahead, plans to develop Hi-Crop conversion kits for other tractor brands are in the design phase and currently being developed.