Floating New Holland tractor

Visitors to New Holland’s Dutch legendary days event last weekend enjoyed watching a T5.85 drive into the water.

by Steven Vale

9 Jul 2019

Shod with Mitas tyres (710/65R30 front/1250/50R32 rear), even though the wider boots increased the weight of the tractor to around the 5.0t mark, the T5 had no trouble at all staying afloat and complete a circuit in the murky water.

The tractor was supplied by Dutch New Holland dealer Hoogendoorn, which fit the tyres and moved the battery to a higher and drier position. They were not sure how deep the tractor would sit in the water, so a breather hose was added to the diesel tank filler cap.

Otherwise, there were no other modifications, but it was a nail biting time for all concerned when the tractor first drove into the water. They need not have worried because the bottom of the cab sat about 20cm above the water line.

Main drawbacks of the wider boots included increasing the width of the tractor to 4.5m. Also, the 2.0m height of the rear ones severely restricted the opening of the cab door, while the front ones greatly reduced the steering angle.

The T5 is now back at Hoogendoorn (based at Houten to the south of Amsterdam) and is being reunited with its standard tyres. The oils will be checked to ensure they are water free, after which the tractor will be put on the forecourt. It remains to be seen whether a Dutch home will be found for the tyres on a larger tractor or self-propelled machine.

When it comes to publicity, driving a tractor in the water is not a new stunt if you recall the County Seahorse. Claas did much the same a few years ago in the Netherlands with a 4.0t Axos 320 (Mitas 1250/50R32s rear and 750/55R30s front), and visitors to last year’s North American Farm Progress show saw a New Holland T4.110 in the water.

Fitted with Mitas 1000/50R25 (front) and 1250/50R32 (rear) tyres, the nearly 6.0t T4 had no trouble staying afloat in the 2.5m-deep water.