But a farmer-designed innovation looks set to offer a quicker, safer alternative to hours of changeover using forklifts for heavy tyres and rims.
The innovation, called the Multitrakpro, has been developed by Marty Hallman who farms at Rowena in northern New South Wales.
When working in cotton, 2m wheel centres are required, while the broadacre controlled traffic farming (CTF) cropping country, 3m wheel centres are employed.
This means Marty, like many other farmers, has to spend time adapting wheel spacing on his tractor to suit the configuration of each crop.
This can be heavy and dangerous work, jacking up the tractor, removing wheels for alternation. Plus it also takes a significant amount of time to complete the task.
Other options include running a second set of machinery which is not always practical or affordable, or using narrow-tracked machinery ordered from the factory to allow switching between track centre spacings.
Marty has developed an engineered hub that extends the axle to 3m but maintains the original hub bolt holes for 2m operations.
Wheels stay on the extended axle for sliding out to 3m and are unbolted on the inner 2m hub and shifted to the new outer hub, bolting from the inside in the 3m configuration.
Alternatively, duals can be run on the rear, fixed to the outer hub with the inner rim bolted to the inner hub.
The unit is a heavy build for longevity and Marty has taken the necessary steps to protect the design with his patent attorney.
Kondinin Group researchers visited Marty and his wife Gail to see the Multitrakpro in action.
After jacking up the rear axle, wheel bolts can be removed and the outer wheel detached and forked away, or the inner wheel bolts removed and the wheel shifted to the 3m position with a set of forks and re-bolted into position.
Once one side is done, the process can be repeated on the other side. Once fitted, the Multitrakpro stays on the vehicle and the outer hub can be removed for replacing tyres on the inner wheel.
Changing the rear wheels from 2m to 3m wheel tracks took about 30 minutes.
More details: www.multitrakpro.com.au