Challenger Tractors: ‘Stick There Like Glue’

Farming on grades as steep as 45%, this Palouse-region farmer relies on tractors that “get power to the ground per weight like nothing I’ve ever driven.”

By Richard Banks | Photos By Jamie Cole

“Our topography is pretty steep,” says Garry Esser about the less-than-level land he farms. “It’s a challenge, but,” he says with a grin, “you’re never bored.”

John Esser

John Esser

Raising a variety of crops, including wheat, barley and canola, as well as peas and pulse crops, Esser and his son John farm land in the ever-undulating Palouse region of western Idaho. It’s a tough assignment for most tractors, according to Esser, who farms on some steep slopes.

That’s one of the reasons he runs Challenger® track tractors, specifically an MT855. “They just stick there like glue … and they’re light and nimble,” he says.

Esser notes that with the rubber track Challengers, “You’ve got the speed of a wheel tractor for moving up and down the road, and yet still have the benefits of the tractor sticking to the hills. And, they get power to the ground per weight like nothing I’ve ever driven.”

Due to a need to reduce compaction, weight is a particular concern for Esser. “In the spring, when we’re fighting compaction, we can lighten this tractor up … and still pull our equipment because the Challenger line has done a real good job of getting [power] to the ground.” He adds that “a lot of the competitors’ tractors weigh 60,000 pounds when they’re delivered, and you really can’t do a lot with that. That’s just heavy.”

Running just two tractors, uptime is critical for the Essers. They rely on Agri-Service in Pasco, Wash., for parts and service. “We’ve known them a long time,” Esser adds. “Their guys are sharp. They’re real responsive. We’ve been very pleased with their service.”

See the full story, “Shepherd’s Grain: Bridges Built, Alliances Forged” >>