Making the Right Choice in Agricultural Tires

27 Feb 2024

There’s a lot going on where the rubber meets the field. Carrying a large amount of weight and often traversing uneven and changing terrain, tires on agricultural equipment are put to the test every day. Eliminating tire failures also means not interrupting operations.

Choosing the right agricultural equipment tires is a matter of both necessity and value. Fortunately, tire manufacturers have the expertise needed in making the best selection and a range of products designed to meet industry needs.

Michelin agricultural tires, designed to reduce soil compaction and improve traction, include:

  • AGRIBIB and MULTIBIB all performance tires

  • XEOBIB, AXIOBIB, YIELDBIB and CERXBIB tires with UltraFlex technology

  • YIELDBIB, FLOATXBIB and SPAYBIB high-capacity designs

Innovations from the manufacturer for agricultural equipment tires include Ultraflex VF (Very High Flexion) Technology. According to the company, compared to a standard bias tire the solution provides for 40% more load capacity at the same pressure, or 40% less pressure with the same load capacity. 

Also offered is Stubble Shield. The design feature, Michelin noted, includes a sweeping 45-degree tread design and an additional reinforcement in the center of the tread to deflect and protect against stubble, and an exclusive rubber compound for added durability against chipping.

Michelin supports its agricultural equipment customers with Agricultural Tire Basics:

Michelin also outlined three steps to take when choosing tires:

Step 1: Define your usage

The international classification defines types of use, indicated on the sidewall. 

Step 2: Analyze usage conditions and ground composition

There are different depths and shapes of lugs. The choice of tread type depends primarily on the soil or road surface most used: traction, abrasion and cut risk, rapid wear and tear, etc. Optimum material performance largely depends on the choice of tire:

  • 1: Lined (normal tread depth)

  • 2: Traction (normal tread depth)

  • 3: Normal (normal tread depth)

  • 4: Depth (deep tread)

  • 5: Very deep (deep tread)

  • 7: Flotation (normal tread)

Step 3: Know your TMPH

To choose the right tire, you need to know your TMPH (Ton Miles Per Hour), which is an essential characteristic of the working capacity of your tires. For the same size and pattern, there may be several types of rubber, each associated with a different TMPH. TMPH and TKPH (Ton Kilometers Per Hour) values are part of the tire characteristics. They depend on the load capacity of each size, the number of miles allowed per hour per tire type, and are given for a standard ambient temperature of 38°C.

Firestone has nearly 90 tires on the market for agricultural equipment use. The company’s Destination Farm radial tires are designed to meet the needs of increasingly heavier farm equipment. 

Other features of the manufacturer’s agricultural tire product line include:

  • AD² technology for increased load capacity and decreased soil compaction. 

  • The Destination Turf Radial Implement Tire to stop stubble damage.

  • 23° tread design technology for a longer, smoother ride with even tread wear and to maximize horsepower to save time and fuel.
  • The Firestone Maxi Traction Tire for flexibility in a variety of soil conditions with dual-angle technology to keep soil disturbance to a minimum.

Responding to the trend toward large agricultural machines, Continental has launched its largest tractor tire to date for global use. The VF TractorMaster in size VF900/60R42 was developed, according to the company, to be able to carry the weight of agricultural machinery with over 300 horsepower.

“Rising costs and the pressure to transport increasingly larger loads in a shorter time mean that the demand for powerful agricultural machinery is growing,” said Benjamin Hübner, product line manager for agricultural tires at Continental. “That not only demands top performance from machines, but also from their tires.”

In 2022, Continental launched five new tire sizes of its VF TractorMaster (650/60 R 34; 650/65 R 42; 710/75 R42; 650/65 R 34; 710/60 R 34). 

“The VF technology allows TractorMaster tires to be driven with 40%  more load at the same tire pressure as a standard tire or 40% less tire pressure at the same load,” said Ivonne Bierwirth, Head of Business Field Agricultural Tires in Continental Specialty Tires. “The technology also allows for a smooth transition from field to road without having to adjust the tire pressure. At the same time, the impact of heavy machinery on the soil is minimized by a wider tread surface when working in the field.”

Seth Skydel is a writer with 38 years of experience covering the trucking, utility, construction, and related markets.


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