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March 22, 2018Agricultural & Tractor Tyres

Agricultural tyres have their own set requirements, properties, problems and uses. Compared to the average road tyre, there’s a world of difference.

In this article, we’re giving you the rundown on agricultural and tractor tyres, including some handy info on the specific properties on farm tyres, what brands are out there  – and where to get them from – as well as some best practices to get the most out of your chosen set of tyres.

What brands can I buy?

There are plenty of well known manufacturers making quality agricultural tyres. Often, you’ll have a choice of premium tyres with a greater array of innovative technology inside, and cheaper tyres for the budget-conscious. Either way, manufacturers understand how important quality is in this sector, so the market is filled with reliable farm tyres that will meet your performance requirements. Some popular brands include:

  • GoodYear
  • Continental
  • Michelin
  • Trelleborg
  • Alliance
  • BKT
  • Maximo

Tractor tyre patterns

Agricultural tyres have a wide selection of tyre patterns, each one designed to suit different applications. Knowing which pattern you need for the work you expect to perform is key, and it’s often prudent to have multiple sets of tyres to ensure you have all bases covered.

Here’s a quick run-through of some common tyre patterns:

  • R1 & R1W – These common farm tyres have a deep tread to provide stellar grip on uneven surfaces. They work well in wet and muddy conditions, and they offer powerful torque to help you through even the roughest of field work. Because of the deeper tread pattern and wider contact area, R1W tyres are preferred for road use and offer just a little bit extra in the wet.
  • R2 – These deep tread tyres are built to perform with aplomb even when the farm is at its wettest and muddiest. They give you that much-needed grip when the mud is thick and sticky, ensuring you won’t get stranded when the rain is at its worst.
  • R3 – Known as ‘grassland’ tyres, these are used to minimise disturbance and damage on softer working surfaces, including – as you might expect – grass.
  • R4 – These industrial tractor tyres take the R1 lug design and overlaps them, meaning you get an effective mix between traction on the farm, and performance on harder road surfaces.

There are also varying tyre patterns available for farmyard trailers, and front tractor tyres too. Treadfirst can offer specific advice for your agricultural fleet, to ensure you’re fully equipped for any and all working scenarios.

Tractor tyre ballasting

Something worth noting here is the technique known as tractor tyre ballasting. This is where tubeless tyres  – or tractor tyre inner tubes – are filled with water to add extra weight. This is done to help stabilise the tractor, which comes in handy on uneven or unpredictable agricultural surfaces.

When this is performed, it will have an impact on the air pressure in the tyre, so it’s best to seek the advice of a professional agricultural tyre supplier when deciding to go this route.

Tractor tyre pressure

Tyre pressure is an important factor in any tyre, but with tractor tyres it becomes even more so. Soil compaction is one of the main thing to worry about. Put you tyre pressure too high, and the soil underneath will be compacted tighter, meaning water filtration and general soil performance is significantly reduced. You risk damage to crops and the soil itself, and you also risk incurring more rapid wear of the tractor tyres and the tractor machinery, too.

However, underinflation also poses a threat. The main problem here is mobility. Low pressure tyres won’t be able to move as freely as properly inflated tyres. It also puts greater strain on the tyres themselves, making it more likely that they’ll suffer irreparable damage. It’s about finding that correct balance, so refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or talk to a professional tyre fitter to get your pressure just right.

Storing your tyres

In order to maximise a tyre’s lifespan – and preserve its condition throughout its service – proper storage considerations need to be made. For most agricultural tyres, it’s just a case of using common sense. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Store tyres out of direct sunlight or high temperatures – rubber can dry and crack after long term exposure.
  • If you don’t plan to use the tyres for a while, elevate the tractor with a jack to keep the weight off the tyres. You could also remove the tyres and store them separately until they’re needed again.
  • When stacking tyres, try not to keep them stacked for too long. The weight can cause tyres on the bottom of the stack to become misshapen, so rotate the order regularly and try not to rely on stacking for long term storage.

Treadfirst is proud to provide professional agricultural tyre fitting to customers throughout Bury St. Edmunds, Saffron Walden and the wider East Anglia region. We have an extensive range of tractor tyres to choose from, and our team of specialists are on hand to offer all the help and advice you need to keep your fleet in the best possible shape. For more information, contact us today.

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