Bigger is the new normal. And while bigger is sometimes better, bigger is usually heavier, too — especially when implements are loaded with the additional weight of herbicides, fertilizer and/or seed. In fact, this equipment can cause greater soil compaction from the tractor that’s pulling it.
Producers who understand the costs of compaction from tractor tires are learning that implement tires cause yield-robbing compaction problems, too. Many of them turn to floats to offset that compaction, but floats aren’t the only solution.
The challenge of bias ply tires
Before we talk solutions, though, let’s talk about the challenges of bias ply tires. Because the tread and sidewalls share the same plies in a bias tire, all of the sidewall flexing is transferred to the tread. This results in deformation in the contact patch, uneven ground pressure and reduced traction. It also increases friction between the tire and the ground, which accelerates wear and tear on the tire, especially during road travel.
While slippage and wear are certainly challenging, it’s the damage to the soil that’s most problematic. Bias tires force weight and pressure to the center of the tread, forcing the equipment’s weight into a concentrated area that compacts whatever soil it touches. This can lead to a loss of planting and harvest time.
In the past, it’s also led to the usage of floats, but there’s an alternative: radial implement tires.
Enter radial implement tires
Radial implement tires are flatter than rounded bias tires, which allows them to create a larger footprint and distribute the weight of equipment across a wider plane. This alone reduces soil compaction.
Additionally, radial implement tires allow heavier loads to run on a lower PSI. This gives the tire an even larger footprint for an even greater reduction in compaction. It also allows for a more forgiving, more enhanced ride. And the reinforced sidewalls and stronger plies of radial implements reduce the amount of blowouts while planting and harvesting.