Dairy farm fits Michelin radial tyres to skid steer loader
Michelin has fit its new BibSteel Hard-Surface radial tyres to a skid steer loader for one of the first times in the UK. Cornish dairy farmer, Graham Kitto, owner of Higher Coombe Farm in Liskeard, used cross-ply tyres on his three Bobcat skid steers, which are used to scrape yards and clear slurry. The unforgiving working environment, in which the tyres run on abrasive surfaces, meant the cross-plys rarely lasted more than 300 hours.
The dairy’s local Michelin Exelagri dealer, Geoffrey Harris Tyres recommended BibSteel Hard-Surface tyres, and they are proving successful enough to persuade the farm to fit all three machines with Michelin’s tough rubber once the existing tyres wear out. Exelagri dealers adhere to stringent entry criteria, which includes providing advanced levels of staff training and offering extensive aftersales support.
Kitto, who is responsible for 350 head of cattle, says: “We work our skid steer loaders very hard, across surfaces which range from uneven concrete to sand – so we’re used to seeing our tyres wear very quickly. After 100 hours with the BibSteel Hard-Surface tyres you can hardly see any wear at all and the performance of the tyre is outstanding. My drivers tell me that the machines feel more stable and can manoeuvre more easily in the yards and sheds.”
The Bobcats are also used to put sand in tight cattle cubicles, where there is no room for any other farm machine to manoeuvre. Narrow passages mean that tyres can easily be caught on the cubicle sides, which historically has led to sidewall damage or punctures. The BibSteel’s steel bracing and reinforced sidewalls offer improved puncture resistance compared with the less-durable cross-ply tyres used on more than 90 per cent of the machines in this market, Michelin says.
Kitto adds: “Our skid steers are amongst the most important machines on our farm –we’d be lost without them – so having the optimum tyres is important.
“Fitting BibSteels has required some additional investment, but as a farmer we are looking for the best overall value. We don’t mind spending a little more up-front if it means we’ll get a better return over the life of the asset.”
Geoffrey Harris Tyres’ company director, Michael Harris, says: “Our team has the knowledge and expertise to recommend tyres which offer the best balance of performance for our customers. It’s what being a Michelin Exelagri dealer is all about.”
Michelin launched the BibSteel Hard-Surface tyres to replace the former Stabil’X XZSL radial fitment. The new range is designed for compact vehicles looking for maximum traction and toughness while working on asphalt and other hard, abrasive surfaces. Michelin also offers the BibSteel All-Terrain, for off-road use.