Farmers positive after initial experiences with Bridgestone VT-Tractor
Earlier this year Bridgestone introduced the first product in its new Bridgestone-branded agricultural tyre range, the VT-Tractor, and the first two farmers in the UK to drive on the tyres have offered glowing product testimonials.
One of the early VT-Tractor adopters, Berkshire farm contractor Paul Jannaway, says the tyre lives up to Bridgestone’s claim of offering greater traction, reduced soil compaction and lower fuel consumption. Jannaway, who works 4,000 acres a year and contracts 2,500 acres, owns four tractors with power outputs ranging from 235bhp to 400bhp. He believes the savings made in tyre replacements alone by switching to the VT-Tractor reach five figures over the next three years, as the Bridgestone tyre lasts so much longer than any other product he has driven on.
“You won’t find many tests more rigorous than the work I do,” he said. “The tractors don’t get an easy life. I am cultivating, drilling and fertilising and I think I must work on some of the hardest farms anywhere in terms of soil.
“The ground is pure stone and the flint cuts into the tyres like knives. Having the flexibility and ability to operate on lower pressures means the tyres roll over the flint rather than straight into it,” he added. “I have done 1,150 hours in the VT-Tractor and there is another two years left in them. They still look like new. The last lot of tyres lasted me for 1,200 (hours) before I had to replace them. I have worked out that I will save £10,000 over the next 36 months because of the durability of the VT-Tractor. For a contractor of any size, that is absolutely huge.”
Thanks to its VF (very high flexion) construction, the Bridgestone VT-Tractor can operate at lower inflation pressures than a standard agricultural tyre and gives a larger, less compacting footprint. Jannaway states he was also amazed by comfort levels, a factor of critical importance to him due to the on-road speeds his machines can now reach. “I drive from Newbury to Cirencester and there is no heat in them whatsoever,” he commented. Because they grip so well, there are fuel savings to be made. I have a tractor capable of 65kph on the road and the ride is so smooth. I was absolutely amazed and will specify the VT-Tractor in future, whenever I need new tyres.”
The VT-Tractor’s VF construction also means farmers don’t have to stop and change tyre pressure when moving from the field to the road and back, a point that Jannaway is keen to emphasise. “I’m never worrying about tyre pressure and the time it takes to adjust them, which also makes my life easier. With the tyre’s durability, flexibility and comfort, I can honestly say that I will never be looking anywhere else but Bridgestone from now on.”
Mark Oldroyd, a farm manager in Oxfordshire, praises the VT-Tractor for the fuel savings it offers compared to the tyres he has previously used. Oldroyd farms 1,800 acres of arable, comprising 1,800 of combinable land, 580 acres of forage maize, 600 acres of grass and has 700 dairy cows plus followers. He runs ten New Holland tractors of varying sizes, along with four JCBs and two self-propelled sprayers, and said that using VT-Tractor tyres saves half-a-litre of fuel per hectare on heavy, sticky ground, in a conservative, worse-case-scenario estimate.
“The immediate thing you notice is that it pulls so much better and leaves a kinder footprint on the soil. This is due to the lower pressure it can operate on,” he shared. “Sometimes you struggle to get a tyre to naturally fit but this just felt right from the moment I turned the ignition.”
Ken Ball, a tractor driver that works with Oldroyd, agreed, and also speaks highly of the more comfortable ride the VT-Tractor offers: “You can be sat in that seat for a long, long time – up to ten hours in one go. Speeds have gone up and if you hit a bump then you know about it. Operating at higher speeds is one thing, but you need an element of comfort, which is where the VT-Tractor comes into its own.”
The pair worked out a 12 per-cent slip on the premium Bridgestone product, which results in improved fuel efficiency.