Agricultural tyres generally appear quite similar irrespective of brand, making it difficult to spot at a glance the difference between discount tyres and higher-priced premium products. Bridgestone observes that price thus “wrongly becomes a differentiating element” with these products. The tyre maker is concerned that some may gain the impression they’re paying extra for the brand rather than the tyre, and wishes to set the record straight.
An in-depth study into the impact of traffic and tillage on soil compaction has found agricultural machinery running low pressure Michelin Ultraflex Technology tyres could boost farmers’ yields by 4 per cent, helping to ‘feed the world’ for years to come. Harper Adams University – a specialist provider of higher education for the agricultural and rural sector – has been leading the investigation, utilising one site at its campus in Newport and another site in the USA in conjunction with the University of Illinois.
Tractor manufacturer Fendt has approved the Continental TractorMaster tyre combinations 600/65R38 and 540/65R24 as well as 540/65R34 and 440/65R24 for its 200 Vario and 300 Vario series tractors. Continental says further approvals “could follow.”
Apollo Vredestein is enhancing its European agricultural tyre production activities at its Enschede factory in the Netherlands by bringing a new 104-inch tyre press into service in mid-March. The newly-installed tyre press will mainly produce tractor tyres for the XL segment (up to 2.30 metres in diameter and weighing up to 550 kg), products suitable for tractors between 200 and 500 hp. The tyre maker says the commissioning of the press represents a “significant increase in capacity” for this tyre segment.
We first saw the Ceat Torquemax tractor tyre at Agritechnica 2019, and Ceat Specialty has now expanded the range to include very high flexion tyres. The Torquemax VF, aimed at “farmers investing in tyres that offer greater operational efficiencies” for their high-horsepower tractors, is available in sizes VF 520/85R38 170 D TL and VF 710/70R42 185 D TL.
26 journalists with expertise in agricultural mechanisation are currently judging contenders for the European Tractor of the Year (TotY) award. Sponsor of the award, off-highway and agricultural tyre specialist BKT, says the details on innovations presented by entrants forms “the identikit of the perfect tractor.” The futuristic developments now available from many equipment manufacturers represent in their totality a vision for what will be possible in a single machine, BKT says. These innovations include data connectivity and digitalisation, high-tech safety features, increased sustainability, and autonomous driving, as well as tyres that assist in delivering such improvements in the field. The TotY sponsor calls its role “certainly the richest experience of 2020.”
A new tyre from BKT offers a solution to anyone needing to minimise soil compaction in confined areas. The BKT Agrimax Turf RT 333 is suitable for fitment on small tractors such as those used in gardening applications as well as in orchards and vineyards. The first available sizes in the range are the 280/70 R 16 and 280/70 R 18 front axle dimensions.
Vredestein has expanded its Traxion 65 tractor tyre series. First introduced at Agritechnica 2019, Vredestein has added 15 sizes, covering a complete range from 16 to 42 inches. All 19 tyres are available for the aftermarket and various tractor brands are offering them factory fitted. The Traxion 65 series is Vredestein’s follow-up to the popular Traxion+. It was redesigned to incorporate the latest technologies developed for the Vredestein Traxion Optimall VF. Proven features, including the curved lugs and the large contact area in the middle of the tread, have been retained, with comfort and traction characteristics improved.
Visitors to the LAMMA show way back in January were amongst the first anywhere to see Alliance’s new standard tractor radial, the Agri Star II. The new tyre came to market a few months after this, but corona lockdowns got in the way of a more thorough launch – until now.
The biggest tractor in the world, the 1,100hp Big Bud 16V-747 has taken advantage of Goodyear Farm Tires’ low sidewall (LSW) technology, after it was given its first tyre change since 1977. The Titan International agricultural tyre brand supplied Big Bud with 1400/30R46 tyres, fitting eight new rims and tyres. The giant tractor is housed at the Heartland Museum in Clarion, Iowa, its home for the last seven years.
FG Pryor & Son has chosen to fit a new set of Michelin YieldBib tyres on its Bateman RB35 sprayer. The tyre in size VF 380/85 R34 149A8/B TL was the original equipment fitment for the sprayer, primarily used to support potato and cereal crops on Colwyn Farm, in Truro, Cornwall. Michelin Exelagri dealer Geoffrey Harris Tyres supplies and fits the replacement tyres. “We have found the YieldBibs to perform really well for us and we had no hesitation in going back for another set,” says Warwick Pryor, driver and farmhand at FG Pryor & Son.
ATG has extended its leading range of Galaxy brand radial tyres for small tractors used in gardening, orchards and vineyards. The Galaxy Garden Pro offers nearly 50 per cent greater tread depth than typical R3 tyres – Galaxy calls it an R3+ tyre – with a solid-to-void tread ratio of 49:51 to promote self-cleaning. It is available in 23 sizes for rim sizes between 12 and 30, including five newly launched sizes. ATG says Galaxy now covers the segment of smaller and medium utility tractors in the segment.
Continental has launched its new range of very high flexion (VF) agricultural tyres. The manufacturer states that the tyres are more versatile and safer on the road. They also increase agricultural efficiencies, Conti adds. VF tyres help to reduce soil compaction, which helps to promote increased yields. They can also save farmers time, as a result of field and road performance gains. Conti re-entered the high-value agricultural tyre market in 2017 with the radial Tractor70 and Tractor85 ranges. It said that it intended to expand its agricultural tyre portfolio to 100 sizes by 2019. The VF tyres are the latest move to increase market coverage.
The demands placed upon tractor tyres are evolving. In addition to field work, the volume of transport tasks and time spent on the road has increased significantly in recent years. This trend presents a challenge for tyre designers as field and road applications are very different by nature. Nokian Tyres approached this challenge with a new kind of hybrid pattern technology that aims to offer the best of both worlds, combining a field-ready lug pattern with a block pattern to improve on-road properties. But does it work in practice? The Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Engineering at Germany’s Kiel University put the Nokian Ground King tyre through its paces to find out.
In February, Trelleborg Wheel Systems announced its ‘Tractor Driver of the Year’ at an event held in Italy. After four key challenges, the winner from the 40 participants was Mirko Fontana. Runner-up was last year’s winner, Alberto Alegretti.