Tread carefully on wet ground

  • Tom Godwin from Continental talks about the importance of the correct tyre pressures

A wet start to the green harvest season following a dry winter has left grassland particularly susceptible to compaction. Operating heavy machines such as tractors with triple mowers or forage harvesters on soft soils can cause irreparable soil and sward damage suggests Tom Godwin from Continental:

“Operators can benefit by referring to manufacturer data to set pressures that are better suited to ground conditions. The spring rain has left the crop long and wet, which is locking in more soil moisture and adding to the risk of soil compaction. If the sward is damaged during first and second cuts it could cause yield reductions in future cuts, especially in multi-cut systems” he says.

Adjusting the pressure of a tyre changes the footprint which allows the weight of the vehicle to be spread over a larger surface area.

“If the tyre pressure is lowered in wet conditions the operator will achieve greater grip, be able to operate more efficiently and the tyres will travel over the land with less resistance, which will reduce the risk of soil compaction and improve fuel efficiency,” explains Mr Godwin.

Establishing the load of the vehicle is critical to establishing the correct tyre pressure. Technical data sheets are available from most major manufacturer websites, but Continental also offers a mobile app.  The ‘Agriculture TyreTech’ App is available for iOS and Android. Using a database of all available Continental tyres, the app is able to cross reference the properties of the tyre with the load of the vehicle and recommend the best tyre pressure.

“The app is an easy way for farmers in the field to see what pressure their tyres should be, based on the axle load of their machine,” says Mr Godwin.

For contractors seeking an easier way to mitigate the weight of machinery on soft soils, VF tyres offer the ability to run at 40% lower pressure than standard radial tyres. In addition, new hybrid block pattern tyres are better suited to grassland work.

“Continental has invested heavily in new tyre technology to help reduce soil compaction and improve the operational efficiencies of machinery. Adjusting tyre pressure to suit the ground conditions is vital for soil health and the harvests of the future,” he concludes.

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