How to extend the life of your farm tyres

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Flat farm tyres can cost more than you think - the team at Firestone provides seven tips to extend tyre life and save you money

How to extend the life of your farm tyres
Stubble is a threat to farm tyres


Stubble is a tyre killer. Downtime from flat tyres can cost $849 per hour in lost production potential (assuming an idle tractor hooked to a 16-row planter), Firestone calculates.

Today's corn, cotton and soybean plants are engineered to be strong, to stand up against wind, insect and disease damage. Tyres (some costing $2,000 to $7,000 each) encounter two hazards in a modern field of stubble.

First, stubble. Stubble punctures the tyre and causes rapid air loss.

Second, stubble erosion. As the name implies, stubble erosion occurs over time. The stubble gradually wears through the tyre treads to expose the radial cords.

Life of tyre also is affected by improper inflation. Inflation pressure must match load. Low pressure, without consideration for load rapidly degrades sidewalls. A $20 to $30 air pressure gauge can save many tyres.

Air pressure changes by environment, for example a slippery and muddy field versus a dry road surface with the tyres turning at 40 miles per hour. High clearance sprayers run on 17-inch tyres inflated to 64 pounds per square inch (PSI) to carry 60,000 pounds. Larger planters will transfer 10,000 pounds to the rear of the tractor going from field to road.

Correct tyre pressure is a measure of tyre size and the axle load. With those, inflation tables (or the Firestone Tyre Pressure Calculator at calculate the correct minimum inflation pressure to carry the load.

There are ways to fend off stubble damage. Drive at angle to the row, not directly down the row, is one. Another is tread design. Firestone manufactures tyres with a "stubble deflector" tread design -- the tread pattern pushes the stubble aside similar to a cowcatcher on a train.


Check tyre pressure with a calibrated gauge and set the inflation presssure using a pressure calculator


Seven ideas to extend tyre life

Firestone offers other suggestions for extending the life of agricultural tyres.

1. As much as 40 per cent of engine power is lost through rolling resistance and slip. Check tyre pressure with a calibrated gauge and set the inflation pressure using a pressure calculator. Inscribe the correct inflation pressure in permanent marker near the inflation valve. Correct pressure gives the tyre a larger footprint, reduces slip, reduces fuel usage, limits soil compaction, reduces equipment wear and provides a smoother ride.

2. Unlike a human cut, a tyre doesn't heal itself. Check the tyre sidewalls for cracks, cuts, and other damage. If you see cords, it is time to shop for new tyres.

3. Check tyre treads and consider replacing if there is less than 20 per cent left. At that point, tyres are slipping, and fuel efficiency is taking a hit.

4. A 15-minute tyre pressure check during refuelling can prevent downtime. Check tyre tread areas for stubble damage and exposed cords. Replace tyres with obvious damage.

5. Check ground contact for gaps between the bar and the ground. If you can put your finger under the bar at the 6 o'clock position the tyre, the tyre is probably overinflated.

6. Check valve stems for cracks, corrosion, and debris. Make sure the caps are clean and intact and returned onto the stem.

7. Check nuts, bolts and wheel weights to ensure they are torqued correctly.

You get more for your money with Firestone, so ask your local farm tyre dealer, including any Tyreright tyre service centre for Firestone tyres and enjoy the peace of mind of the new longer warranty period.

Visit or call 138 168 for local Tyreright Service Centre details.

For your local independent tyre dealer visit or call 1800 788 688.

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