Whether you’re looking for front tractor tires or rear tractor wheels, you’ve probably noticed that the Ag tire industry is experiencing some big changes in recent years. Competition has heated up and big names like Goodyear and Firestone are putting a lot of money into research and development. If it’s time to replace those front tractor tires, keep reading to find out the top industry trends that might affect your next choice.
Wider Is Better
Many manufacturers are going with wider tires due to demand from farmers. Wide back and front tractor tires offer better flotation as the heavy load is distributed across a wider contact area. This means less pressure on the ground as your farm equipment goes over it. That translates to less soil compacting, which is good for everyone.
Enter The IF Tire
This is a pioneer move by Michelin Ag, but Firestone tractor tires have followed suit. Expect to see this type of tire popping up elsewhere, too. The IF stands for “increased flexion” and are tires with better flexibility in the sidewalls. This means they can hold up to 20% more weight than traditional tires of the same size without any need to raise the air pressure. This also means less soil compaction.
Farm machinery is getting bigger: that’s not secret. You need bigger front tractor tires to go with it. For years, the largest tire size you could get was Group 48 with a circumference of 243 inches. Now tire makers have moved up to Group 49, with a 256-inch circumference. Look to see more tire makers move up and offer larger and larger offerings.
Learning From Europe
The Europeans currently use super-flexible tech called R+, and American manufacturers are looking at this with interest. The tech lets tires carry more load with the same air pressure with more options for plus-ups. There’s no doubt these tires are coming: it’s just a question of when and how much they’ll cost.
There’s not an industry in America that isn’t interested in being eco-friendly, and agriculture is no exception. People want combine tires and tractor tires that are friendly to the environment, and tire makers are working to oblige. There are a couple avenues to explore in this department, from rubber that doesn’t contaminate the air because of reduced rubbing to the use of green oils in the manufacturing process.
One thing you can bet on: while farming continues, tire makers will continue to innovate. Competition is heating up, so look to see better and cheaper options coming soon.