Lower Air Pressure Reduces Soil Compaction, Improves Crop Yields
Greenville, S.C. (Oct. 9, 2014) – Advanced tire technology engineered a decade ago is playing an increasingly important role today in meeting the needs of farmers who operate bigger, heavier equipment. Michelin Ultraflex technologies enable agricultural tires to operate at lower air pressure, helping to improve tire, machine and crop performance.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of its Ultraflex technologies, Michelin recently conducted tire demonstrations at its research center in Ladoux, France. A select group of farmers, tire dealers and other industry influencers from around the world were invited to attend the event showcasing the company’s tire innovations.
James Crouch, farm segment marketing manager for Michelin North America, explained that Michelin Ultraflex technologies enable tires to carry the same load at up to 40 percent lower air pressure than standard technology radial tires, or up to 40 percent more load at the same pressure. Michelin currently offers Ultraflex tire models for tractors, combines-harvesters, sprayers, crop-conditioning equipment and trailers.
“Lower air pressure helps spread the weight of heavy farm equipment, resulting in a larger footprint, which reduces soil compaction,” said Crouch. “Lower compaction helps protect crop yields and offers better traction, which in turn improves fuel economy and productivity in the field.”
Four Ultraflex tire demonstrations were held at the Ladoux facility in late September:
- Safety – Sprayers and crop-conditioning machines are becoming increasingly larger and heavier. Michelin test drivers had no difficulty maneuvering the latest generation John Deere sprayer, equipped with new 50-inch MICHELIN® VF 420/95 R50 177D SprayBib™ tires, between cones at a speed of nearly 25 miles per hour, which is very fast for these high-riding machines. The demonstration showed that farmers can safely operate larger machines at higher speeds with Ultraflex tire technologies in their day-to-day operations.
- Soil Compaction – In this demonstration, a tractor carrying a load of nearly 10,000 pounds was driven over a pit filled with thin layers of soil of alternating colors to visualize the impact of tire pressure on the soil. In one test, a standard technology tire was utilized. Then, the air pressure was lowered to simulate an Ultraflex tire. The reduction in soil compaction with Ultraflex technologies could be observed down to a depth of about three feet.
- Footprint – Using a tractor simulator to apply load in a sand pit, a MICHELIN® AxioBib® IF 900/60 R42 tire footprint was compared with that of the new MICHELIN® AxioBib® IF 900/65 R46 tire (an RCI-50 tire, scheduled for introduction in Europe in 2015 that will be the world’s largest agricultural tire). The larger size and air chamber of the new AxioBib created a 10 percent larger footprint.
- MICHELIN® CargoXBib™ High Flotation tire – Also demonstrated was the new MICHELIN® CargoXBib™ High Flotation tire for trailers, which offers all the advantages of Michelin Ultraflex technologies. This new model can adapt to all types of loads and soil surfaces, thanks to a specially designed casing allowing it to work within a wide air pressure range. The new CargoXBib High Flotation tire will be introduced in North America in the summer of 2015.
Crouch noted that Michelin now offers an IF (Increased Flexion) or VF (Very High Flexion) Michelin Ultraflex technologies tire solution for every stage of the crop cycle.