We spoke to Mr. Jakkie van Heerden of Trelleborg Tyres about the right choice of tyre and the habit of filling it with water.
The purpose for which the tractor is used should also determine your choice of tyre. Jakkie says it’s no good putting cheap rubber on an expensive tractor.
“Cross-ply tyres are old technology and should not be used on tractors with a power output of 60 kW and higher. Many farmers try to save costs by using both cross-ply tyres and modern radial-ply tyres on one tractor, but this leads to problems with wheel grip, diesel consumption and soil compaction.”
He says tests done by his company showed that the power of a small tractor was better utilised by up to 25% by changing from cross-ply tyres to radial-ply tyres.
“Rather fit cross-ply tyres on tractors used for lighter tasks. When it comes to compaction, traction and power you should use radial-ply.”
Jakkie says the use of premium grade tyres will benefit farmers much more in the long run.
“They will get much more life and use from premium grade than something that only lasts for a while and isn’t as effective.”
SAVE WATER – DON’T PUT IT IN TYRES
The old advice of filling tyres with water to give the tractor more traction, should be avoided, says Jakkie.
“This causes the tyre to run with more of a point at the bottom and leads to greater soil compaction. Water changes a radial-ply into a cross-ply as far as performance is concerned. Rather don’t load water, but if it’s really unavoidable, don’t fill more than 40% with water.”
Jakkie adds that overexposure to the sun is also bad for tractor tyres.
“Tyres contain oil. The more they are exposed to the elements, the more they dry out. Eventually cracks appear which shortens their lifespan. Cover the tyres of those tractors which are only used for a few months of the year. The weight of the tractor can also be lifted off by putting the tractor on blocks during down-time. The same goes for implements that are only used for tilling the soil, for example. Store them in your shed.”
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