While cars and passenger vehicles have had radial tyres since the 1970s, farm equipment has lagged behind this trend with bias tyres lingering well into the 2000s. Partly this was due to the operational requirements farm tyres need to live up to, and the technology has come a long way in the intervening years, meaning that the choices available to the farming community are better than ever before.
Given that bias and radial tyres don’t look that different, the layperson could be forgiven for not understanding the full range of benefits a quality radial farm tyre can bring to bear.
With margins mattering more now than ever, when every ounce of yield counts, tyres that offer improved efficiency, increased carrying capacity, lower soil compaction and overall cost savings are an essential buy in the ‘farm smarter, not harder’ toolbox.
Here’s a quick summary of the benefits a set of good radial tyres can offer the clued-in operator:
Reduced soil compaction
Reducing the impact of farm equipment on the ground and reducing the compaction of the soil is essential to maintaining high and profitable yields. A good radial tyre can be up to 25% larger than a comparable bias-ply tyre, which means the weight of the equipment is better distributed and soil compaction is reduced.
This reduced compaction is further enhanced by the increased flexibility conforming to the surface beneath them and seemingly ‘floating’ over uneven surfaces. This also contributes to less wear and tear, better fuel efficiency, and even a more comfortable ride.
Having high-powered equipment is part of the game these days, as the pressure to cover more hectares in less time is ever-increasing. From tractors to combines, to self-propelled sprayers, it’s essential to be able to put that horsepower to good use. The larger footprint and carefully engineered construction of radial tyres deliver better traction, less slippage, and full use of your machine’s power.
Improved fuel efficiency
Better traction and reduced slippage also have the benefit of reducing your farm’s fuel consumption. Slipping tyres burn excess fuel, and can cause rutting, which itself adds to the fuel expended. On top of which, rutting negatively impacts soil and yields. Due to radial tyres having better-rolling resistance, footprint and engineering, they can offer real gains in overall operating efficiency which translate into lower costs for you.
More cost effective
It’s not only fuel costs that radial tyres can help you save, you can also save on the live of your tyres. Radials have a longer service life than bias-ply tyres, which increases the time between replacements. On top of this, due to radial tyres being more flexible, they are more resistant to stubble chunking and chipping the tread, greatly reducing the risk of a puncture and contributing to less downtime.
The latest technology
Radial tyres flex more than bias-ply tyres and as a result help to reduce strain, and wear and tear on expensive farm equipment. They also provide a less jarring ride for operators, which really helps on those long days during the busiest times of year.
Even better, radial tyres with IF/VF technology are designed to flex even more than traditional radials, greatly improving ride, efficiency, load carrying and overall performance. IF tyres can carry up to 20% more load at the same inflation as a conventional radial tyre. Alternatively it can carry the same load at a 20% lower inflation.
With VF tyres this performance leap is even more pronounced at 40% more load at the same pressure, or the same load at 40% less pressure.
With gains like this, it’s easy to see why radial tyres, and especially IF/VF tyres are becoming essential to modern farming.
Bias might still be best
Bias tyres have to concede a lot of ground to the benefits of radial tyres, but there are some applications where they continue to do the job particularly well. Bias tyres are still popular for low-speed applications that spend little to no time on the road. Because of their stiff construction, they’re also very much suited to dump truck operations and can be quite adept on hillsides. This extra stiffness can also make them suitable for environments that are particularly rocky or have a lot of stumps that can threaten the integrity of the tyre’s sidewall.
Talk to an expert
No matter what kind of equipment you have on your farm, and no matter what tyres you need, our friendly experts at Tyreright are eager to help you find the right solution for your needs. Radial or bias, big or small, we’ve got the right tyres and the right advice for you.