GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 15, 2015) —Michelin North America Inc.'s agriculture tire unit is offering tips to help farmers reduce soil compaction as the 2015 growing season gets under way.
Farmers are faced with lower commodity prices, Michelin said, and are looking for any edge to improve productivity and crop performance. One of the most effective ways to improve yield is to minimize soil compaction by using tires that can operate at a lower air pressure, according to the Greenville-based tire maker.
Additionally, farming equipment, including tractors, sprayers and combines, has grown larger and heavier in recent years, Michelin said, allowing farmers to cover more acres per day but also making soil compaction a much greater challenge.
“Lower-pressure tires produce a larger tire footprint, which distributes the weight of the machine over the largest area possible to reduce compaction,” said James Crouch, farm segment marketing manager for Michelin agriculture tires.
“In addition, a larger tire footprint provides excellent traction in the field, which can improve fuel economy by reducing slippage.”
The company cited a Penn State University report that explained that topsoil compaction is caused by high contact pressure. To reduce contact pressure, a load needs to be spread out over a larger area, it said, which can be accomplished by reducing inflation pressure.
Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom recently completed a three-year study involving Michelin's Ultraflex IF (Increased Flexion) and VF (Very High Flexion) tires that demonstrated a yield increase of up to 4 percent compared to standard radial agriculture tires, according to the tire maker.
“There's a lot more research planned, which we also hope to bring to the United States, to further demonstrate how lower-pressure tires can help farmers increase their yields and productivity,” Mr. Crouch said.