We all know that tyre pressure is important if a tractor is to perform at its best.
Unfortunately, many tractor operators fail to ensure that their tyres have correct pressures.
Running tractor tyres at the wrong pressure can have a dire effect on tractor performance, tyre wear, and soil compaction which will mean a severe negative financial impact. Some of these costs are very hard to quantify in the short term.
In an industry which utilises powerful tractors, the very means of using this power efficiently is frequently neglected.
It’s worth considering a few facts.
Taking into account the power loss that occur from transmissions and ancillary equipment such as alternators, hydraulics and water pumps etc, a 210hp tractor could have just 115hp available to provide tractive force.
Further to these losses, incorrect tyre pressures can mean tractors waste up to 20-40% of engine power through tyre slip and rolling resistance. Changing your tyre pressure by just 0.25 bar (from 1.25 bar to 1 bar) can reduce slip by 15-30%!
The above photos demonstrate the use of a tyre at different pressures in the same conditions. Tyre slip, before and after adjusting the pressure from 1.25 bar to 1 bar: A suitable pressure reduces slip.
The main issue and hidden financial cost is with over-inflated tyres and has to do with soil compaction. Regardless of the load being pulled, the pressure your tyres exert on the soil is similar to the pressure inside the tyre itself. Excessive compaction of the soil will impede root development and water infiltration, resulting in 20-50% lower yields per hectare in some cases.
Some effects of over-inflation:
- Excessive soil compaction, less traction, more wear and tear on tractor, reduced tyre life expectancy, increased fuel use and a less comfortable ride leading to operator fatigue.
- 20% over-inflation = 30% performance loss
Some effects of under-inflation:
- Uneven wear, sidewall damage, bead slip, increased fuel use, reduced tyre life expectancy, less traction, abnormal premature wear, and a less comfortable ride leading to operator fatigue.
- 20% under-inflation = 26% performance loss
These issues can be prevented with regular use of a pressure gauge. Pressure gauges cost as little as $10 and can save you a lot!
If you set your tractor tyre pressures right and check them often, you can expect to get full performance out of your tyres and tractor.
But if your tyre pressures are incorrect and you blow a tyre, it’s a big loss. Apart from the cost of downtime, further hidden costs associated with the issues outlined above (and there are more!) will have a negative effect on your bottom line!
Working with the right tyre pressure is crucial to boosting your productivity and ensuring maximum crop yield by protecting plant root networks.
“A $10 gauge is cheap insurance and a good quality gauge, used regularly, is a wise investment.”