A successful farm requires a large variety of tools, including the correct tractor tires. Whether you’re planting crops, moving manure or plowing snow, choosing the best tire for the job is crucial to ensure your operation runs smoothly. A well-equipped tractor with the right set of tires will reduce soil compaction, improve traction and increase load capacity.
There are two main types of tractor tires: bias ply and radial. Bias tires are engineered with multiple plies of rubber criss-crossed over one another. The sidewall and tread are connected, whereas radial tires have separate body plies that run perpendicular to the bead and undertreads that hug around them. The difference in internal construction results in different performance characteristics: Bias tires offer superior traction for heavy loads, while radial tires are more fuel efficient and provide a larger footprint to reduce soil compaction.
The R-1 tread type is the most popular and versatile tractor tire. This deep lug tire offers excellent traction in muddy or soft dirt fields and is good for general farm chores, including towing and hauling. However, it is not ideal for hard surfaces or paved roads and can damage turf if used there.
A more aggressive variation on the R-1 is the R-1W, which has a deeper tread to minimize surface disturbance and offer better floatation in deep mud or clay conditions. The R-2 tread type has twice the amount of space between lugs and is also a great choice for muddy or wet conditions. It can be a bit of a gamble on dry, rocky or sandy soils though as the directional lug placement may cause the tire to skate across the ground instead of digging in.
For heavier loads, there are a number of special-purpose agricultural tractor tires available. Some are designed for forestry applications, while others are created to be used on the road with loaders or for transporting grain carts. These specialty tires are usually constructed of stronger materials to ensure they can handle a higher weight capacity.
Agricultural tractor tires must be inflated to the maximum pressure stated by the manufacturer. This is to avoid overloading the tire and damaging it. It is also important to check the tire regularly for damage and excessive wear.
A good farm tire should last for several years before needing replacement. However, many factors, such as weather and driving conditions, can have an impact on the longevity of your tractor tires. If you notice any signs of damage, you should replace them immediately to prevent further damage and potentially damage the rims.
While the CEAT brand is relatively new to North America, many Tirecraft dealers have received great feedback from farmers who use their products. Brent Sisson, an ag tire specialist at Tirecraft Sarnia in Ontario, Canada, has been selling CEAT tractor tires for four years and says it’s “hard to find something that outperforms them”. He also notes that they’re good on road and can be run at lower air pressure levels without compromising their safety or performance.