A new range of agricultural tyres has been released to help reduce the impact of heavy machinery on soil.

The tyres contain two forms of new technology applied to an agricultural tyre for the first time.

Tractor tyres reach high temperatures during road use. When parked overnight the tyres cool to the shape of the parked position creating so called ‘flat spots’. When the tractor is used again the operator will experience ride disturbance because the tyres are not a perfect circle. The new tyres use technology that reduces the occurrence of flat spots and provides a more comfortable ride.

The tyres are also able to run at lower pressures which helps to distribute the weight of the machine and reduce soil compaction.

Richard Hutchins, agricultural tyre specialist at Continental, who have developed the tyres, said: “The correct pressure for tractor tyres is dependent on the load and speed required to carry out the required task.

"Not using the correct pressure is a major cause of soil compaction. It also damages the tyre, lowers work rates and increases fuel consumption.

"Tyre technology needs to continually develop to help farmers react to government pressures and environmental concerns about soil health. Continental has invested €2.5 million in an agriculture-focussed research and evaluation centre to develop tyres that help meet these concerns.”

The second technological development is within the wire that helps the tyre hold the rim of the wheel. Many agricultural tyres use as many as ten individual wires to create one bead. However, multiple joins in the bead can cause weaknesses and there is a risk that the tyre can detach from the rim, especially at low pressures.

The new tyres use a single wire construction wrapped around the circumference of the tyre up to one hundred times, enabling it to hold it's shape when run at very low pressures.

Richard said: “The bead is as important as the rubber and nylon in a tyre. Our research showed a more flexible tyre with a stronger single bead construction can be run at a lower pressure which helps to reduce soil compaction.

"Tyres with a single wire bead are safer and quicker to fit, hold the rim better and transfer torque more efficiently which reduces slippage, especially on wet ground. Most importantly the tyre will grip the rim even at very low pressures. This means farmers can further spread a machine’s weight and help protect the soil beneath.”

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