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Category Archives for "Agricultural Tyres"

Question about tyres

10 questions that Queensland drivers frequently ask about their tyres

All you need to know about your tyres – or is it?

We get asked many questions about tyres. These are the 10 most common, with the answers you need.

1.    My tyre placard mentions particular tyres and rims. Can I fit different to this?

Yes, you can; but the tyre/rim combination and width/diameter must meet certain requirements. The amount that the width and diameter may change by depends upon the type of vehicle. There are different rules for 4WDs, passenger vehicles, etc. You can learn more by reading the Minor Modifications publication (PDF, 414 KB).

2.    Can I increase my vehicle’s ride height?

There are various ways that you could increase the ride height of your vehicle. These include by increasing your vehicle’s tyre dimension, lifting its suspension, or by using body blocks. The amount you can raise it depends on which methods or combination of methods you use to do so. The most that you can raise your ride height by for each single method is:

  • 50mm by increasing the tyre dimension
  • 75mm if raising by lifting the suspension
  • 50mm by using body blocks

However, if you are using a combination of these methods, the most your vehicle can be raised is 150mm.

Just to complicate things a little more, these limits are not applicable to all vehicles. They are a good guideline, but for the exact raise you can make to your vehicle you should examine the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (PDF, 1.93 MB).

3.    Can I use low-profile tyres with a wider diameter on my vehicle?

This is possible to do, but you must make sure that the overall diameter, load rating and speed rating comply with legal requirements. Often, low-profile tyres will be fitted to larger diameter rims; this maintains the overall diameter to requirements. Once more, you should refer to the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (PDF, 1.93 MB).

4.    What is the maximum tyre diameter increases and decreases I can make to my 4WD?

With some 4WD vehicles, you may increase tyre diameter by up to 50mm and decrease it by up to 26mm, from the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended diameter. These are:

  • 4WD passenger vehicles specifically designed for off-road use
  • 4WD goods vehicles and their 2WD equivalents, if the chassis and running gear are essentially the same as the 4WD versions

However, all-wheel drive vehicles (AWDs) are not included in these. The Minor Modifications publication (PDF, 414 KB) provides the information you need.

5.    Can I lower the speed rating of my tyres?

You may want to lower the speed rating of your tyres, and this is possible, providing the tyres meet certain minimums. These are:

  • 140km/h for off-road passenger vehicles
  • 180km/h for other cars or car derivatives carrying up to nine adult passengers in seated positions
  • 120 km/h for other motor vehicles

There is an exception to all these rules: if your vehicle has a lower top speed than the above, then the tyre may not have a speed rating above the vehicle’s top speed.

6.    Can I fit different brand tyres to the same axle?

Yes, though it is preferable to fit the same brand. However, what you cannot do is fit tyres with different construction (e.g. cross-ply, steel radials, textile radials, etc.).

We also recommend that tread patterns should be the same on tyres fitted on the same axle, though there is no legal requirement to do so.

7.    How often should I change my tyres?

Tyres last far longer today than they used to. However, when they need changing depends on many factors, such as:

  • The type of road surface on which they are driven
  • The wear and tear suffered
  • The kilometres covered by the tyre
  • Irrespective of any of the above, the age of the tyre

Most tyres will last between 60,000 and 80,000 kilometres. However, manufacturers recommend that tyres should be changed every five years at a minimum, due to age degradation of the rubber.

8.    How often should I check my tyres?

We recommend that you carry out four tyre safety checks at least once per month, and more often if you drive every day. If you are making a long journey, you should also carry these checks out. These four essential checks are:

  • Tyre pressure
  • Condition of the tyre wall
  • Tread depth
  • All the above on the spare

9.    Should I change all four tyres are the same time?

If you rotate your tyres, the wear and tear on them should be equal. If this is the case, you will probably need to change all four tyres at the same time. However, if not all four tyres need to be changed it is always best to change the tyres on the same axle simultaneously. This will ensure that handling and grip is uniform on the same axle, which will improve your safety on the road.

10. What is the danger of driving on worn tyres?

If you drive on worn tyres, you could be given a hefty fine. However, this should not be your main concern. Worn tyres provide less grip and traction. Your handling will be worse, and your braking distances will be longer. Worn tyres are a big contributor to road accidents and fatalities in Australia.

Do you have a question about your tyres? Are you unsure whether they are legal or if they should be changed? For the answers to all your tyre questions, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tractor tyres

Tractor tyres: are you getting the best out of yours?

Tips to make your tractor tyres perform better and last longer

As a farmer, do you pay the same level of attention to your tractor tyre pressures as you do your oil and lubricant levels, or do you trust your luck? Underinflation can damage your tyres and your tractor. A couple of minutes spent checking and correcting your tyre pressures before you go into the field could save you a hatful of dollars.

How does running incorrectly inflated tractor tyres affect your costs?

It’s hard enough making money as a farmer, but habitually forgetting to check your tractor tyre pressures is just like throwing money away. Neglecting to pump up your tyres will lead to pumping up your costs. You’ll use more fuel, and the damage that could be caused to your tyres’ sidewalls will shorten their useful life.

Tractor tyres are designed to keep a certain shape. If you incorrectly inflate your tyres, the tyre will become misshaped (either overinflated or underinflated):

  • Underinflation leads to several issues, including cracking of the sidewall, bead cracking, and torn lugs
  • Overinflation results in a smaller footprint, a less stable ride, increased soil compaction, and more rapid wear

With new tractor tyres costing thousands of dollars, a regular two-minute pressure check is a cheap insurance policy.

Why do farmers neglect their tyre pressures?

Some experts think that a failure to run a tractor with the correct tyre pressure is due to laziness. I think it’s more complicated than this.

There are a lot of factors you need to consider when maintaining the correct air pressure in a working tractor’s tyres. You need to consider:

  • The weight of attachments
  • The tractor’s split weights
  • Loads on the drawbar
  • The task being done
  • Tractor speed

A simple miscalculation can mean the tyres are not inflated correctly, and lead to the damage outlined above. For example, let’s say that your tractor tyre’s recommended capacity is 4,000kg at a specific air pressure. If you run the tyre at, say, 10psi or 20psi under that recommended pressure fully loaded, you will affect the performance of the tyre and the tractor. A flatter tyre has a smaller load capacity.

Do you check your tyre pressures correctly?

A common mistake that can lead to incorrect inflation is checking tractor tyre pressures when the tyre has been warmed up, after it has been working. Warm tyres will show a higher inflation pressure. When you come to work the tractor from cold, the tyres will likely be underinflated. You should always check your tyre pressures before you start your tractor working.

The curse of the front end loader

Front end loaders are common today. They are also responsible for a lot of the tyre wear we see.

Front end loaders put a lot of pressure on the front axle. If the tyre is not correctly inflated and adjusted for the load, it can quickly be damaged and fail.

The mistake of not inflating for the job at hand

Another common mistake is forgetting to alter tyre pressures according to the job the tractor is doing; for example, when you are running a dual configuration when seeding, and then forget to adjust the tyre pressures when running a single configuration during fertilising.

The mistake of adding water as ballast

Some farmers add water to tubed tyres to act as ballast, but doing so to tubeless tyres is likely to cause you some serious issues.

In a tubeless tyre, the water comes into direct contact with the rim. The resulting rust weakens the fabric of the wheel. In addition, using water as ballast on radial tyres reduces their effectiveness because you reduce the flexible nature of the tyre – and traction reduces.

How to get longer life from your tractor tyres

The best tyre tips I can give you to get the best performance from your tractor tyres and your tractor are:

  • Make it routine to check your tyre pressures before you start working with your tractor
  • Inflate the tyres to the correct pressure for the load to be carried and the job to be done
  • Keep the tyres clean
  • Wash off caked mud, oil, diesel and petrol
  • Never ballast tubeless tractor tyres with water

Finally, if you can’t be sure of what pressures you should be running your tractor tyres at for different applications and with different loads, contact Darra Tyres. We’ll be pleased to share our tyre knowledge and expertise with you.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Should-Brisbane-farmers-buy-radial-ply-agricultural-tyres

Should Brisbane’s farmers buy radial ply agricultural tyres?

Comparing bias ply with radial ply for your farm application

Since the development of radial tyres in the 1970s and 1980s, radial tyres are the norm on most vehicles. They provide a smoother drive, with greater traction offering shorter braking distances and improved safety performance. However, for several reasons, agricultural tyres were left behind, with most agricultural vehicles still equipped with bias ply tyres.

Bias ply follows ruts in fields, while radial ply helps vehicles stay in line on tarmac roads. However, as agricultural work has begun to require more time on concrete and tarmac, agricultural tyres with a radial ply are becoming more common.

Why might you invest in radial ply agricultural tyres?

Apart from the way that radial ply tyres resist drift on the tarmac, there are several other reasons you might decide to opt for radial ply instead of bias ply for your next set of tractor tyres.

·      Radial ply tyres resist heat better

Radial ply tyres are more resistant to heat, as the way they are constructed helps to disperse heat more effectively than bias tyres. The result is that they can be driven at higher speeds and for longer than bias ply tyres.

·      Reduced soil compaction

A radial ply tyre has a larger footprint than bias ply equivalents. This means that your vehicle’s weight is spread over a larger area, helping to reduce soil compaction. The result is higher crop yields and improved profits.

·      Better traction

With a larger footprint and unique tread, more traction is produced from the transfer of engine power to axle to wheel. There is less slippage, too, meaning that the engine’s power is better utilised. Less slippage also has the benefit of producing less rutting.

·      Improved fuel consumption

Better utilisation of engine power results in improved fuel consumption, and, combined with less rutting, which means lower resistance, your engine doesn’t need to work as hard – further reducing fuel consumption.

·      A more comfortable day’s work

Working the fields is hard work, and constant bouncing can cause injury and back problems. Radial ply tyres are more giving than bias ply agricultural tyres. The sidewalls on radial ply tyres are more flexible, and so help to absorb the shocks caused by driving through ruts and over rocks. A more comfortable ride is the result, helping operator productivity as well as reducing maintenance requirements on farm vehicles.

·      Radial ply agricultural tyres are more cost-effective

Radial ply tyres provide a smoother ride, reduce soil compaction, and improve fuel consumption. A further advantage is that a radial ply tyre’s greater flexibility means it is less likely to become chipped or suffer a puncture – and this means a longer tyre life. Longer periods between needing to replace tyres add an extra layer of cost-effectiveness.

Should you replace your bias-ply agricultural tyres with radial ply?

While radial ply agricultural tyres appear to be a perfect choice, whether to replace bias ply with radial ply is not a straightforward equation. The use they are likely to get should be the deciding factor.

For example, if you are operating in extremely tough terrain, where you are likely to drive over sharp rocks and stumps, a bias-ply tyre’s greater rigidity could prove positive to tyre life. Similarly, vehicles that won’t be driven on roads and will operate at lower speeds may work better when equipped with bias ply, especially where you are likely to work on slopes. Finally, bias ply tyres tend to be cheaper to buy – which may also be a consideration.

Before buying agricultural tyres, contact Darra Tyres. We’ll make sure that the agricultural tyres you buy are suitable for the farm application intended and your budget.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

what-is-the-right-tyre-for-tractor-users-in-Queensland

What is the right tyre for tractor users in Queensland?

Advice to help your tractor work harder and reduce costs

When you need new tyres for your tractor, there are plenty of options. This makes choosing your tyres more difficult. Here at Darra Tyres, it’s our job to make this choice easier. In this article, you’ll learn about the tyre options available for agricultural vehicles, and how they differ for all your agricultural needs. Knowing which type of tyre is needed should help to save you time and money and make your work more efficient.

Types of tractor tyres

There are three types of tyres for tractors. Each has different specifications, and each is manufactured for a different use.

Turf tyres

These are designed to be driven on grass and fields, particularly for mowing and landscaping jobs. They are ideal for work required on sports grounds and golf courses, as the tread patterns are less aggressive than other types.

Construction tyres

These are mostly used on hard surfaces such as concrete, gravel, and tarmac, and so are designed to resist wear and tear. The load is spread across the tyre with wider treads, creating a larger contact area with the ground.

Agricultural Tyres

This is the most common of tractor tyres, for use in fields and especially on soft soils. The large tread creates excellent traction, giving better grip and aiding work in wet conditions.

Bias-ply or radial tractor tyres: which is best?

Having identified the type of tyre you need for the work it will perform, the next choice to make is the tread type. The way the tyre is constructed, either bias-ply or radial, affects the tyre’s performance.

Bias-ply tyres

Bias-ply tyres are constructed by laying successive plies at opposing angles – most commonly, these are laid at angles of 30 to 40 degrees – creating a criss-cross pattern. This means the tyre can flex more easily. This cushions the ride, making for a smoother driving experience. However, bias-ply tyres also suffer from increased rolling resistance and lower traction, increasing fuel consumption and decreasing working efficiency.

Radial tyres

The plies on radial tyres are laid at an angle of about 15 degrees to the tread and run in the direction of the tyre. This helps to stabilise the tyre on a rough and uneven terrain. Though more expensive to buy than bias-ply tractor tyres, radial tyres are the most popular because they:

  • Provide better traction
  • Offer less wheel slippage and better handling
  • Reduce rolling resistance and fuel consumption
  • Are more resistant to cuts, tears, and punctures
  • Enable more ground to be covered in less time

Radial agricultural tyres tend to last longer than bias-ply. Your operations should benefit from greater efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and less regular tyre changes. Over the longer term, choosing radial tyres for your tractor, and making sure they are the right type for the work they will be doing, could save you a lot of money.

For your next set of tractor tyres, contact us today. We’ll help you make the right choice to reduce your costs and increase your efficiency.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Which repair is best for my agricultural tyre?

How to tell a poor repair, and which tyre specialist to use

If your agricultural tyre is damaged, you’ll have two types of repair that you could make: temporary and permanent. In this article, you’ll learn how to spot that your tyre repair has been bodged.

When might you need a temporary agricultural tyre repair?

Temporary repairs should only be made to get your vehicle or machinery back to the yard. Patches should not be used for more than 24 hours, and may not be possible if the damage is too large. For this type of damage, you should have the tyre repaired permanently.

You might be tempted to make a temporary repair, especially if time is tight (when isn’t it?), but a professional repair will prolong the life of your tyre and save money and time in the long run.

Do you need a permanent agricultural tyre repair?

Permanent repairs are more expensive than temporary fixes. This cost saving, though, is as temporary as the temporary. A temporary repair could be a false economy.

When considering which type of repair is best for your agricultural tyre, you should consider what work it will be doing. The heavier the load and tougher the ground, the harder your tyre will need to work. A temporary fix could fail fast.

It’s very tempting to make a temporary fix on tyres that are used on handling equipment. A temporary repair is quick and cheap, and the equipment is only used in a confined area and only now and again. But what if the tyre fails? Suddenly you have an expensive repair, and, most importantly, you’re putting the operator at risk.

What type of permanent repair is best?

When a tyre is repaired permanently, the repair can be made by hot or cold vulcanising. You should know the difference before deciding which you need.

Vulcanisation is the tyre equivalent of welding. Using sulphur, the tyre and patch are bonded together, making a permanent seal.

Hot vulcanising is faster than cold, and best for larger damage. However, it requires specialist equipment, and your tyre will need to be sent away for repair.

For smaller repairs in the centre of the tread, cold vulcanising may be best. The repair will take a day to make, with the tyre and patch bonded at 18 degrees Celsius. Usually, this process can be made at a tyre shop, though it may be necessary to send the tyre away for repair, depending on the extent of the damage.

If you decide on the wrong type of repair, even if it is done perfectly the result could be as bad as the right repair done poorly. Always take advice from a tyre specialist before making your decision.

How can you tell a bodged tyre repair from a good one?

There are several giveaway signs that a temporary repair has been bodged. These include:

  • Rough edges to the repair
  • The patch is pulling away
  • Bulges are visible
  • Multiple repair patches

If you spot any of these conditions, you should stop using the tyre immediately and take it to a tyre specialist for a full examination. Multiple repair patches are a sign that the wrong type of repair has been made, and made badly.

Poor permanent repairs are harder to detect because most of the work is internal. A spectrometer is needed to inspect the tyre. It is like an X-ray for tyres and examines behind what might look like a perfect patch on the outside.

How can I tell which repairer to afford?

If a tyre repairer is offering a bargain basement price on a tyre repair, the chances are that you’ll get a bargain basement repair. Agricultural tyres and repairs are the same as most commodities – you get what you pay for. If your agricultural tyre is damaged, have it checked by a reputable tyre specialist.

Contact Darra Tyres today and get your damaged agricultural tyre checked by the professionals. We’ve been serving South and West Brisbane for more than 40 years, supplying all major brands and at all price points.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

The perils of over or underinflating agricultural tyres

How to work with the optimum footprint in all conditions

Agricultural tyre pressure is one of the most important factors in getting the best from your tractor and other farming vehicles. Many operators run their agricultural tyres with the wrong inflation. In this blog post, I’ll examine the consequences of getting the air pressure wrong on your agricultural tyres, and how to ensure you run your tyres at the optimum footprint.

Be prepared for expensive field work with the wrong tyre pressure

Your tyres are hugely important in the field. The wrong tyre pressure will affect vehicle performance. Soil will be compacted and crop production affected. And poorly inflated tyres wear faster and damage more easily. Many operators ballast their tyres in attempts to increase performance.

Manufacturers’ studies have shown that incorrect tyre inflation can mean as much as a 40% loss of engine power. It is caused by slipping and poor rolling resistance. Add this to power loss from the transmission and additional equipment, and you’re looking at up to a 50% reduction in power. This amount of power loss puts an incredible strain on a tractor’s engine. It must work harder and uses more fuel. Repair and maintenance issues will increase. All this adds up to a big hit on your pocket.

Functionality depends on footprint

Increased traction depends upon its footprint – the amount of tyre surface area in contact with the ground. The greater the footprint, the greater the traction. So, you would think that running agricultural tyres at the lowest possible inflation would increase efficiency because a larger footprint gives less wheel slipping, and results in longer tyre life and less soil compaction. Wins all round. But it’s not quite this easy.

Agricultural tyres must also carry loads without causing damage to their construction. When this happens, all bets are off. Damage to tyres increases, power is harmed, and costs increased. So, it’s imperative that you run your tyres at the optimum pressure for optimum results.

Agricultural tyre footprint – a constantly changing factor

The optimum tyre footprint doesn’t simply depend on tyre pressure. It also depends upon the load being supported and the tyre size, and ground being driven on. The optimum footprint will constantly change, as the load being carried changes. So, you need to reach a happy medium.

How you do this is to stick within the tyre manufacturer’s guidelines – the tables they produce on tyre sizes, maximum loads, tyre pressures, and speeds. Operate a tyre at 10% below its stated optimum pressure, and you’ll decrease its life by 15%.

The perils of overinflation of agricultural tyres

It’s not only underinflation that can affect tyre life and performance in the field. Over-inflation will increase the likelihood of tyre damage and more. For a start, driving on overinflated tyres will hit your driver hard. Every bump reverberates up the spine. Comfort reduces, and performance isn’t far behind. It is indicative of what over inflation does to tractor performance – wear and tear on tyre and vehicle increases. You’ll use more fuel, increase soil compaction, and reduce tyre life.

What’s worse – overinflation or underinflation?

There isn’t much difference between the effects of overinflation and underinflation. A 20% overinflated tyre causes 30% loss in performance, while a 20% underinflated tyre will cost you 26% of your performance.

However, if you drive your tractor on the road with underinflated tyres, the lugs will start to wear faster. Your rear lugs will be more severely damaged. It could cause bead slip – and leads to rapid destruction of the tyre.

Check your tyre pressure regularly

Neglecting your tyre pressures on your agricultural vehicles will impact your bottom line.

An underinflated tyre will increase fuel consumption, lead to sidewall damage, uneven wear and bead slip, which eventually destroys the tyre.

An overinflated tyre will increase fuel consumption, increase wear on the vehicle and tyre, increase soil compaction, and result in reduced tyre life.

When it comes to your tyres, check tyre pressures regularly. Keep them within the manufacturer’s guidelines for load, size and speed. One final tip: make sure your tyres have a valve cap. It keeps dust and dirt out of your tyre, but, equally as important, it prevents the natural air loss through tyre valves.

For all your agricultural and other tyre needs here in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Agricultural tyres – how do you choose the best for Queensland farms?

Know your tyres to cut costs and maximise productivity

Agricultural tyres are work horses – like your tractor. They are also big investments – like your tractor. Unlike your tractor, tyres have remained pretty much the same for a hundred years and more. While the shape of tractors has changed markedly, agricultural wheels are still the same basic shape and colour. Yet, just like in the cab and under the bonnet of your tractor, tyre manufacturers have packed an increasingly big punch into agricultural tyres.

To get the best performance from your tractor, you should understand the tyres it sits on.

Agricultural tyres and technology

The agricultural tyre looks very similar to how it did a century ago, and when compared to the tyres you may have had on your tractor in the 1980s, there is even less difference. But underneath that black exterior, there is a whole lot of new technology going on.

Manufacturers have massively upgraded rubber compounds. It has helped to increase load capacity. Agricultural tyres can now roll at lower tyres pressures, giving them better traction in the field.

Cross-ply or radial – which is best?

Cross-ply tyres have criss-cross cords, while radials have steel cords and belts across the casing. It’s now widely accepted that radials offer the best performance. They:

  • Reduce wheel slip
  • Reduce soil compaction
  • Produce less rutting and soil erosion

 

Radials offer greater horsepower-to-ground capability, less wheel slip and reduced soil compaction, which in turn leads to less soil degradation via rutting and erosion.

A soft footprint for reduced rutting

Because of the way they are constructed, radials have a softer sidewall. It enables the tyre to run at a lower air pressure, which produces a ‘soft footprint’. The harder the tyre footprint, the deeper the rutting in the field. It is bad for crop growing, and bad for the tyre and the engine.

Your tractor engine must work harder to power the tyres through deep ruts. It uses more fuel and decreases engine life, too.

Radial agricultural tyres should give you a better soil, and cut your running costs.

The agricultural tyre trade-off

There is a trade-off to make when choosing between radial and cross-ply tyres for agricultural use. We wouldn’t recommend you ballast radial tyres with water. However, it’s a common practice to ballast cross-ply tyres with water. They are cheaper and more durable. If you work a rough terrain, where puncturing is a problem, cross-ply may be your better option. And for small-scale farmers, cross-ply tyres are usually more economical.

When radials outperform

For large-scale farmers, especially where production levels are important, radial tyres should be the tyre of choice. Though they cost more, their extended tread life makes the costs more than stack up in your favour. In fact, radial treads are likely to last up to three times longer than cross-ply treads.

You should bank on a good quality radial lasting around 5,000 hours in Queensland.

Time, money and productivity – the tyre tread advantage

By selecting the best tyre for your application, you’ll save time and money. Your tyre life will be extended, and your engine won’t be worked quite as hard. For most agricultural applications, a herringbone tread is best. The softer footprint will help your soil produce more crops. Larger tyres tend to give a better traction, too.

However, if traction is not an issue, then a diamond pattern tread may be best.

When buying agricultural tyres, speak with one of our technicians. We’ll consider:

  • The ground they will be used on, and how tread width will impact your production.
  • Power usage, and suggest a tyre to maximise horsepower.
  • Which tyres will enable you to carry heavier loads without the need for higher tyre pressures?

Our aim is to help you produce the most crop with the least effort, prolonging tyre and tractor life. The result is that we match the best tyre for the specific use you have planned for it.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

To ballast or not to ballast – what’s best for your agricultural tyres?

Should you ballast your tractor tyres, and what is best to do so?

You may add fluids to your agricultural tyres for extra traction and to lower the centre of gravity of your vehicle. If your tyres slip on wet surfaces, adding some fluid should help to improve agricultural tyre performance.

Reasons to ballast agricultural tyres

There are several reasons to ballast agricultural tyres. Perhaps the three most common are:

  • Modern 4×4 tractors have a higher centre of gravity, because of their taller tyres. Especially on hilly surfaces, the higher the centre of gravity the more liable you are to slip or topple. By adding ballast, your tractor could work more effectively and safely.
  • Also, if you have a bucket loader. If you accidentally overload the bucket, the rear tyres could lift. That producing a heart-thumping moment. Adding ballast to the rear tyres on your agricultural vehicle makes tractor operation safer in these circumstances.
  • With a heavy rear plough attached, adding ballast to your front tyres will increase steerability.

However, when you add ballast, ride quality can be adversely impacted. It is particularly true if you drive on the tarmac at higher speeds. When ballasting your tyres, you’ll need to consider what work you are doing, what terrain is being driven on, and what fluid is preferred.

What’s the best ballast fluid for agricultural tyres?

Farmers are super resourceful and cautious with money. That’s a great combination, and, when it comes to ballasting tyres, has led to some innovative solutions. Here are a few, with the pros and cons:

·      Water

The cheapest ballast material. However, water freezes. Now, while this shouldn’t pose a problem in most Queensland winters, if we have prolonged cold spells like we did in 2014 (when the temperature fell as low as -6.1ᵒC in Oakey) you could find that water ballast damages your tyres. This damage could include the tyre coming off the wheel rim.

·      Calcium Chloride

To get over the problem of freezing water ballast, you might want to add calcium chloride. It will take the freezing temperature down to around -50ᵒC. On the downside, while a calcium chloride solution is cost-effective, it can rust your wheels. Any money you save on ballast fluid pales into insignificance against the cost of a new set of tractor wheels.

·      Antifreeze

Although not the cheapest fluid to use as ballast, antifreeze removes the disadvantages of calcium chloride while retaining the resistance to freezing. However, it is toxic. For this reason, if you are thinking about adding antifreeze to water, use propylene glycol and not ethylene glycol.

·      Beet Juice

Beet juice is a liquid tyre ballast. It’s heavier than water (so you need less of it), non-toxic, and non-corrosive. However, these benefits come at a cost: beet juice is not cheap.

·      Foam

Foam-filled tyres possibly provide the best ride. However, if you need to change the tyre, it will need to be cut off the wheel. Also, the pressure cannot be changed on foam-filled tyres, so you won’t be able to adjust to varying conditions. The expense of filling with foam also means you are best to fill new (or nearly new) tyres to get maximum life.

What is your favourite ballast fluid?

The above fluids are the most common used for ballast on agricultural tyres. I’ve also heard of farmers using windscreen washer (it’s cheap and shares many of the qualities of antifreeze). Whatever your favourite ballast fluid, you’ll need to use a filling device – and making use of gravity removes the strain of pumping fluid into the tyre, after deflating the tyre and removing the valve core. By locating the valve at different positions (e.g. 4 o’clock or 2 o’clock) you will automatically regulate how much fluid you are adding to the tyre.

What is your favoured ballast fluid? Have you got any tips for other farmers in Queensland? Contact us and let us know.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

7 tips to improve performance of agricultural tyres

How to keep your agricultural tyres in peak condition

Your agricultural tyres are some of your most valuable assets. And some of the most expensive. If you neglect your tyre tractor check, you could compromise safety, performance, and increase your costs. A few basic precautions and checks are all you need to prolong tyre life. You could save thousands of dollars over the course of a tractor’s lifetime.

Here are our seven top tips for agricultural tyre maintenance:

1.    Check your tyre pressures

It should be on your weekly maintenance programme. Use a low-pressure gauge to make sure your agricultural tyres are properly inflated. Ensure the gauge is properly calibrated by getting it checked at least once a year.

Always check inflation pressures when the tyre is cold – when the tyre is hot, the air inside expands, and the pressure rises. When the tyre cools down, it will be underinflated.

If your tyres are filled with water or antifreeze, use a special gauge and ensure the valve is at the bottom of the tyre when testing.

The danger of underinflation is that damage will be caused to the cord, and the carcass can fail. Over-inflation should only be used when hillside ploughing, or if you plan to use the tractor on hard surfaces for long periods. To determine the correct tyre pressure, weigh the rear axle with the tractor tool in a raised position and then refer to the load/inflation tables supplied.

2.    Tyre types

In the same way that you wouldn’t fit and mix radial and bias tyres on a car, you shouldn’t do so on your agricultural vehicles, either.

3.    Watch for valve damage

Valve damage is a sign that the tyre is slipping on the rim. It is caused by:

  • Underinflated tyres
  • Too much lubricant on the bead when the tyre was mounted
  • The bead is improperly seated on the rim

If a valve is damaged, get the tyre and wheel checked by a tyre specialist immediately.

4.    Watch for tyre spinning

If you notice that a tyre is spinning, it is probably because the wheel weights are too light. Spinning on rough surfaces will wear the tread bars, and eventually, the tyre will become useless. The best action to prevent this is to add wheel weights, though as a temporary measure you might also:

  • Adjust inflation pressure down (but not below the recommended pressure)
  • Decrease the draft load

5.    Check your rims

If your tyre is fitted to a rim that is too narrow, it will suffer the same problems as if it were over-inflated. The wear will be concentrated on the centre of the tyre tread. Wear will be increased, and traction will be reduced. The tyre is also likely to suffer sidewall damage, where the wheel rim subjects extra pressure on the tyre. It’s not unusual for tyres that have been fitted on narrower rims to suffer sidewall separation.

Always ensure that your tyres and rims match.

6.    Clean oil and grease from your agricultural tyres

Oil, grease and fuel damages tyre rubber. So, too, does agricultural chemicals. If you use your tyres where they come into contact with any such liquids, make sure they are cleaned before storing your vehicle.

7.    Check your tyres for damage daily

At the end of every day, do a tyre check. Look for cuts, scrape and breaks. Look for exposed cords. If a tyre is damaged, it should be removed, tested and repaired by a qualified tractor tyre specialist.

For all your agricultural tyre needs in West Brisbane, we’re here to help. We’ve got extensive experience in the supply, fitting, and maintenance of agricultural tyres on all types of vehicle. Contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and make sure your agriculture tyres are in top condition for all seasons.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Agriculture Tyres – How to avoid tyres harming your Queensland harvest

Agriculture Tyres – Tips to keep agricultural tyres in top condition

Agricultural tyres and equipment have a nasty habit of breaking down at the most critical time. And what time could be more significant than during the harvest season in Queensland? You’ve got to be on top of your game at this period of the year. You’ve got the weather to contend with. And when a crop is ready to be harvested, time isn’t going to be on your side.

One of the most critical (and overlooked) pieces of farm equipment are your agricultural tyres. If one blows mid-harvest, it could ruin what promised to be a great crop. Here are my best tips to keep your tyres in peak condition when it matters the most.

1.    Check your agricultural tyres for damage

You may not have given your combine the once-over for some time. Last year’s harvest could have left bulges, cuts and tears on your agricultural tyres that you’ve forgotten about. Not checking your tyres before you put them to work in the field could prove to be an expensive error.

Check the tread and sidewalls for any damage before you start the engine.

2.    Remove agricultural tyre flat spots

When your combine has been inactive for a while, all its weight will have been in one area of the tyres. This can cause flat spots on each of your tyres.

Top agricultural tyre tip: Inflate your tyres to a little above the operating inflation, and move the combine into the sunlight. It will warm your tyres and help return them to their proper shape.

3.    Check tyre pressures

Think about where you combine will be used. Does your land slope? Is there a lot of tarmacs to be travelled?

Consider the terrain and intensity of work, and inflate your tyres to the correct operating pressures.

4.    Check the wheels

Damage to wheels could throw out their alignment and balancing. It could cause you a heap of trouble, with uneven tyre wear leading to a rapid deterioration of the tread.

5.    Don’t neglect your rear tyres

It’s common for farmers to neglect their rear tyres. You should make the same checks on these that you do your front tyres. Make sure that you inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

6.    Inspect your tyres every day

The sooner you spot tyre damage and make a repair; the more effective the repair will be. It will be cheaper, too.

Make an agricultural tyre inspections part of your daily routine. Check for cuts and bulges. Make sure you check all around the tyre, and inner and outer sidewalls. Check and correct inflation pressures before you go into the field.

7.    Choose the right agricultural tyres

If you need new agricultural tyres, make sure they’re right for the vehicle and the job it’s doing. There is a huge choice of agricultural tyres today. They’re tested for performance, load capacities, and fuel consumption qualities. Michelin’s Ultraflex Technology allows agricultural tyres to be run at lower inflation pressures. It’s been proven to help performance and operator safety and comfort.

Don’t neglect your other vehicles’ agricultural tyres, either. If your trailer is carrying heavy loads, its tyres are just as important as those on your combines and tractors.

The tips above will help you have a great harvest. If you want us to come and check or replace your agricultural tyres or need any tyre advice, contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and get it straight from the experts at our West Brisbane tyre shop. Our technicians are here to help you make the best choice. With extensive experience in the supply and fitting of agricultural tyres, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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