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

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.