Tag Archives for " 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

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