For every problem, there’s a solution. And sometimes, for every solution, there’s another problem lurking. Such is the case with Bt corn stubble.
Bt corn has delivered increasingly higher yields, improved standability and upwardly trending plant populations. That has resulted in stronger, tougher stalks – and more of them in the field. The result is a unique challenge for agricultural tire manufacturers, who have to deliver increased strength and flexibility to minimize the resulting wear and tear.
"One of our goals has been just trying to educate growers about what we’re up against," says Titan product manager Scott Sloan. "For years and years, farmers have been able to run over that stubble with no problems, but that’s just not the case anymore."
Sloan says Goodyear Farm Tires, which is a Titan Tire Corporation brand, hears many requests to simply make the tire compounds harder. While that’s true to a point, he says, improvements and innovations to tire design are also critical for success. For Titan’s part, the company has developed a Stubble Guard implement tire that has, among other things, four layers of Kevlar (the same material used to make bulletproof vests).
The company also has launched two Increased Flexion (IF) tire product lines, which allow a 20 percent higher load at the same inflation pressure as a standard radial, or the same load with 20 percent lower inflation pressure. Lower inflation is another combatant in the war against stubble damage, Sloan says. This is part of a more holistic approach that includes adding Stalk Stomper implements or even simple behavioral changes such as driving between the rows to limit contact.
Michelin has taken reduced inflation a step further with its newly debuted YieldBib tire with "ultraflex technology." It’s the first standard-size Very-High Flexion (VF) option in tires for high horsepower MFWA and 4WD Tractors designed to operate at up to 40 percent less air pressure than standard radials.
"Compaction is a big issue for us, and we like that low-pressure tire," says Iowa farmer Arlyn Schipper. "It goes back to dollars per acre. If we don’t have the compaction, we get better yield. And the YieldBibs are durable. We have 6,000 hours on these, and they are not even half gone yet, and we do a lot of road work. The durability makes us more efficient, and they perform well."
Michelin is touting the performance from one of its Nebraska field trials in this YouTube video. And in the video below, agricultural sales and development manager Demetric Mass explains some additional benefits of this VF tire.