Tires to the Test

October 22, 2009 07:00 PM

Margy Fischer, Farm Journal Machinery Editor
It's a muddy, slippery mess in many fields this fall. Tire selection can play a big role in getting a grip on the situation.
Large-volume tires with low air pressures can deliver high fuel efficiency and traction and reduce slip and soil compaction. Partnering with Michelin tires, researchers from Purdue were on hand at field demos this year to compare Michelin's Axiobib large-volume radials to a competitor's standard-sized 480/80R50 farm tire.

The tests were conducted using a 275 hp Case IH 335 Magnum tractor. The first test featured a tractor equipped with the competitor's standard-sized radial working across a field pulling a ripper with five shanks; seven shanks and nine shanks.
On unplowed parts of the field, the tractor completed the same tests outfitted with Axiobib radials. In this demonstration, the Axiobib radial outperformed the comparison tires with greater pulling power and high fuel efficiency. 
Michelin and Purdue researchers showed the effects of soil compaction by digging a pit 27' wide, 12' long and 3' deep and refilling it with four-inch layers of pulverized black topsoil alternated with thin layers of white stone dust. A John Deere 9760 combine with a front axle weight of 53,200 lb. was outfitted with 650/85R38 Michelin MachXbib radials on the right side and a competing standard 520/85R46 tires on the left side of the machine and then, driven over the pit. The tires are the same height and were set at 30 psi in the standard and 17 psi in the Michelin radials.
A backhoe later dug out half of the pit to expose the ruts the tires left in the soil and show the difference between the compaction caused by standard tires and the lesser amount left by these large-volume tires. The alternating dark brown and white lines dipped where the combine had compacted the soil. The standard tires on the combine left a rut of about 10”. The Michelin large-volume tires left a rut of 6.5”.


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You can e-mail Margy Fischer at

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