Flotation and Traction

January 6, 2018 10:35 AM
 
Transport width is narrower with super-singles, even though the square inches of footprint is comparable to conventional dual wheels, and turning radius is reduced.

Tractors equipped with super-single tires are drawing interest—not just for four-wheel-drive tractors but also mechanical-front-wheel-drive tractors. Super-singles are ultra-wide tires that measure 900 mm to 1,400 mm from sidewall to sidewall (31" to 55").

“With our LSW [low sidewall] super-single tires on mechanical-front-wheel-drive tractors we’ve seen 25% more flotation and less soil compaction [compared to duals on the same tractor],” says Scott Sloan, Titan/Goodyear product manager. “Duals tend to cut ruts when the ground is wet, and leave deeper wheel tracks even when it’s dry, and we don’t see that as much with super-singles.

“We’ve also seen excellent traction from our LSW tires,” Sloan adds. “Last fall, we ran identical deep rippers side-by-side on a four-wheel-drive tractor with LSW super-singles and a Quadtrac-type tractor. The in-cab slippage monitors showed very little difference.”

Flotation and traction do not always go hand-in-hand, however. Super-single tires designed specifically to help combines float across fields don’t necessarily perform well on a high-horsepower tractor doing heavy tillage. Depending on carcass design and other factors, super-singles designed exclusively for flotation might increase compaction.

“Generally, if an equivalent super-single is used rather than duals, there is an improvement in flotation,” says Mike Pantaleo, customer engineering support manager, Michelin North America Inc. “ However, there is usually also a loss in traction, and with high-horsepower [tractors] with high torque, the rate of slippage increases. Slippage is a major factor in compaction and rutting.”

All manufacturers have some sort of big, wide, super-single tire but they’re not all the same.

“Goodyear has their LSW, other brands have IF [Increased Flex] and VF [Very High Flex] super-single-type tires,” says Terry Morris, sales manager for Dawson Tire, a national retailer for all major agricultural tire brands. “Logger tires have been around for years—big, wide, relatively low-profile cleated tires—but you have to be careful using them in ag applications. Logger tires have special steel belts to improve puncture resistance. Running those tires down the road builds up so much heat the steel belts chew up the tires from the inside out.”

Be sure to work with a knowledgeable tire representative who knows your operation and helps you buy the right tire for the job.


Better Yields, Better Root System

In 2017, two mechanical-front-wheel-drive tractors, one with duals on the front and rear and the other with super-singles on the front and rear, each pulling 30" row Kinze planters were put to the test by a Missouri farmer. “The customer’s results showed a 5-bu.-per-acre advantage to the super-singles,” says Scott Sloan, Titan/Goodyear product manager. “Even in the rows planted into the super-single tracks, he could see better root systems compared to the roots that grew between the compacted inter-rows left by the dual-wheeled tractor that drove between the rows.”

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