4  Proper Tire Inflation

4 Proper Tire Inflation

Hi, my name is Jodi DeJong-Hughes and I work for the University Minnesota Extension. In this series of videos, we’re going to
learn about what is compaction, how to build a healthy soil to resist
compaction, and what equipment and tire choices are out there to help minimize the effects of
compaction in your fields. In September 2011 the University of Minnesota Extension
partnered with NDSU, commodity groups, and equipment
manufactures to hold the unique Field Day near Fergus
Falls, Minnesota. Four soil pits were created to demonstrate different management
techniques to help ‘Take Control’ of soil compaction. This
video is the fourth in a series of four to help farmers identify soil compaction and
manage it in their own fields. Ken Brodbeck with Firestone tires
spoke to us about the importance of proper tire care and maintenance. Experts agree that there’s no simpler
way to improve your tractor efficiency than by properly inflating your tires. Proper
tire inflation not only improves tractor efficiency, it can reduce the intensity
of the compaction from the tires. Ken spoke about the importance of a good
quality inflation pressure gauge. When your tire pressure is too low, it
can shorten the life your tire. Tire pressure that is too high
can increase wheel slippage, decrease your fuel efficiency, and create
more compaction. So inflation set too high or too low can cost you money you. I’ll give you two examples here of how a customer with two different inflation
settings for a given load can either make or break you. This is a a footprint we made of an actual
tire and it shows that it’s 24 inches long and it looks pretty good. If you can see
in the video – the centers of the bars are deflected and punched in and the shoulders of the tread bars have very little indentation in the into the foam. This is an overinflated
tire. If you look at its mate, which is properly inflated, you can
see the tread’s footprint is much longer. We go from 24 to 29,
so huge increase in length which then equates to better traction, less slippage, and obviously lower inflation pressure. With the correct inflation pressure, you see
here the bars are more evenly – the pressure – distributed across the base the bars and that then gives you better traction, less slip and lower compaction. So inflation pressure is key for making your
tractor perform and making sure your soils are not compacted. The benefit to adding duals or triples, in
addition to better flotation and traction, is it reduces the carrying load on each
tire. When you reduce the carrying load, you
can reduce the optimal tire inflation rate. This decreases the depth and the
intensity of the compaction. Radial tires exert a pressure 1 to 2 pounds
greater than their inflation pressure. For example, if a radial tire is inflated to 6 PSI, the tire exerts a pressure 7 to 8 PSI on the soil. If you have a heavy
axle load choose the largest tire that provides
the lowest inflation pressure to reduce your compaction potential. To
find your proper tire inflation pressure, weigh your tractor by each axle. Portable
scales or the grain elevator scale can do the job. Set the inflation pressure to the tire
manufacturer’s recommended pressure. These can be found
either in the tire manufacturer’s data books or
on their website. Remember, if you add a sprayer or the
fertilizer tanks, these must be added to your total axle
weight. If you don’t have access to a scale follow these tips by
Ken to tell if your tires are properly
inflated: For trying to set your pressure, it’s
difficult unless you can actually run the machine over a scale. Not everyone has a scale,
obviously, or access to an elevator, but I tell customers if they have a good flat – and
I emphasize flat, don’t do it on a crowned road – a flat concrete service like the shop with the tractor in its heaviest condition –
you can see here we have a a mounted cultivator, so this is its heaviest condition – you should be over have one to two – no
more than two I would say, just to be safe – tire’s shoulder bars of the tread touching the
concrete. If you can put your finger underneath those tread bars at center of the axle,
you have too much inflation pressure on the tires, so you can adjust want to 1 to 2 PSI. One to two bars touching on concrete is a good rule of thumb if you don’t have a scale. To reduce the compaction potential
consider buying the largest tire possible in diameter, width, and new technology. The
taller the tire, the longer the tire footprint, which
gives better traction and efficiency. The wider the tire, again more load
capacity and better traction. The largest tire
will allow for the lowest proper inflation pressure. Ken also
suggests for heavy axle loads, such as tractors that pulll
planters or sprayers, consider using the new increased
flexibility tire technology, also called IF and BF tires. Ken also mentioned a new inflation
technology, the central tire inflation system. This
technology allows the farmer to change the tire pressure of his tractor and
implement tires on-the-go. This can be a real time saver
for implements that require high tire pressures for transport, but much
lower pressures in the field, such as the central fill planter. Your
soil is the most valuable resource when growing a healthy and profitable crop. By paying attention to the proper tire
size and pressure, it’s a great way to ‘Take Control” of soil

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