Tuesday 27 September 2016

Tyre technology that cuts fuel costs and limits soil damage

Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30

Athy farmer Neil Thornton's Fendt Favorit 716 with Michelin Xeobib tyre
Athy farmer Neil Thornton's Fendt Favorit 716 with Michelin Xeobib tyre

Athy farmer Neil Thornton has become the first to specify a combination of VF 710/60 R42 and VF 600/60 R30 Michelin XeoBib tyres on a Fendt Favorit 716 - believed to be the largest set of Michelin tyres ever fitted to this model of tractor in Ireland.

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Farming more than 300 acres of land with his two sons David and Luke, Neil's Fendt is one of four tractors shod with Michelin tyres and will be used primarily for seasonal work - including stubble cultivation, crop establishment, ploughing, drilling, grain transportation and contract work.

"Running our tyres at the lowest recommended pressure is key to limiting soil damage and maintaining the health of our fields. Fitting XeoBib tyres gives us the flexibility we need to make sure we are running at the optimum pressure for each application, whether we're in the field or on the road," said Mr Thornton.

Designed to deliver minimum ground compaction, the XeoBib tyres have a 24pc larger footprint than a conventional tyre of the same size.

Pressure is distributed across a greater area with the purpose of limiting rut formation, soil damage and wheel slip.

Earlier this year Michelin claimed the results of a trial showed Xeobib tyres can save farmers hundreds of euro in fuel every time they drill a field. In the trial XeoBib tyres were fitted to a Massey Ferguson 6616 tractor operating with a Kuhn power harrow drill combination and driven over a 100 hectare field.

With the front tyre pressures set at 20 psi and the rear pressure set to 30 psi, it cost €1,372 in fuel to drill the field, leaving an average rut depth of 133mm.

Savings

These pressures, claimed Michelin, simulated the tyre pressures required for a conventional agricultural tyre and the tyre loads measured.

However, when the pressures were dropped to 7 psi for the front tyres and 13 psi for the rear - pressures the innovative XeoBib tyres can handle - the cost was just €811, resulting in an impressive total saving of €561.

The rut depth was also lower - an average of just 88mm and this left sub-soil compaction significantly reduced as well.

Gordon Brookes, technical manager for Michelin's Agriculture division, said: "The trial figures really speak for themselves.

"The benefits of this tyre technology lies in its ability to be run at incredibly low pressures.

"This not only has multiple paybacks for the soil, notably reducing compaction and therefore enhancing yields, but the enhanced traction also means the wheels don't slip as much, so don't use as much fuel to complete the job."

Indo Farming

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