Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Incorrect tyre pressure will inflate fuel bills

Deek Casey

Tyre selection has a huge role to play, especially in tillage farming. The importance of matching the tyres on your tractor to the work that it will be carrying out cannot be overstated.

Tyres are the conduits through which mechanical power is passed to the ground.

The efficiency of that power delivery depends on the condition and inflation pressure of the tyre.

Despite popular opinion, Michelin tests have recently demonstrated that over inflation can lead to more of a fuel drain in field conditions, especially in tillage applications.

Over inflation leads to the tyre leaving a deeper "footprint" in the field and more diesel is burnt in both the making of that footprint and in the tractor's attempt to pull out of a deeper rut than is necessary to maintain traction.

The increased fuel consumption in this case is because of a bigger rolling resistance.

On the other hand, too low a tyre pressure is also a drain on diesel because the energy required to move the tractor and its load increases above and beyond what is required for good ground flotation practice.


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The key point is that a balance must be reached. As a rule of thumb, modern tractor tyres should have between three or four lugs on the ground.

On the rear tyre of a typical 180hp tractor, in order to have three or four lugs on the ground at any given time the pressure should be just over 1 Bar - or 17psi in old money.

Contractors and farmers should check tyre pressure once a week at all times of the year but especially at this busy time in the fields.

If for some reason you anticipate your load will be changing significantly for a certain week - for example, if you are spreading slurry with a large tanker - then you can alter pressure as appropriate to suit the new load conditions.

Indo Farming