ELONGATED FOOTPRINT. Running at reduced tire pressure allows the tire to have a longer footprint, as illustrated in these photos. The image on the left shows a standard tire’s contact with the soil at 25 psi. The image on the right is a VF tire run at 15 psi, 40% less than the standard. That extra contact with the soil allows for better traction and flotation, reducing the tire’s “bulldozing” effect.

Under Pressure: Tires Can Protect Soil, Increase Yields

Lowering your tire pressure without sacrificing performance can improve traction, lessen soil compaction, improve fuel usage and even raise yields.

James Tuschner is confident no-tillers can increase their yields, and their bottom lines, just by making changes to their tires.

After three decades in the tire business, with the last 10 focused on agriculture, Tuschner has seen first-hand how tire technology — specifically running a lower tire pressure — can impact a farmer’s profitability. One grower he knew made over $100,000 back in just one year on a central tire inflation system that cost $50,000. 

Tuschner consults equipment manufacturers on how to improve machine performance and runs the website At the 2022 National No-Tillage Conference, he shared what improvements growers can expect to see with better tire technology, and how they can maximize their tires’ performance.

More Yield, Less Fuel

Studies by both the University of Illinois and Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom found that corn yields can increase by approximately 4% just by switching from a standard tire to a very high flexion (VF) tire.

At last year’s national corn yield average of 177 bushels per acre, that means a 7 bushel-per-acre increase. If corn is priced at $5.50 per bushel, that would result in an additional $38.50 revenue per acre. 

Better tire technology also decreases fuel use. Tuschner shared numbers from Michelin North America showing growers burn 21.6 gallons of diesel per hour with their VF Tires vs. the typical 24 gallons. If diesel is $3.35 per gallon, that’s an $8.04 savings in fuel per hour.

Reduce Pressure

These improvements happen because VF technology allows…

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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