What Makes an Ag Tire Excellent?
The life of an ag tire is demanding. Farm equipment is getting bigger, more powerful, and faster—tasking tires with carrying huge loads, transferring massive amounts of horsepower, and traveling at high speeds. Additionally, today’s farm equipment spends an increasing amount of time on harsh, heat-inducing roads (heat is the number one enemy of tires) and must contend with tough stalks left behind by modern, super-resilient crops.
Given the numerous challenges facing farm tires, the question raised is: what makes a good ag tire?
Tire Molds at ATG's Tirunelveli Factory
Application-Specific Ag Tire
Farm tires are becoming more specialized, and often the best farm tire is the one designed for your particular application and/or to meet specific requirements, or a combination of needs such as:
- Carrying capacity
- Reducing soil compaction
- Ride Quality
- Stubble protection
- Traction (forward, reverse, and lateral)
The Recipe for a Great Tire
The “rubber” used for tires is actually a compound made from a multitude of ingredients, including natural and synthetic rubber. Each ingredient is chosen to impart particular qualities in a tire, such as heat dissipation. You’ll even find super-specific compounds, like the stubble-resistant one used in all of our Alliance AgriFlex VF tires which is formulated for maximum protection against stalks. Because different parts of the tire have distinct needs and face different stresses, it’s not uncommon to find one type of compound used for the tread area, another for coating inside plies and belts, another for the sidewalls, and more.
Replete with Rubber
Although you might expect the tire with the most tread depth to last the longest, that is not always the case. In some instances, the use of high-tech formulations allows for lighter-weight tires with less rolling resistance, which equates to longer life and improved fuel efficiency. Likewise, deep treads don’t wear well on hard surfaces (in general), making tires with less tread—or treads specifically designed for hard surface use—a better choice for machines that spend time on the road. Check out our blog, “Why the Deepest Tire Isn’t Always the Longest Wearing Tire,” to learn more on this topic.
High-Quality Belts and Plies
The materials used for the belts and plies of a tire will affect every aspect of its performance. High-quality ply fabrics (such as the polyester found in our new Agri Star II) will help a tire keep its shape, dissipate heat, and improve puncture resistance. Likewise, the incorporation of steel belts can improve:
- Fuel efficiency
- Heat dissipation
- Puncture resistance
Alliance is a leader in steel-belted farm tires. Steel belts are available on more Alliance tires than any other ag tire manufacturer and all of our AgriFlex VF tires feature steel belts.
Better Bead Bundle
The bead, also often called a bead bundle, is a loop of high-tensile steel cable coated with rubber. The bead is responsible for holding the tire to the rim, along with holding the tire plies in place, and ultimately transferring a machine’s power to the ground. A vital contributor to the performance and longevity of a tire, look for a reinforced bead that resists abrasion and fatigue. Alliance is an innovator in developing special shapes and configurations of bead bundles to improve tire performance in tough applications like farming and forestry.
Tire Tread and Traction
A tire’s tread plays a key role in taking advantage of the increasing strength, size, and speed of today’s farm equipment, affecting everything from power transfer to ride quality. Farm tires come with a variety of tread types such as R-1, R-1W, R-2, R-4, and what we think of as R-5 (our “technical treads” or “hybrid” designs that combine the curves of R-1/R-2 lugs with the blocks common on industrial E-2/E-3 tires, such as the Alliance AgriFlex+ 363 and 550 MultiUse). Matching the right tread type to your application can result in improved traction, less slippage, better ride, and more efficient use of machine power.
A manufacturer’s warranty is an expression of the confidence they have in the quality of their product. As a customer, a strong warranty is also insurance in the event that stubble damage or an unusual manufacturing defect causes a tire to fail. In addition to robust warranty coverage, another consideration is the ease with which a claim is processed.
With this in mind, ATG farm tires are covered by one of the industry’s best warranties: 10-year wear coverage on most of our premium steel-belted ag radials and 7-year coverage on the remainder of our farm lineup. Claims are simple and easy to file from your phone on the Warranty Wizard app.
Total Cost of Ownership
The price of a tire at the dealer is not a clear indication of the expense of tire ownership over the long run. For example, an ag tire with a low upfront cost that lasts only a season can end up costing a lot more than a higher-priced tire that lasts longer, improves machine performance, and reduces compaction (thus promoting higher yields)—never mind the cost of unforeseen downtime at a critical moment such as post emergence spray season, when weeds are growing inches a day, or harvest. The best tire is the tire that provides the lowest total cost of ownership.