Your sprayer’s tires have a difficult job to do every year. Because sprayers need to stay between the rows, they are restricted to some of the narrowest tires in the business. These thin tires have to support and distribute an enormous amount of weight, provide enough traction to power through wet fields, and also survive long trips down the road. Not an easy task. And, your narrow sprayer tires also come with one big drawback: compaction.
Compaction from Spraying is Squeezing Your Bottom Line
Compaction is the #1 issue NTS Tire Supply helps farmers solve through smart traction strategies. Why? Because compaction is costing your operation a lot of money. Keep in mind that it’s not just your sprayer causing compaction in your fields, but it can be a big contributor because of its heavy loads and narrow tires. Here’s what one study from Iowa State University Extension found regarding compaction’s potential financial impact:
Narrow Tires = Severe Compaction
With tank capacities easily passing 1,000 gallons, your sprayer’s narrow tires, each with a small footprint, have to support an enormous amount of weight. Sprayer tire tracks are sometimes called “pizza-cutter tracks” for a good reason: these tires can leave deep, thin ruts in the soil, thanks to the massive amount of pressure transferred to the ground by their small footprints. Head out to the field after spraying, especially in wet conditions, and it’s not hard to follow the tracks.
Narrow Tires = Operator Fatigue
Sprayers are also famous for their imprecise, boat-like handling. Once again, the thin, narrow tires are to blame. It’s always a race to finish fieldwork during the spraying season, and fighting to stay between the rows all day (and night) doesn’t make the job any easier. However, here’s good news: there’s a way you can fight compaction and cure your sprayer’s handling with the push of a button.
A CTIS is Your Best Strategy to Conquer Sprayer Compaction
Top-tech VF radials are a step in the right direction to alleviate soil compaction and poor handling from your sprayer. If you want to give your soil—and your bottom line—the best protection against compaction, you need to go one step further: install a PTG central tire inflation system (CTIS). Why is your sprayer a good candidate for a CTIS?
You might also like: NTS Tire Supply's review of the top VF sprayer tires.
One Tire Pressure for All Situations Deflates Your Profits
Here’s the basic problem: Sprayer tires live in two worlds: the road and the field. For the road, you need high air pressure to handle the heat from long distances at high speeds. In the field, though, this will cause a frightening amount of compaction and poor handling. Without a CTIS, you’re left with no good choice except to run your tires at high, road-friendly pressures everywhere, even if this damages your soil.
If you try to compromise and choose a pressure somewhere between the correct road and field pressures, you’ll still cause compaction in the field. Plus, you’ll wear your tires faster, burn more fuel, and have to contend with poor handling while running down the road.
No aspect of your sprayer’s performance is optimized with a “compromise” tire pressure.
Save Your Soil, Save Fuel, and Inflate Your Yields with a CTIS
A PTG central tire inflation system allows you to control your sprayer’s tire pressures at the touch of a button from the driver’s seat. We explained all the details of these systems in a recent PTK article. A 2021 study, conducted by Michelin and Precision Inflation, the U.S. distributor for PTG inflation systems, tested the performance of a John Deere R4045 with Michelin Spraybib VF420/95R50s on the road and in the field. Here are the takeaways:
For the best road performance, you must inflate your tires to their maximum pressure.
Over a distance of 8 miles, the test compared the sprayer’s fuel economy with the tires inflated to 52 PSI to a more typical “compromise” inflation pressure of 38–40 PSI. With the tires inflated to 52 PSI, the sprayer saw 6% higher fuel economy.
The decrease in rolling resistance will also save your tires from early wear and improve handling. According to Precision Inflation, a CTIS can deliver up to 20% longer tire life.
For the best field performance, you must deflate your tires to the minimum required pressure.
Over a distance of 2,250 feet, the test compared the sprayer’s fuel economy with the tires inflated to an ideal 26/35 PSI vs. 32/45 PSI (a more common “compromise” pressure). With the pressures as low as safely possible, the sprayer saw 11% higher fuel economy. Why? Because, deflating the sprayer’s tires resulted in larger footprints, which decreased rutting and compaction.
When you spread the weight of your sprayer over a larger area, you protect your fields’ soil structure. This means larger root systems, fewer drainage issues, and higher yield potential. And, when you lower your tire pressure, your sprayer’s handling will dramatically improve too. No more fighting to stay between the rows.
Equip Your Sprayer with a CTIS In 3 Easy Steps
- Talk with a traction expert at NTS Tire Supply.
- Get a customized PTG inflation kit for your machine.
- Install your system (or have us install it) and start saving fuel & boosting your bottom line.
Once your sprayer system is installed, simply push a button when you want to change pressure. The target inflation time is around 3 minutes. Leaving the field to run down the road? Hit the inflate button while you fold up your booms. By the time you’re down the road a short distance, your tires are at their pre-set ideal road pressure. Deflating to your pre-set field pressure(s) takes only 90 seconds. Hit the deflate button(s) as you’re turning into the field. You’ll probably use two field pressures—one for each axle—especially if your sprayer has a majority of its weight on the rear axle.
What will it cost to install a CTIS on my sprayer?
For most sprayer models, you will have to invest close to $20,000. If your sprayer has an engine air compressor, you could spend closer to $11,000. Here’s an example cost breakdown pulled from the Michelin & Precision Inflation sprayer study we referenced above:
- ISOBUS 2-Circuit (front & rear axle) Sprayer System: $8,500
- 64-CFM Compressor (3-minute inflation time): $7,500
- 20L Air Tank with auto spit valve: $400
- Brackets & hydraulic hoses (customer supplied): $2,000
- Total: $18,400*
- Total without Compressor: $10,900
*Your actual quote will most likely vary.
PTG inflation systems last 10,000 hours, and it’s relatively easy to reinstall your system on a new sprayer if your current sprayer won’t be around that long.
You Can Recover Your Investment in the Long Run
When you factor in the ROI, you may recover the cost of installing a CTIS on your sprayer. According to Michelin and Precision Inflation, a central tire inflation system can deliver:
Apply Your Chemicals without Compaction this Spring
Because your sprayer must operate in two separate worlds—down the road and across your fields—it’s one of the prime candidates on your farm for a CTIS. As with any other traction technology, the initial investment seems steep. Until you remember the potential ROI:
- Increased yields
- Faster fieldwork
- Extended tire life
- More efficient road travel
- Better handling & ride
Is a CTIS the right move for your farm? Your planter and planting tractor are also ideal candidates for a central tire inflation system. Call and talk with an NTS Tire Supply expert before spring fieldwork gets rolling and drive your farm forward.