Payloaders, wheel loaders, front-end loaders—whatever you call them, these massive earth movers have become more common on the farm. If you want to maximize the utility of a payloader on your farm, you’ll want to ditch its stock OTR tire setup for a set of ag floaters.

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The Need for Payloaders on the Farm

It’s no wonder that many farmers—livestock farmers especially—turn to their payloaders for some of the biggest jobs on the farm. Sure, standard loader tractors can handle many of the same tasks, but not at the same speed and capacity of a large payloader. For starters, payloaders are built specifically to move large amounts of heavy material quickly and efficiently. The cab position allows the operator excellent visibility for filling manure spreaders and stacking hay bales. And because they articulate, payloaders are actually quite maneuverable, despite their size. In short, their dependability and capacity makes payloaders a natural fit for large livestock operations and even row crop farms to some extent. 


Keep OTR Tires in the Mine

Even with all their benefits, payloaders have one huge drawback on the farm: their tires. Stock OTR tires are designed to handle extreme conditions, with puncture and cut resistance often a top priority in their design. Solid rubber versions are even available for use in recycling centers, where pneumatic tires would go flat more often than people are disappointed with the amount of money their aluminum can collections bring. 

On the farm, however, stock OTR tires fall short. As in slipping, sliding, rutting, and slowing you down. When trying to operate in a muddy cattle yard, or across a hay field, or even down your driveway to push snow, stock OTR tires are going to leave you wishing for more traction, flotation, and a better ride.  

Floaters Fix Common Payloader Tire Issues

How do fix these problems? Upgrade your payloader with a set of floaters. The actual benefits you’ll see will depend on the specific application and working conditions, but here is a summary of the improvements you can expect when you mount a set of floaters w/standard ag traction tread on your payloader:

Improved Flotation 

Wider floater tires spread the weight of the payloader over a larger surface area. This results in reduced ground pressure and improved flotation, making it easier for the payloader to move across soft or loose surfaces like mud, alfalfa fields, or snow. The increased flotation minimizes the risk of the payloader getting stuck, sinking into the ground, or tearing up your hayfields. Stock OTR tires, which are much narrower and usually feature squared shoulders, can leave you stuck.

Improved Traction 

The ag standard R-1 tread pattern of floater tires provide enhanced traction in agricultural settings, where grip is more important than the face of the tire being able to withstand a million sharp rocks (or other construction hazards) every day.

Reduced Soil Compaction 

Floater tires distribute the weight of the payloader more evenly, which helps minimize soil compaction. This is especially important if you use the loader in your fields, where preserving soil health is a priority. By reducing soil compaction, floater tires help maintain healthy soil structure. And you’re less likely to leave the narrow, deep ruts that stock OTR tires can cause.


Like other ag tires, floater tires provide versatility by allowing the payloader to operate effectively where you need it to. This includes cattle lots, fields, and roadside applications. They offer a balance between off-road capabilities and on-road performance, making the payloader more adaptable to various job sites.

Favorite Floater Tires for Payloaders

Popular sizes for payloader floater conversions include 66 x 43.00-25, 1050/50R32, and 750/65R26. Want to know what size is right for your payloader? Call and speak to one of the traction experts at NTS Tire Supply. Here are a few of our favorite floater tire models, which have garnered good reviews from NTS customers:

Primex Terra Turbo
Alliance 376 Multistar
Mitas SuperFlexion Tire (SFT)
Goodyear OptiTorque
Michelin MegaXBib

Take Load off Your Soil and Your Mind

If you run a payloader that’s still riding on stock OTR tires, it’s time to take a load off your soil and switch to floater tires. A payloader tire upgrade will require tires and wheels, but don’t worry: NTS makes it easy! Simply give us a call and talk to one of our traction experts. We’ll work with you to figure out the best floater tire size for your loader and the best tire for your budget and needs. Maximize your big payloader’s efficiency and you’ll Drive Your Farm Forward.

June 1, 2023
Knowledge Guide


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