IF/VF Tractor Tires: What Sets Them Apart from Standard Radial Tires?
Tire technology is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of modern (heavy) equipment. The bigger and heavier your tractor or implement, the more important it is to make sure it’s riding on the right tires. Why? Because the wrong tires can undercut your bottom line with decreased fuel economy and, because of increased compaction, potentially lower yields.
Two options available to farmers to combat these problems are increased flexion (IF) and very high flexion (VF) tires. Michelin was the first to invent IF tires in the early 2000s; VF tires followed shortly after. IF tires can carry (up to) 20 percent more load at a standard radial’s inflation pressure. Or they can carry the same load (as a standard radial) at 20 percent less inflation pressure. Very High Flex (VF) tires can carry 40 percent more load at a standard radial’s inflation pressure—or the same load (as a standard tire) at 40 percent less pressure.
Better Contact, Better Traction with IF/VF Tires
IF and VF tires achieve these gains using highly technical sidewalls that incorporate a complex network of steel belts to help carry the load and promote a uniform, rectangular, and larger footprint. This equals better fuel economy and longer wear, thanks to decreased slippage and increased traction. Plus, stouter sidewalls offer stronger protection against corn stalk damage.
Flotation Depends on Tire Inflation
As a general rule, the compaction force a machine exerts on the ground is roughly the same as its tires’ inflation pressures. If a machine’s tires are inflated to 80 psi, the machine will exert 80 lbs. of compaction force on the soil. Reduce the inflation level to 45 psi, and you’d be exerting less than 50 lbs. of compaction force on the soil. With today’s larger and heavier machines, it’s especially important to reduce compaction potential in your fields whenever possible.
A Word of Caution on Tire Pressure
You’ll need to remember one important rule before you invest in IF or VF tires: success depends largely on you. In order to see all the benefits discussed in this article, you must correctly set tire pressure for specific applications. If you don’t, problems such as power hop and road lope can rear their ugly heads and lead to discomfort, shorter tire life, and decreased productivity.
IF/VF Tire Options for Tractors, Combines, Sprayers, and Implements
The scope of equipment with IF/VF tire options has greatly expanded since their initial release. So whether you're looking to get rid of the pinch row effect from your planter or stop making those "pizza cutter" tracks in the field with your sprayer, you have options.
Your Resource for IF/VF Tires
Because IF and VF tires are a significant investment on your part, it’s important to work with a tire dealer who can help you choose the right tires and also help you determine how best to inflate them for different applications. Every farm is unique, which is why NTS Tire Supply offers a comprehensive range of ag traction solutions for farmers and equipment dealers and houses the largest selection of used and takeoff ag tires and wheels in the Upper Midwest. Give us a call or drop us a line today to learn more about IF and VF technology.