Manure tankers are among a handful of farm implements that have a bad reputation for a very obvious reason. No, we don’t mean the smell. We’re talking about weight. Even though the largest tankers may ride on eight flotation tires, they are still a major cause of soil compaction on the farm. It’s unlikely that manure tankers are going to magically become lighter, but there is a strategy to reduce the impact of these huge machines on your fields: Run your tanker’s tires at their lowest safe pressures in the field using a central tire inflation system.

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Your Biggest Barrier to Tanker Productivity: One “Fixed” Tire Pressure

To operate your manure tankers safely, you have to set your tire pressures, on both your tractor and tanker, for the worst case scenario you’re going to face for the day. For most farmers, this means setting tire pressures for the road. Run down the road with your tire pressures too low and your tires may overheat and fail. Or at the very least, your manure tanker will pull much harder thanks to the increased rolling resistance.

For the best performance on the road, you need your tires inflated to their maximum psi—as stiff as possible for low rolling resistance and efficient high-speed travel.

A radial tire's footprint gets longer as tire pressure decreases. In the field, you want to run at low inflation pressures—ideally below 15 PSI.

However, in the field, you want your tires inflated to their lowest safe psi—as soft as possible for a large, long, stable footprint to minimize compaction.

Since it’s not practical to deflate your manure tanker’s tires when you get to the field—much less inflate them before you head back down the road—you’re probably stuck with your tires inflated at a “compromise” pressure: A pressure that’s somewhere between the ideal road and field pressure for your tanker. 

However, tires set to a “compromise” air pressure aren’t optimized for anything.

4 Reasons Your Manure Tanker Needs a Central Tire Inflation System

1. Extend Tire Life

Around 90% of ag tire wear happens on the road. And if your tanker’s tires are set to a “compromise” air pressure, your tire investment could go up in smoke. Wear accelerates at an alarming rate when you run underinflated tires down the road. 

2. Save Fuel

If you’re hauling a loaded tanker on underinflated tires down the road, you might as well pull a 10% grade all day. If you’re pulling a tanker through the field on overinflated tires—and sinking into the soil more than necessary—you’re also guzzling more fuel than necessary. Compromise tire pressures hurt your fuel economy and profitability everywhere you go.

3. Pull Easier

Okay, this is related to #2, but it’s worth saying again: Why tax your tractor and inflate your fuel bill when you can outfit your tanker (and tractor) with a central tire inflation system? You’ll save fuel and wear and tear on your tractor’s drivetrain. According to PTG, the manufacturer of the inflation systems we sell at NTS, for every .4 inch you sink into the soil, your fuel use climbs by 10 percent.

4. Fight Compaction

Whether you’re custom hauling or tracking across your own land, it pays to fight compaction. If you have the ability to drop your tanker’s (and tractor’s) tires to their lowest safe pressures for the field, your equipment will float better and cause fewer ruts. As their pressures drop, your tanker’s tires deflect to create long, stable footprints that will help minimize compaction. And as you’ll learn below, compaction can cause you or your customers to lose productivity in many, many ways.

10 Ways Compaction Damages Your Soil and Lowers Your Profitability.

No matter how much technology your tires pack, if you’re running them across your fields at pressures that are higher than necessary for the load you’re carrying and the speed you’re traveling, your fields are at risk for compaction. And what’s the end result of compaction? Lost yields and productivity for your farm.

*Soil compaction occurred on Year 1. The yield loss measured from Year 1 through Year 10 is with tillage and no additional soil compaction after Year 1.

Ultimately, compaction slashes your income because it lowers your yields and increases your costs. How? There are 10 ways that compaction impacts your bottom line. 

  1. Poor drainage. Compacted soil becomes more dense, with less pore space, which means it’s slow to drain water. This means more days when you’re unable to work in the field and more crop problems.
  2. Fewer soil microbes. More water ponding means cooler and wetter soil, which is less friendly to soil microbes that break down organic matter and make it available to fuel your crops’ growth.
  3. Fertile topsoil loss. As soil is tightly pressed together, it’s easier for wind and water to carry it away.
  4. Increased drought risk. Because of the lack of pore space, once water does drain from the soil, very little remains to carry your crop through dry periods. 
  5. Stunted roots. Roots have a hard time moving through packed soil. Smaller root systems = less nutrients and lower yields.
  6. Late emergence. Plants in compacted areas of the field tend to emerge later. Or not at all if water is ponding in the tire tracks.
  7. More inputs needed. Compacted soil makes it harder for nutrients to reach your crop, and can cause higher amounts of nitrogen to escape into the air before it can benefit your plants.
  8. Oxygen starvation. Healthy soil is made up of around 25% air. Throw this ratio off, and your plants will turn yellow—nature’s cautionary color that signals a yield loss in your future.
  9. Increased fuel costs. Poorly-drained fields require more fuel to work, thanks to the mud. And any time your tractor and/or implements are sinking into the ground, your fuel economy is sinking too.
  10. Increased maintenance costs. Harder pulling means more wear and tear on equipment.

Read More: An in-depth look at how compaction is costing farmers millions of dollars every year.

Your Best Solution for Tackling Tanker Compaction: A Central Tire Inflation System

When you outfit your manure tanker(s) and tractor with a central tire inflation system, you will finally be in complete control of your tire pressures. You can set optimum tire pressures for both road and field at the touch of a button from your tractor seat. No compromise necessary. 

In fact, PTG, the German manufacturer of the central tire inflation systems we sell at NTS Tire Supply, first broke into the European market on manure tankers. Along with sprayers, center-fill planters, and large tractors, manure tankers are perfect candidates for a central tire inflation system because they undergo large swings in weight and speed. 

Because their injectors don’t have a wide reach like a sprayer’s boom, tankers end up making frequent passes across any given field. This is why it’s extra important to tackle high tire pressure before it takes a heavy toll on your soil.

3 Easy Steps to Outfit Your Manure Tanker with a Central Tire Inflation System

  1. Talk with a CTIS expert at NTS Tire Supply.
  2. Get a customized PTG inflation kit for your machine (not a box of random parts).
  3. Install your system (or have NTS Tire Supply install it) and start benefiting from new levels of performance.

PTG designs its systems to run 10,000 hours with minimum yearly maintenance. Utilizing dual-line technology, the air lines are only under pressure when adjusting the tire pressure, which saves wear and tear on the overall system and—most importantly—won’t cause your tires to go flat if an air line would break in the field. 

PTG offers the only aftermarket dual-line inflation system. With competitors’ single-line systems, you may have to quickly leap out of the cab in the event of a failure and close a valve to avoid a flat tire. PTG systems are also ISOBUS ready—you can mount the company’s digital control or incorporate the system into your existing monitor. 

Learn all the Details: Who is PTG? How long do the systems last? Are they dependable? How do they work?

Spread Manure, Not Compaction

If you want to safeguard your soil, prolong tire life, and improve fuel economy while hauling manure, call to speak with our central tire inflation system specialist and we’ll quote a PTG central tire inflation system that will fit your needs and drive your farm forward.

Posted 
May 16, 2022
 in 
Knowledge Guide
 category.

References

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