Spring fieldwork has a way of sneaking up on us. So now is the time to address tire issues on your sprayer that could impact your farm’s productivity next season. Here are the top 4 sprayer flotation tires for protecting your yields and your bottom line in 2021.
What's the number one problem to avoid when working your fields? Deep soil compaction. Any large machine on your farm, including your sprayer, can drive soil compaction deep by transferring too much weight to the ground over too small of an area. Deep soil compaction is a two-faced problem: it can stunt root development that will thin your stands and slash your yields both this year and into the future—possibly for a decade or more. Even with the best tillage practices, it can be hard or impossible to overcome the damage done by transferring too much pressure onto the soil.
How can I protect my yields and my bottom line when spraying?
Upgrade your sprayer with IF or VF flotation tires and you can avoid the costly mistake of applying deep-soil compaction along with your chemicals. Consider this example: A 380/90R46 Firestone 9000 Radial tire has a footprint of 260 square inches. A 650/65R38 (the most common flotation tire size) Firestone 9000 Radial provides a 390-square-inch footprint. That’s an extra 130 square inches of ground contact per tire to spread the machine’s weight more evenly over the ground.
Improve Machine Handling
Flotation tires will improve your sprayer’s handling and make it easier for you to drive straight. And since flotation tires will allow you to travel through pesky spring wet spots, upgrading to floats can mean the difference between finishing your spraying early or having to wait to finish your fields.
Fight Poor Fuel Economy
As your tires sink further into the soil, you’ll burn more and more gallons of fuel just to climb out of your own ruts. For the health of your sprayer’s drivetrain and your wallet, it’s best to float over the ground instead of power through it.
Don’t have time to research tires?
You’re in luck: NTS Tire Supply stocks both new and used flotation tires and wheels for all major sprayer brands and models. Simply talk with one of our experts and you’re on your way to a new set of compaction-reducing radials for your sprayer.
Our Top Sprayer Tire Picks
Below are a few of our favorite sprayer tires based on customer and market feedback. We’ve split our picks into 4 categories: overall best tire, best value for large sprayers (more than 1,000 gallons), best value for smaller sprayers (less than 1,000 gallons), and best for long-distance roaders. As far as load and speed ratings are concerned, we recommend a load index of 160 or greater and a speed rating of B or better (D or E) for most common sprayers.
Overall Best Tire for Reducing Compaction
Alliance 365 VF Agri-Star
With high ratings for both soil protection and roadability, the Agri-Star is our first choice for a 650/65R38 flotation tire option. This VF (very improved flexion) tire allows you to carry the same weight at 40% lower air pressure than a standard radial tire. Since this tire is a new release, availability may be limited this year.
- VF650/65R38 173D
Alliance 372 Agriflex+
If you’re looking to further minimize compaction with a slightly larger tire, look no further than the Alliance 372 Agriflex+. With a significantly larger footprint than a standard radial tire in the same size, you’ll experience less soil compaction and a more comfortable ride. An R-1W tread pattern delivers good grip in the field and a long wear life—even with miles of road travel between jobs. Since these tires are also brand new, availability may be limited this year.
- VF710/70R38 178D
- VF710/70R42 185D
Also Look At: Trelleborg TM1000 High Power
The TM1000 features Trelleborg’s “Blue Tire Technology,” which includes advanced rubber compounds and other premium design features to lower compaction and extend tire life. Designed to provide a wide, stable footprint and low rolling resistance for lower compaction and better fuel economy, the TM1000 is an IF tire—able to support your sprayer’s weight at 20% lower air pressure.
- IF650/65R38 169D
Best Value for Mid- to Large-Sized Sprayers (more than 1,000 gallons)
Goodyear DT818 Optitrac
As its name suggests, the Optitrac aims to provide optimum traction and stability with its asymmetric lug shape, which is also curved for ride comfort on the road. Plus, you enjoy the security and familiarity of the Goodyear name and a price that puts this model solidly in the “good value for the money” category. It has sufficient load capacity for most sprayers.
- 650/65R38 166D
- 710/70R38 166D, 171D, 179D
- 710/70R42 173D
- IF710/70R38 181D: An IF version to operate at 20% lower air pressure.
Also Look At: Alliance 470 Agri Star II
The Agri Star II provides an excellent balance of performance and value for larger sprayers. With its “Stratified Layer” technology, the Agri Star is designed to offer secure road handling even after the tire is 40% worn. Each lug is made from two layers: a first layer with a multi-angle profile and a second layer with a single-angle profile.
- 710/70R38 172D, 178D
- 710/70R42 173D
Best Value for Smaller Sprayers (less than 1,000 gallons)
A quality radial tire that is a definite upgrade over narrow radial tires or even wide bias tires. With its lighter load index, this tire is a great value option to outfit your smaller sprayer.
- 650/65R38 163D
A Specialty Tire: Best for Long-Distance Roaders
Alliance 550 Multiuse
If you’re a co-op customer—or a grower with fields all over—the 550 Multiuse is a perfect (but pricey) choice for your sprayer. The tire’s center guide lugs provide excellent, secure handling on the road to help cut down on operator fatigue during those long days. In the field, the 550 Multiuse is easy on your soil and offers top-notch hillside stability. If you travel long road distances or have hilly fields, the 550 Multiuse may be the tire for your sprayer.
- 650/65R38 170D
Your Other Sprayer Tire Options
In addition to our top picks, we’ve listed below several other makes/models that are available for the sprayer flotation market. What puts these tires in our “other” category? In some cases, we haven’t had the opportunity to evaluate or collect customer feedback on them. In other cases, the particular model may have very limited availability or be more expensive than our top picks.
As you’re considering upgrades to your equipment before spring arrives, be sure to evaluate your sprayer’s tires. Are you running narrow tires when you could be running floaters? Are the tires starting to crack or are they low on tread? It may be time to upgrade—especially if you want to steer clear of deep-soil compaction with your sprayer passes this year. Talk with an expert at NTS Tire Supply to find the best sprayer flotation tires for the job.
- 650/65R38 171D: Shallower R-1 lugs reduce soil disturbance. This is also a great priced tire.
BKT Agrimax V-Flecto
- VF650/65R38 NRO 169D: A VF tire to operate at 40% lower air pressure. Not readily available.
- VF710/70R38 181D: A VF tire to operate at 40% lower air pressure. Not readily available.
BKT Agrimax RT 765
- 710/70R38 166D: Typically more expensive than other comparable options.
CEAT Farmax R70
- 710/70R38 710D
- 710/70R38 178D
- 650/65R38 166D: Generally more expensive than other comparable tires.
- 710/70R38 166D: Generally more expensive than other comparable tires.
Firestone Radial 9000
- 650/65R38 166D: Great tire but can be expensive.
- 650/65R38 166D
- IF650/65R38 169D: Currently not recommended because of sidewall bulging issues. It is also a more expensive option than other tires.
- 710/70R38 171D: Great tire but generally more expensive.
- 650/65R38 166D, 173 D: Generally more expensive than other comparable options.
- 710/70R38 166D: Generally more expensive than other comparable options.
Trelleborg TM800 High Speed
- 650/65R38 166D: Great tire but generally more expensive than other comparable tires.
- 710/70R38 166D