Spinning your wheels wastes time and money. And you never know when wet weather is going to strike or when labor is going to come up short, so the pressure is on to complete fieldwork as quickly as possible. Plus—the faster you finish, the more time you have to enjoy life’s important events.
At NTS Tire Supply, we want to connect you with the best tires to drive your farm forward. Below are our picks for the top 10 tires to maximize traction in 2023. But before we share our picks, we’d like to summarize why these tires perform the way they do.
How Our Top 10 Tires Deliver the Best Traction
1. Larger, Longer Footprints
If you want to increase traction without a massive weight increase, you need to put more lugs on the ground. This is why IF (increased flexion) and VF (very increased flexion) technology is vital. Advanced sidewall engineering allows VF/IF radials to flex more than a standard tire.* As tire flex increases, the size of your footprint increases.
A longer footprint equals more lugs on the ground. More lugs on the ground equals more pulling power with each engine revolution. It’s a simple formula, but one that is sure to save you time and fuel in the field. For example, an internal company test at Michelin found that its AXIOBIB 2 VF tire provided a 28–35% increase in traction and a 7–11% time savings over its older MACHXBIB (non-VF) model.
2. Smarter Lugs
Dual-anchored, double-edged, advanced geometry . . . a lug isn’t just a lug any more. Smarter lug design accomplishes three goals:
- Provides a bigger “bite” into the ground without excessive compaction.
- Delivers increased stability for less traction lost to vibrations and lug bending.
- Encourages longer wear and better durability with heavy roading.
For example, the “tread wings” on Trelleborg’s TM1000s create a wider footprint under load (in addition to the tire’s longer IF footprint when compared to a standard radial). During company testing, researchers found that the TM1000 can put 28% more power to the ground than its budget competitors. The company estimated a time savings of 21 hours compared to the average times of the competition on plowing 1,200 acres.
3. Mud-Fighting Engineering
Eventually you’re going to have to work in the mud, so if you’re after maximum traction, you’ll want tires that stay as clean as possible in wet conditions. As your tread packs with slop, you start wasting fuel and time. These tires' advanced lug designs and terraced tire faces help to slow mud accumulation. And once mud does start to collect between the lugs, these tires are quicker than the average radial to start shedding it.
One point of caution: No tire will help you if you’ve decided to work in conditions that are simply too wet. But they will help you maximize traction in situations where you’d normally be comfortable running with your current tire setup.
Advanced rubber compounds and tread designs combine to give you more hours of work. Does that mean that they’ll pay for themselves simply because of their longer service life? Depends on your operation. One of NTS Tire Supply’s traction experts will be able to advise you on the best solutions for your unique needs.
Below is a list of our favorite tires to maximize your traction for heavy pulling. We’re talking about the absolute best tires for mounting on large MFWDs and 4WDs for your farm’s most demanding jobs.
The Top 10 Tires to Maximize Traction in 2023
Michelin: Top Dollar, Top Performance
If you want to roll with the latest and greatest tire technology to save fuel and time, the Michelin line can’t be beat. Sure, they’re some of the most expensive tires on this list, but these tires offer deep tread rubber, advanced casing compounds to slow stubble damage, and have a devoted customer following.
1. Michelin AXIOBIB 2 (VF)
2. Michelin AGRIBIB 2
Trelleborg: Top Performance, Customer Favorite
Our customers who mount Trelleborgs tend to love them. Following in Michelin’s footsteps, the Progressive Traction and High Power lines offer low rolling resistance for efficiency on the road while giving you a big bite in the field thanks to advanced tread engineering.
3. Trelleborg TM1000 Progressive Traction (VF, High HP)
4. Trelleborg TM1000 High Power (IF)
5. Trelleborg TM900 High Power
Alliance: Robust Performance for Less Money
Foreign tires sometimes get a bad reputation, but India-based Alliance has provided plenty of NTS Tire Supply customers with affordable performance when, say, more expensive Michelin’s are simply out of budget. An industry-leading 10-year warranty backs Alliance’s premium tires. In our experience, rolling with Alliance is a great choice.
6. Alliance 372 Agriflex+ (VF)
7. Alliance 365 VF Agristar
Firestone: Plenty of Fans
There’s a reason that many NTS Tire Supply customers request Firestone tires again and again: stick with something that works. In the right soil conditions (dry to normal), it’s nearly impossible to beat the bite of Firestone’s 23° tread bar. Firestone has addressed some of the wet-traction shortcomings of the 23° with the dual-angle lug design on the Maxi Traction.
8. Firestone Maxi Traction
9. Firestone 23°/23° Deep Tread
Goodyear: LSWs Churn out Higher Productivity
Goodyear has been hit or miss for us. (Casing failures have dogged some of the company's tire models.) But Goodyear/Titan's LSW lineup has been a customer favorite for years. Using a larger rim diameter and a smaller sidewall than a standard tire, LSWs tame power hope and road lope, which means faster working speeds and better traction and efficiency. You might also be familiar with LSW super singles—massive tires that take the place of duals.
10. Goodyear Optitrac
Your #1 Strategy to Slash Wheel Slip, Curb Compaction, and Put Every Last Horse to Work for You
There’s one strategy that can transform your high-horse tractor into an even higher horse tractor: Equip your beast with a PTG central tire inflation system. Your tractor lives in two worlds—the road and the field. You need high tire pressures to withstand road travel. But those same high pressures in the field increase wheel slip, increase traction, and increase your frustration . . . “I wish my tractor would put more power to the ground!”
The field is where a central tire inflation system really counts, because it’s where you make your money. When you run your tractor’s tires at their minimum safe psi (for the load and speed, according to your tire manufacturer), you’ll maximize your grip, minimize soil compaction, and return more dollars per acre to your farm in profit.
Ready to Upgrade? Worn Out Tires Cost You Money and Time.
Everyone loves to save money. But delaying your tire purchase to run your worn tires another season could cost you more in the long run. If your tread is between 60 and 75% on your heavy-pulling workhorse, it may be smart to buy new tires. Here’s why:
1. Fuel is expensive. Your time is worth even more. Worn tires increase slippage. Under high-horsepower, hard-pulling conditions, the additional (wasted) tire revolutions over hundreds or thousands of acres will stick you with a much larger fuel bill and waste valuable time.
2. You’re losing out on tire trade-in value. If you replace your tires closer to 75% tread remaining, you’ll stay ahead of the steep depreciation curve and get the most value from your trade-ins.
Talk to a Traction Expert and Stop Spinning Your Wheels
Our tire experts are eager to help you choose replacement tires for your high-horse MFWD or 4WD pulling machine—or get you more information and a quote on a central tire inflation system, so you can dial in optimized performance at the touch of a button. Share some details about your land, your goals, and your budget, and we can steer you in the right direction. With tires that maximize your traction beneath your tractor(s), you’ll Drive Your Farm Forward.
*VF tires can carry the same load as a standard radial tire at 40 percent less pressure. IF tires can carry the same load as a standard radial at 20 percent less inflation pressure.