As your only link to the ground, your tires and wheels have the ability to either drive your profitability higher—or keep it stuck in the dirt. If your equipment’s performance is falling short in the field or down the road, it may need a changeover. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry: All you have to do is call the traction experts at NTS Tire Supply and let us Drive Your Farm Forward with the right tires and wheels.
How can you tell if your equipment performance is falling short?
It’s not always clear. At NTS Tire Supply, we run in to a couple common scenarios:
- A farmer calls and has identified a clear problem. For example, a wheel has cracked out on his combine for the second time in two years and brought harvest to a halt.
- A farmer calls and needs a replacement tire for a machine. During a conversation with one of our traction experts, it becomes clear that a particular machine might have a performance problem.
Long story short? You don’t have to accept tire and wheel failures, poor traction, excessive compaction, and poor handling. The right tires and wheels may be able to fix an equipment shortcoming you didn’t know you could alleviate or solve. Riding on an optimized tire and wheel setup is one way to Drive Your Farm Forward.
Changeover: A Memorable Performance Improvement with a Forgettable Name
What does “changeover” mean? A change from one system to another, according to the dictionary. You’ve probably never called a tire shop and said, “hey, I need a changeover.” Nor is anyone going to have a clue what you’re talking about if you start talking about changeovers over morning coffee. No worries: The word “changeover” isn’t important. The results you see with a changeover are.
In our world, a changeover involves optimizing the tire and wheel setup on a particular machine to achieve a desired goal. The simplest example is switching row spacing on a tractor. There are several common performance goals that farmers have in mind:
- Achieve optimum traction/flotation balance
- Avoid compaction-related yield losses
- Put more horsepower to the ground
- Solve handling issues
- Burn less fuel
- Extend tire life.
Changeovers on These 4 Machines Will Help Drive Your Farm's Profitability
Sounds complicated, right? Not when you work with the ag tire experts that have helped over 7,000 farmers perform more than 25,000 equipment upgrades. All you have to do is contact NTS Tire Supply. We can evaluate your situation and recommend a solution—and provide you with a quote—in minutes, not days.
Let’s take a quick look at common performance improvements by equipment type.
1. Planters: Lower PSI Means Higher Yields
The bulk of a center-fill planter’s weight—the seed, the frame, and often a large liquid fertilizer tank—is centered over the transport tires. A super-single truck tire may require 100 psi or more to safely carry a large, center-fill planter’s loaded weight. For traveling down the road, this is fine: the road is where these tires were originally designed to perform. In the field is where you run into problems. That same 100 PSI will wreak havoc on your yields by causing deep soil compaction.
And you might be causing more damage than you realize: On a 24-row planter, 25% of your rows are “pinch rows”—the center six rows beside the transport tires and beneath the center of the planter. 36 row planter? Almost 17% of your rows are pinch rows.
Most (if not all) center-fill planters now come standard with VF radial transport tires—or you have the option to add them straight from the factory. VF (very increased flexion) radial tires will carry the weight of your planter at up to 40% lower air pressure than those truck tires.
2. 4WD Tractors: Pull Harder, Save Fuel & Time
Spinning your wheels wastes time and money. To set up your largest workhorse for prime pulling and efficiency, you need an optimized tire setup. For some operators, that’s a set of Goodyear LSW super singles. For others, an 800- or 900-section-width dual setup is the way to go. With big 4WD tire setups, it’s important to keep a couple points in mind:
- 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) tire technology is vital. Advanced sidewall engineering allows VF/IF radials to flex more than a standard tire. As tire flex increases, its footprint gets longer. And 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.
- In order to find the best tire setup for your 4WD, you first have to think about how you use the machine. Does it need to lug a planter, a grain cart, and do tillage? Or is it a dedicated tillage machine? The answer to this question—and many others—will determine the best tire and wheel setup for your unique needs.
Read More: NTS’s top tire picks for maximum traction.
Run tracks? We have you covered too. There are a wide variety of replacement belts available, from factory-style tread designs to scraper models designed to provide maximum traction—even when lugging the widest tillage implements on the market.
3. Sprayers: Upgrade Your Radials or Invest in Floaters or Duals To Steer Clear of Soil Compaction
Are you fighting bad handling and sinking away when spraying? There are several strategies that can fix these common problems.
- Upgrade your sprayer’s standard radials to IF- or VF-rated radials to gain footprint (through lower air pressure) with your sprayer’s current tire size.
- Invest in a set of floaters to use during pre-emergence spraying. With maximum flotation you’ll save fuel and have a much easier time guiding your sprayer in a straight line.
- You can also add a set of duals to your sprayer. Some models will see improvement with duals on the rear axle only; some models need duals on all four corners.
4. Combines: Conquer Mud and Avoid Tire and Wheel Failures
During harvest 2022, we received quite a few calls from farmers with cracked combine wheels. The soil in our neck of the woods was rock hard at harvest time thanks to drought conditions. With heavy loads, hard ground, and fast turns on the headlands, stock OE dolly duals were having a tough time keeping up with the demands placed on them. We even heard of a few ultra-strong straddle dual setups giving way under the strain. Regardless of the year, a stronger dual or LSW setup can help you ensure a smoother harvest—at least in the tire and wheel department.
- Upgrade to straddle duals. Unlike stock dolly duals, straddle duals incorporate 2 bolt circles (instead of the one bolt circle with dolly duals) that dissipate the stress placed on the wheel over a much larger surface area. The inner bolt circle bolts the inner wheel onto the combine hub. The outer bolt circle bolts the two wheels together.
- Upgrade to LSW super singles: In many cases, we think LSWs are often a better option than dual setups on combines. These massive tires (1100, 1250, or even 1400 width) offer excellent flotation, shallower ruts, more secure handling, and generally avoid problems with cracked rims or mud plugging (there’s nothing to plug with mud). Plus, they’re narrower than the largest dual setups, which is great for farmers that need to navigate township roads—or even state highways filled with distracted drivers.
Read More: Learn about the best combine tire & wheel setups.
Performance Improvements are Phone Call Away
Call or drop us a line, and you’re on your way to optimized equipment performance in 2023. One of NTS’s traction experts will make sure your planter, tractor, sprayer, or other equipment is outfitted with tires and wheels that will Drive Your Farm Forward . . . increase yields, save fuel, protect your soil, and save you valuable time. And now is the time to make needed upgrades before it’s time to play in the dirt again.