Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D A p r i l 2 0 1 9 56 A G T i r e T a l k are attached to the equipment like stompers , rollers or any one of a multitude of products that are out there. A minimal investment now will pay dividends for years. JAMES CROUCH , national agriculture product manager, Alliance Tire Americas Inc.: Stubble damage is a significant challenge for farm tires. It's gotten worse over the years as seed companies have bred for standability, which has resulted in stiffer, stronger stalks and stubble that can do significant damage to tread rubber and sidewalls. No tire can eliminate stubble damage, but there are a couple of approaches that can help reduce it. e first step doesn't come from a tire company at all. Invest in "stalk stompers" or some type of stalk roller, which are bolt- ons that knock over stubble ahead of your combine tires or tractor tires. e cost of a set of those shoes or sleds to mash down residue is less than the cost of replacing a set of premium farm tires, and it's worth an hour or two of installation time to prevent having to stop to wait on the local service truck to arrive and fix the flat to get you moving again. When it comes to buying tires, spend the extra money to buy tires with stubble- resistant compounds. Yes, there is a difference. When a manufacturer designs a tire, an important part of the equation is balanc- ing the many ingredients in the rubber compound. Over the past decade or so, the industry has fine-tuned the use of natural and synthetic rubber, elastomers, coupling agents and other ingredients to create compound blends that are more puncture resistant than ever before. e chemical composition of the sidewall rubber and tread rubber are different, and both are uniquely blended to ensure both flexibility and durability. It adds some cost, but saves dramatically on repairs and downtime. Look for steel belts. at steel provides puncture resistance and has the added benefit of dissipating heat when you're running at high speed, extending tire life. Aramid, also called Kevlar, also provides excellent puncture resistance. Once you've selected your tires, avoid the old habit of mounting your rear combine tires backwards. People used to do that for a smoother ride, but it accelerates stubble damage. Here's why: e curved lugs of a combine or tractor tire, oriented correctly, are designed to guide stubble from the cen- terline of the tire to the outside, minimizing damage. If you turn that lug around, you're actually capturing stubble from the entire footprint of your tire and channeling it to the center. at will cause a tremendous amount of damage to the lugs, especially at the center, and increase the risk that you're going to get a puncture. MARK TURNER , senior product market- ing manager, agricultural tires, Maxam International Inc.: Stubble damage has become an increasing topic of discussion between farmers over the last decade as new varieties and even hybrid crops have come into the farming arena. ese new crops are more resistant to diseases, wind damage and other factors that can affect yield. One of the ways in which these crops have noticeably changed is the strength of the stalk and this, combined with changing harvesting techniques that leave a much shorter stalk in the ground, have contributed to the increase in stubble damage to tires. Stubble damage mainly occurs in two ways: either cuts and penetrations to the tread or the sidewall, or through chipping where repeated contact with the stubble causes small chips of rubber to be dislodged from the tread area. So, what steps can be taken to reduce this type of damage? As with all applications, tire selection is very important. is type of damage occurs when tires are run over rows rather than in between rows; selecting a narrow tire that fits between rows can certainly help here. You can regularly see on wider tires which part of the tire was run over the rows as there is damage to only a small portion of the tread, but even this can sometimes be enough to require the tire to be replaced. ere is also an opinion that using radial tires rather than bias type tires can help as they are more flexible and can envelope obstacles better. Fitting front end attachments known as Stalk or Stubble Stompers that push over the stalks before they contact the tire can substantially reduce the problem as these change the angle at which the stalk and tire meet each other and severely limit the chance for a penetration to occur. DAVE PAULK: manager of field technical services, BKT USA Inc.: Over the past two decades, genetically modified crops (corn, soybeans, cotton, sunflowers, etc.) have been developed to produce higher yields and resist insects. While these new advancements can be beneficial, they don't come without drawbacks. e stalks on these crops tend to be much harder, and if cut short during harvest, can damage tires. ey become like pieces of steel sticking up in a field. As we all know, the main components of tires are rubber and fabric. Like other types of rubber, tires can only take a limited amount of abuse before failing. As rubber ages, it hardens and makes the tire more resistant to stubble damage. You may be wondering, "Why don't manufacturers make these tires with harder compounds to resist stubble?" In reality, there is a narrow line to walk when compounding rubber for agricultural tires. What works well and improves the tire in one area can cause problems and failures in another. e longevity of the tire and traction must also COURTESY OF TITAN When the compound is made "harder," the stubble resistance goes up, but in so do- ing, the compound lost its crack resistance property.

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