Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 59 of 85

M T D A p r i l 2 0 1 9 58 A G T i r e T a l k be taken into consideration. If possible, farmers should cut stalks a little higher than they would usually. is would allow the tires to push the stalks over instead of running directly over them. ere are a number of attachments that can be purchased to fit on combine heads or mount on the front of tractors to do this job. Some examples are the Stalk Crusher (for combines) and Stubble Stomper (for tractors). While these attachments require an initial investment, they will save money in the long run. NORBERTO HERBENER , OE applica- tions engineer, Trelleborg Wheel Systems Americas Inc.: Stubble damage will always be present in a larger or smaller scale, and is mostly influenced by the way farmers work in the field. Depending on the crop, usually the damage is more cosmetic and doesn't influence tire performance — wheat stubble damage, for example. On the other hand, corn, soybean or cotton stubble can create significant tire damage. Several points, independent of the crop or soil type and condition, should be considered when choosing wheel-tire size, design or special features. 1. e first point is tire quality and design. Choose a brand that has: a low warranty rate (talk to your local tire dealer and neigh- borhood farmers for references); the longest warranty in years, including several years of stubble damage coverage; and the availability and service options… the local tire dealer carries. Most brands offer a dealer locator on their web page as reference. 2. e second point is choosing tires with the largest balloon ratio possible: the second number (in) 480/80R50 has an 80% ratio, for example, as the tire balloon will be taller and carry more air. Also, a taller sidewall — especially on tires with flexible sidewalls — allows for a larger sidewall bulge, which increases the footprint and reduces compaction. 3. Finally, check the design and quality of the rim. If the rim quality is poor or it's damaged, it is possible that the tire will have issues and not be able to perform as it was designed. DAVID GRADEN : operational agriculture market manager, Michelin North America Inc.: roughout my time in ag sales with Michelin, I have seen a lot of stubble and the corresponding damage it can cause to tires. However, there have been relatively few times I have met with a producer where stubble damage was top of mind. When I ask about the stubble I see on their tires, the response I typically get is something along the line of, "It's just the cost of doing business." Unfortunately, as crops grow taller, stronger, and produce more yield, stubble damage will become a greater concern for the farmer. Today, there are many different methods for combating stubble. ere are rollers, stubble stompers, homemade devices, burning, and more. While many of these will achieve the objective, the unfortunate side effect is that these solutions come at an additional cost and a little frustration. Furthermore, these methodologies can be time consuming and require periodic maintenance, and in the worst case, your tires may still see damage caused by stubble. In summary, the first and lowest cost approach to reduce stubble is to purchase the right tire, with the right rubber compound and right sweeping 45 degree lug design. As a backup plan, if your stubble damage is persistent, a mechanical device may be a sound investment. BRADLEY HARRIS , manager, global agricultural field engineering, Firestone Ag Division, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC: As a farmer myself, I see crop stubble becoming more and more of an issue for tires. In the past, it was common to get complaints from growers about driving over corn or cotton stalks resulting in tire punctures. As crop genetics improve and growers focus on agronomics, additional crops like soybeans and cereal grains are now leading to tire damage. Growing up, grandpa and dad would drill soybeans at a population rate of 200K to 220K, and the stalks would have a maximum stalk diameter of 3/16-inch. Today, agronomists are suggesting rolling back those seeding rates to allow the soybeans to bush out. When I measured the stalk diameter of a soybean field planted at 140K population rate, the diameter ranged from 1/4- to 1/2-inch. Stubble can be managed in a variety of ways, from something as simple as not driving directly over the stubble, to installing a stubble-deflecting device. I encourage customers with stubble problems to install stubble prevention equipment on the corn head or platform to push the stubble down while harvesting. If the customer cannot install stubble deflectors on the heads, there are nice stubble deflection devices that attach to the front of a tractor. Customers do not have to spend a lot of money on stubble deflection devices, the device can be custom made. ■ James Tuschner has spent 25 years in the tire industry, primarily focused on the agricultural and specialty tire markets. His experience includes time spent at Alliance Tire Americas Inc. (first as director of marketing, then as director of business development) and Denman Tire Corp. He started in 2016. COURTESY OF FIRESTONE AG If the tires do have stubble damage, they likely can remain in service unless the tire's body ply or tread ply cords are exposed. This tire has wheat stubble damage, but it is just cosmetic. The interior construction is undamaged and the tire can remain in service.

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