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The trouble with stubble

While many farmers come to
the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, to kick a few tires
and check out the new equipment, they also have questions. As farmers begin
thinking about heading back into the fields, one question that was top of mind
is stubble damage.

“A lot of guys are asking
about how they can prevent stubble damage on their tires,” says Jeff Vasichek,
Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Titan Tire Corporation.

What can you do to protect
your tires?

The age of your tires can
actually be a benefit. Because rubber is a living and breathing substance and
is in a constantly changing state, as the tire ages the rubber compounds become
harder and stronger, which means it becomes less susceptible to stubble damage.

Because we live in an age of
limited inventories, many tires leave the factory and are installed on a
tractor or implement within weeks. Fresh tires equals increased susceptibility
to stubble damage.

“It’s important for the
farmer to think ahead and order and install tires well in advance of major
fieldwork,” says Scott Sloan, Titan’s product engineer manager. “Allowing tires
to age before hitting the field lets the tire compounds and oils dry, making
the tire more resilient or tougher.”

But what other steps can you
take to protect your investment?

Choose the right tire for
the application. “If the task at hand is heavy spring and fall tillage, then
make sure the tire is designed for that application,” says Skip Sagar, sales
representative with Titan. “Then select a tire width that will fit in between
the rows and stay in the row. By selecting a tire width that’s too wide, you
are just asking for trouble. Instead look at duals or triples for additional
flotation. Selecting a tire with a heavier ply or load rating can also help
provide additional tire casing protection.”

He also suggests setting the
tractor axle spacing to run in the row not on top, as well as run with the row
when working in the field as opposed to against the row.

Proper tire inflation is
also a key component to tire wear as low tire pressures can lead to excessive
flexing in the tire, which can result in sidewall damage from contact with the
stubble.

Another option is modifying
equipment by installing stalk stompers or stalk smashers on the corn head of
your combine. These have become a popular item recently and more and more
companies are offering them.

“Stalk stompers do a good
job of moving the stalk from a perpendicular to a 45 degree angle position,
allowing the tire to easily roll over the stalk with minimal impact or damage,”
says Sagar. “They’re a wise investment to help limit tire damage.”

Farmers are also great at
coming up with solutions to a variety of problems around the farm. So talk to
your fellow farmers. . . they may have devised a way to tackle these unyielding
predators in your fields.

Watch the video to learn
more about this problem and how you can protect your tires.

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