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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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