The sometimes-rough conditions of rural farm fields present many hazards for the tires on your tractors and farm equipment. There are the odd rocks and debris as well as critters can rough up your tires.
However, many farmers will agree that one of the most dangerous things can run into on the farm is stubble. You may have already noticed the telltale signs of stubble damage on your tractor tires.
If your tractor tires looked chewed up, torn, gouged and laden with holes of varying sizes, stubble may be the culprit. Tires that have been damaged by stubble are likely to leak air pressure and are prone to even greater damage. Given the importance of tires to a tractor, they need to be addressed immediately.
How Does Stubble Damage Occur?
Stubble damage is the result punctures from strong, sharp remaining crop stalks after crops have been collected from the field.
Today’s hybrid crops that have been designed to produce better products and better withstand the elements have come with a slight drawback. These stronger crops, when cut down, leave behind much stronger stalks that can have jagged and pointed edges that are more than capable of piercing tires.
Stubble today can be so severe that some farmers refuse to drive their trucks out in the field.
Preventing Stubble Tire Damage
A farmer can’t very well stop taking their tractors and equipment out to their fields, can they? So, how can drivers minimize or prevent damage to their tires from stubble? Here’s a few tips to follow.
Install Tires Well in Advance
Did you know that rubber is a natural product? Rubber may not be “alive” but it is made up of organic compounds found in nature, meaning that rubber’s properties change over time. Rubber, for instance, is fairly soft and malleable when it is first made. It grows harder and stronger as time goes on.
What does this science lesson have to do with protecting against stubble? A harder and stronger tire, as you may imagine, will be more resistant to punctures. So, in the case of tractor tires, older tires are more ideal when it comes time to hit the fields.
We aren’t suggesting trotting out with quarter-century old tires, mind you. The lesson here is to not wait until the last minute to put new tires on your tractors. By installing new tires during the winter or the earlier months of spring, your tires will be given more time to stiffen and will be less likely to be punctured by stubble.
Keep Tires Properly Inflated
When you are driving your car, one of the best ways to prevent a blowout or flat tire is to keep it at the appropriate tire pressure level. The same applies to your tractors and farm equipment.
Maintaining appropriate tire pressure levels are key to preventing stubble damage. Under-inflated tires can experience excessive amounts of flexing, which makes them more susceptible to piercings.
A good habit to get into is to check your tractor tires’ pressure after every use, or at least once a week.
Modify the Tractor
In addition to paying attention to your tires, there are modifications and additions you can add to your tractor to help prevent stubble damage. There are a number of products on the market that can be added to tractors and combines.
Down-pressure springs and stalk stompers are reliable and effective methods for flattening or shortening remaining stalks and make your fields significantly more drivable. Check with your local equipment provider for details.
Need service on your farming vehicles? Raben Tire offers major brand tires and on-site service for farm vehicles of all sizes. For information, contact the Raben customer fulfillment at 800-77RABEN.