Tractors & tyres

Keeping tyres in check by role pays dividends for contractor

Correct weighting of machinery and setting tyre pressures correctly is essential to make the most of horsepower, says one Leicestershire contractor. James Lane found out more.

Optimising tractors for a specific role is not all about the latest gadgets. Running on the right tyres with the correct pressures at the best positioned weight is just as important.

For contractor Colin Clayton, this is a vital aspect of his business, which he runs from his base at Frolesworth, Leicestershire.

Mr Clayton has been a contractor for more than 30 years, and has run John Deere tractors since 1989. His core business involves ploughing, drilling and hedge cutting over about 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), all within 10 miles (16km) from his base.

Pride of the fleet are two 2009 Deere machines - a 330hp 8530 and 220hp 7930.

The larger tractor is found either pulling an eight-furrow Lemken in-furrow plough, or hitched to a 4.5-metre trailed Sumo Trio. The 7930 is the drilling tractor, running a six-metre Maschio/Weaving drill bar rear unit with Accord hopper and metering system up front, as well as pulling a seven-furrow Kverneland over the winter.

Custom tyre choice

Both tractors are specified on Trelleborg tyres. The larger machine has TM900 HP (High Power) 710/70R42 and 600/ 70R30 rubber, which were specifically chosen for the tractor’s role.

The 7930, on the other hand, is equipped with Trelleborg’s 414 cross-ply flotations, due to its workload.

The rear 850/60-38 and 750/60-30.5 tyres were chosen following good experiences with an older 7920 equipped with the same sizes, which reached 4,000 hours before the 7930 arrived to replace it in March 2009.

After Mr Clayton specified the tyres when ordering his 8530 from local dealer, Farols, Trellleborg came out to weigh the tractor and establish the correct pressures for its heavy draft roles.

“We were very pleased that Trelleborg came out,” says Mr Clayton. “It is important our tractors and implements are set up correctly, and too often the pressure of the tractor’s tyres is forgotten.”

He says many operators do not realise the tyre pressure and weight needs to be balanced with the implement on the machine, not when it is empty, as this is pointless.

For its ploughing role, the big Deere runs at 23psi on the rear with 20psi up front, giving the best balance of flotation and traction.

The tractor is loaded to its recommended maximum draft weight, and has water ballasting weights both inside and outside the rear wheels, plus a front linkage-mounted weight frame made from a recycled Dowdeswell plough headstock. This ensures the combination works to its best ability, and the tyres have since covered 2,000 hours, having been on another 8530 before the new tractor arrived.

For drilling, the 7930 has been specified with a set of ideal pressures for its 414s too. The heavy Maschio/Accord combination needs a decent amount of air, despite the cross-ply construction and relative stiffness of the tyres. Mr Clayton puts 21psi in the rears, with 15psi up front for drilling. This is required for weight-carrying capacity, although the 7930 does have Deere’s active seat fitted, which helps improve road and field ride. For ploughing, the Trelleborgs can be run at 15psi all-round, which gives good grip on the stubble.

Clayton fleet

A 6920 in the Clayton fleet also runs on Pirelli rubber, the former name of Trelleborg’s conventional tyres. This 3,700-hour tractor still retains a decent amount of tyre tread, despite being paired on to a hedge cutter for half the year and doing a lot of roadwork. It will soon be replaced with a new 6930, which will come with Trelleborgs.

“We have had great backup for our Trelleborgs, following some serious issues on an older 8000-series with another tyre brand, who were just not interested in the issues we had,” says Mr Clayton. “We do not do many road miles with the two larger tractors, but we do work our machines hard, and they need to be supported by all concerned, including those supplying the tyres,” he says.

Farm facts

C.Clayton Agricultural Contractor, Frolesworth, Leicestershire

  • Main staff: Colin and Neil Clayton, plus seasonal staff.
  • Coverage: Operating up to 10 miles from base
  • Contracted work: 1,000ha (2,500 acres) ploughing, drilling and hedge cutting. 400ha (1,000 acres) mowing and silaging.
  • Tractors: John Deere 8530, 7930, 6920 and 6910 - All AutoPowr-equipped.
  • Mainline machinery: Lemken eight-furrow and Kverneland seven-furrow ploughs, Sumo Trio 4.5-metre trailed subsoiler, Maschio 6m power harrow with Weaving drill coulter bar, Accord metering and front-mounted Accord hopper, JF 1350 trailed forager, John Deere front mower and Krone rear butterfly combination, Hydrocut and Bomford hedge cutters with 5ft heads.


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