Worry about applicator tires on corn stubble

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Corn stubble damage to tires has been an increased concern for farmers and has to be a concern of fertilizer applicators who’ll be in fields this fall, too.

It’s common knowledge that today’s corn varieties produce a much stronger stalk. Running in between the rows is the easiest way to avoid damage from stubble, but that’s not much of an option for applicators who are requested to spread fertilizer on ground that has its stalks standing.

Farmers are now buying accessories that they can put in front of the combine or grain wagon tires to smash the corn stalks to the ground. One brand is Stalk Stompers.

Original equipment tires for applicators have been improved in the last few years, but puncturing a tire can still be a problem. Much of the attention to applicator tire design has been to improve smoothness of ride, especially in driving from one field to the next.

Common thinking for farm equipment tires by farmers and applicators has been the deeper the tread the rougher the ride.

While tread design is important for lifespan of a tire, the tire companies still emphasize tire pressure as being important to tire longevity. A common misconception among farmers is that tires should remain at the inflation pressure listed on the side of the tire, when in fact the proper inflation pressure can vary greatly depending on load,” according to Goodyear Farm Tires. Adjusting to recommendations for tire pressure based on the load being carried isn’t really practical because the loads vary every day; therefore, the tire company is “recommending inflating tires for the worst case scenario.”

The bottom line is that applicator tires need to be checked regularly and whatever can be done to avoid an in-season flat is important. Changing a flat can be a lot of down time.

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