Wet weather and flooding across the Midwest have put fieldwork and planting on hold for many farmers, allowing more time for equipment prep, but less for errors. Your planter is level, your monitoring system software is up-to-date, and you’ve double-checked the coulters, closing wheels and double disc openers, but have you given your tires the same scrutiny?
Downtime in the field can cost hundreds of dollars per hour, but a few simple maintenance checks will ensure your tires are operating efficiently, decreasing downtime and potentially increasing your bottom line. Firestone Ag has created a simple "7-Step Tire Check" list for farmers to conduct a tire check.
“Farmers know all too well how unpredictable weather can be, but equipment maintenance and performance are within our control with the proper steps,” says Brad Harris, manager of global agriculture field engineering for Firestone Ag. “Our '7-Step Tire Check' list helps identify problems, repair issues and increase efficiency.”
Check these areas:
1. Tire pressure. Check regularly using an accurate gauge. Set the inflation pressure using an inflation calculator.
2. Tire’s sidewall. Sidewalls differ by tire type. Look for any cracks, cuts or other damages.
3. Tread. If there is less than 20% left on the tire, consider new tires.
4. Tread area. Stubble damages? Exposed cords? If any damage is detected, it’s time to replace the tires.
5. Tire contact area. Make sure no space is found between the lugs and the ground.
6. Valve stems. Look for cracks, corrosion and dirt. Use a valve cap.
7. Nuts and bolts. Everything should be properly tightenedproperly tightened.
“The first step is one of the most important. Using the proper inflation pressure for the load you are carrying will increase tire service life, while decreasing tire wear and fuel costs,” Harris says.