A leading tyre specialist has highlighted that the cost of very high flexion (VF) tyres and a central tyre inflation system (CTIS) has been reduced or grant funded to help operators prevent irreparable soil compaction.

Wet weather that made 2023 the 11th wettest on record, extended into 2024, with multiple storms bringing flooding throughout the UK, and some northern areas recording the wettest six-month August to January period since records began in 1871.

Continental agricultural tyre specialist, Tom Godwin, suggests that operators are aware of the impact sustained wet weather can have on soil and how spring field work could risk costly compaction. He says there is less than 10 percent between the cost of the Continental TractorMaster tyre and its VF TractorMaster alternative and he also welcomes support from the government to offer up to 60% towards the cost of a retrofittable CTIS. Mr Godwin says:

“We have seen a rise in sales of VF in the last 12 months as operators look for ways to mitigate the impact of heavy machinery on soil, and we anticipate the grants for CTIS will only help incentivise a more careful approach. Combining VF with CTIS technology can help reduce soil compaction which restricts root growth, limits nutrient uptake, and increases the cost of land management.”

VF tyres can carry 40% greater load at the same pressure as standard radial tyres, making the technology well suited to carting larger loads of grass more safely and quickly on the road. However, VF tyres can also be operated at 40% less pressure for the same load as a standard radial tyre. Combined with CTIS, the operator can optimise tyre pressure for load, improve fuel efficiency and reduce soil compaction.

“The combined weight of a tractor and, say, triple mowers, can easily exceed 10 tonnes. Reducing tyre pressure by 40% enables that weight to be carried over a larger footprint with more lugs on the ground to offer more grip. It’s like a person walking on the land in stilettos or trainers.”

VF tyres are now closer in price to standard radial tyres and, with up to £4159.80 available in grant funding for CTIS, there is an added incentive to upgrade.

He added: “With British winters becoming warmer and wetter, it is clear operators need to react to protect soil health. Continental VF TractorMaster tyres are now less than 10% more than our standard radial tyres, which we hope will persuade more operators to benefit from this technology.”