A NEW study has demonstrated the effectiveness of Michelin's Improved Flexion (IF) tyres at reducing soil compaction compared to a set of tread tracks.

The study, organised by the French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), an independent public body, measured the soil compaction rates on a 3.5ha plot of farmland after a loaded combine harvester fitted with three different mobility options – a set of CerexBib 800mm IF tyres, a set of CerexBib 900mm IF tyres and a set of three 760mm roller caterpillar tread tracks, passed over it.

On soft ground, the combine harvester fitted with the three small tread tracks increased the hardness of the ground by 55%, compared to the control area. When fitted with IF 900mm tyres inflated to 1.4 bar, the harvester increased ground hardness by 46%.

Mike Lawton, commercial director of Michelin's Agriculture division, says: "The objective of the study was to measure the difference in compaction between the two technologies. Contractors are under pressure to increase crop yields year after year and so they want to make sure they are using a mobility solution that offers the lowest compaction rates."

On hard ground, tests showed the caterpillar tracks exerted uneven pressure on the ground, with peaks reaching levels up to two times higher than those obtained with IF tyres, which distributed the load evenly over its entire footprint.

The combine harvester fitted with 900mm IF tyres, inflated to 1.4 bar, evenly spread the pressure exerted on the ground, calculated at slightly over 4 bar.

Michelin says the key to achieving this performance is due to its patented Ultraflex technology, with CerexBibs being the only commercially available tyre which can work at a pressure of less than 2 bar.

– MICHELIN HAS also launched its new 'Flexelagri' credit scheme, to help finance new tyre purchases.

A payment programme gives farmers and contractors looking to purchase Michelin agricultural drive or trailer tyres, or the specialist wheel rims required for its Ultraflex technology tyre range, the ability to spread the cost over two years at a 0% finance rate.

With the exception of a £100 administration fee, no deposit is required and all eligible participants will receive two years interest free credit on their purchase.

The promotion includes Michelin's full range of agricultural drive and trailer tyres, including its patented Ultraflex technology tyres.

– USING CEREALS as a launch pad, Mitas Tyres will present its new 900/60 R42 Mitas Super Flexion Tyre (SFT) – the largest, heaviest agricultural tyre it has ever produced.

Designed specifically for tractors of over 180hp, the Super Flexion Tyre is Mitas' response to what it says is the compromised performance of one-pressure-for-all Improved Flexion (IF) tyres. Providing the flexibility of variable inflation pressures, the Mitas SFT enables optimal performance to be achieved for every application, in every operational situation.

"Mitas manufactures tyres for many of the world's leading agricultural machinery manufacturers, who require each element of their products, including the tyres, to contribute to overall performance," says Jon Ward, managing director of Mitas.

"Mitas has been successfully manufacturing Continental agricultural tyres under licence since 2004 and our new Mitas SFT draws on the performance of Continental Super Volume Tyres. American-made Mitas Super Flexion Tyres have been sold in North America since summer 2012, but now we are manufacturing this type of tyre here in Europe."

With the new SFT, despite the tyre's high load-carrying capacity, its flexible, ultra-strong side walls allow it to operate at low inflation pressures, even with the heaviest equipment, thereby minimising soil compaction/damage and contributing to increased crop yields.

The tyre weighs 426kg, has a diameter of 2.15m and a recommended inflation pressure range from 0.8 to 2.8-bars depending on speed and load. With a flat plate contact area of 4800 cm² and nominal load of 8 tonnes, it exerts a very significant 33% less ground pressure than an IF tyre of the same size, claims Mitas.