Patrick Brolly farms at Foreglen in County Derry. When he bought a 2007 New Holland TM 155 tractor the tires were almost worn out, so he was left with the unenviable task of finding suitable replacements. “The tires fitted on my previous tractors have offered questionable grip on the hilly land here, especially in the wet. I have also been disappointed with the way some tires have cut into the land, damaged the grass and compacted the soil,” he explains.
The farm is between 700 and 900 feet above sea level and stretches to 120 hectares of grassland and 60 hectares of hillside. Patrick has a flock of 320 Cheviot Mule ewes with 100 ewe lambs and a further 80 pedigree Beltex ewes. He also has a small herd of 30 cattle, a mixture of Herefords and Simmentals. “The tractor is used for general farm work but the conditions here can be very wet at times and with one tractor doing many different jobs it is important that both it and the tires are capable,” he says.
The worn tires on his New Holland were 650/65/38 on the rear and 540/65/28 on the front. “I never gave the size much thought until I came to replace them and started reading about the choice available,” says Patrick. He came across the Continental website having read about the tires in the farming press. “I contacted Richard Hutchins directly because I wasn’t sure who my local dealer was. Shortly after he contacted me and sent a set of tires to my local dealer, WH Nutt & Son for me to test,” he adds.
Patrick was supplied with Continental Tractor70 580/70R38 tires for the rear and 480/70R28 for the front by Continental sales manager Richard Hutchins. Reducing the size of the tires was one factor that helped make the new tires better on Patrick’s farm. “The smaller size is a better fit for the rim. Older machines were often specified with wider tires. However, more recently we have learned that fit and flexibility is more important than size. By reducing the size, we have enabled more of the tire to contact the ground. With the Continental single bead construction and N-Flex technology it also holds its shape more effectively to give better grip,” explains Richard.
I have seen a real improvement in grip, but the bigger benefit is that these tires don’t dig in and damage the grass
Patrick has been impressed with the grip of the tires, especially on hilly wet ground. “I have been disking rough ground and had excellent grip. Compared to the old ones these seem to be able to grip without digging in and churning up the land,” he says. Patrick’s previous tires have dug into the ground because of the fit of the tire to the rim. This was especially noticeable at the lower pressures needed for wet work and was causing the rim to put pressure through the wrong part of the tire. “When operating at lower pressures a tire that is too wide for the rim will spread, causing the rim to dig in. This will be apparent by the rim appearing shiny and clean when the tire is reinflated. The surface of the rim has essentially been overlapped by the tire which causes uneven wear, reduces the tire’s efficiency and its lifespan,” says Richard.
The Tractor70 tires are wider than standard tires which provides a larger footprint. The lug design also offers a smoother surface which helps to cause less damage to the ground. “I have seen a real improvement in grip, but the bigger benefit is that these tires don’t dig in and damage the grass,” says Patrick. The inter linking lug design of the Tractor70 has been developed by Continental to be smoother. “The rounded lugs grip without the need to dig in like some tires. It is this, and the change in size of the tire, that is helping Patrick to get traction without cutting into the ground,” says Richard.
Patrick feels more confident to carry out slurry spreading and use his Lemken 3m disk harrow. “The tractor feels more stable. I can go all over the farm without being concerned and when I’ve finished there is far less damage to the land. The tires really have made a huge difference,” concludes Patrick.