How to choose the right agricultural tyres for a combine harvester

How to choose the right agricultural tyres for a combine harvester

How to choose the right tyres for a combine harvester?


As you know, harvesting can't wait. When the time comes, you must be able to harvest whatever the soil conditions with your combine harvester. Some agricultural tyres are better suited to harvesting than others, giving you the performance you expect, even on wet ground. How do you choose the right agricultural tyres for your combine harvester?
Let our experts guide you.

Harvesting conditions

Grain has to be harvested at the right time, within a time window that cannot be extended. Rainy periods make the ground softer and susceptible to compaction, which makes work in the fields more complicated, especially if you're not equipped with the right tyres.

Your combine harvester has drive wheels at the front and steering wheels at the rear. And to help them perform their role properly, it's advisable to fit them with suitable agricultural tyres that will perform effectively in this limited window of opportunity, even when the ground is wet.

If you choose your tyres according to precise criteria, you'll be able to get good performance even in the most difficult conditions during the harvest period, and therefore protect your ground and optimise your yield.

Choice criteria

1. The right dimensions

First of all, take note of the possible dimensions for your machine. The manufacturers stipulate very specific dimensions that must be met when you decide to fit new agricultural tyres on your combine harvester.

And as your machine has to travel on the road before and after harvesting, it's also important to ensure that its total width remains within the limits authorised by the highway code.(1)

First you need to choose the tyre diameter you would like: a larger diameter means a longer footprint so better soil conservation and mobility. And of course, the ratio between front and rear diameters needs to be considered when making your choice.

Below, we’ll show an example of soil stress map comparison from Terranimo® simulation:

  • Left tyre : VF900/60R32 CEREXBIB2 (1.9m diameter), 15 000 kg and 2.6 bars
  • Right tyre : VF900/60R42 CEREXBIB2 (2.12m diameter), 15 000 kg and 2.1 bars.

The pressures quoted above are for a load of 15,000kgs per tyre and 10 km/h cyclic speed. Smaller diameter tyre running at the higher pressure will create higher levels of compaction in the soil.

Soil stress map comparison :
2,6 bars vs 2.1 bars

Soil depht (m)

Soil stress map comparison : 2.6 bars vs 2.1 bars

Soil stress map comparison

Accross the track (m)

Stress (bar)

Then the width: while wider tyres can improve your productivity in the field, they also increase the risk of exceeding the machine's width limits on the road. This trade off needs to be considered when choosing the tyre width.

2. Good traction

Since you can't wait for ideal soil conditions to harvest, you need to be able to work efficiently in all weathers, including wet and muddy conditions. Good traction is therefore an essential criteria if your agricultural tyres are to meet your yield objectives even in difficult conditions.

Your tyres must maintain good mobility in the field and provide good stability for the combine harvester, without, of course, causing too much damage to the soil.

 

Good traction is an essential criterion when choosing combine harvester tyres

good traction is an essential criterion when choosing combine harvester tyres

3. Low pressure

Soil compaction can become a problem when using heavy machinery, such as combine harvesters. In order to limit compaction, your machine needs to be able to run at low pressure... and not just at the front.

At the rear too

On a combine harvester, the front and rear tyres are different. You may be tempted to favour the front axle because it's the driving axle, and fit the widest possible agricultural tyres on it so that you can lower the pressure and protect your soil.

However, the rear axle is also of crucial importance: its role is not only to steer the combine harvester but also to carry the load. Choosing the cheapest agricultural tyres for the rear would certainly reduce the cost, but they might need a higher pressure that will generate compaction and therefore cancel out the soil-preserving benefits of the front-mounted tyres.

High-quality agricultural tyres at both front and rear of your combine harvester help maximise productivity.

High-quality agricultural tyres at both front and rear of your combine harvester help maximise productivity.

Young farmers in soybean fields before harvest

This cost-cutting choice could therefore have a negative impact on your yield in the long term. High-quality agricultural tyres at both front and rear of your combine harvester are a recommended investment for greater productivity.

4. Good load capacity

Like all farmers, you're probably looking to maximise productivity. And the bigger your tank, the less time you spend stopping to unload your grain tank at the edge of the field. But a bigger tank also means a heavier load, which is carried by your tyres. Their ability to carry a heavy load at the lowest possible pressure is therefore an essential criteria for choosing the right harvester tyres and maximising your yield.

5. Robustness

Resistance is of course essential when you drive in places where your tyres can be damaged by stubble, metal parts or other elements. Furthermore, as combine harvesters are only used for harvesting, the tyres remain on the machine for a very long time, so this resistance must last over time. That's why we recommend choosing robust agricultural tyres that can withstand damage throughout their lifetime rather than interrupting your harvesting process.

The best MICHELIN agricultural tyres for your combine harvester

Michelin has taken all the above points into account to develop efficient tyres that are adapted to your specific harvesting needs. And to meet them, we have designed two ranges of tyres: MICHELIN MEGAXBIB tyre and MICHELIN CEREXBIB tyre. What are the differences between these two ranges? That's what we'll explain below.

MICHELIN MEGAXBIB & MICHELIN MEGAXBIB2 tyres

MICHELIN MEGAXBIB2: ntry-level range for harvester

michelin megaxbib2 entry level range for harvester

This is Michelin's entry-level range, designed to meet basic harvesting needs. The main advantages of this range are

  • robustness
  • load-carrying capacity
  • good stability
  • good traction

While MICHELIN MEGAXBIB tyre is resistant, MICHELIN MEGAXBIB 2 tyre is designed to be more robust and has efficient road handling. Two excellent options for an entry-level tyre. The MICHELIN MEGAXBIB tyre version will depend on the tyre sizes you need.

MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 tyre

For enhanced benefits compared with MICHELIN MEGAXBIB tyre, we recommend you consider our premium offer: MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 tyre. Here's why:

MICHELIN CEREXBIB2: premium offer for harvester

michelin cerexbib 2 premium offer for harvester

It protects your soil better

This tyre is the ideal candidate for soil protection with MICHELIN's Ultraflex technology, which meets the VF (Very High Flexion) standard. Its reinforced sidewalls allow greater flexion, enabling it to carry 40% more load or reduce pressure by 40% for the same load.(2)

Several studies have established that the use of MICHELIN UltraFlex technology tyres improves agricultural yield from 2 to 6% per year.(3)

With reduced pressure, the tyre's footprint is longer, so as well as optimising traction, it is better able to protect your soils. This type of tyre is ideal for working even on wet ground so that difficult conditions don't impact on your yield.

It provides a load bonus

MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 tyre is also compatible with the CFO (Cyclic Field Operation) standard, which allows you to have load bonuses on machines, such as combine harvesters, that work with cyclical loads in the fields. For example, at a pressure of 2.8 bar and a cyclic speed of 10 km/h, MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 (VF 710/70 R42) can carry over 4 tons more than at 40 km/h.

With MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 tyre certified CFO+, Michelin is able to offer an additional load bonus for a field speed of 10 km/h (the average working speed of a combine harvester).(4)

It is CTIS compatible*

MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 is compatible with CTIS (Central Tyre Inflation System), so you can easily adjust the tyres' pressure to suit your use (field / road). And if you're in any doubt about the right pressure, you can use our MICHELIN AGROPRESSURE tool, which will tell you in just a few clicks which pressure to use for your machine.

Legal Mentions

(1) Maximum authorised width may vary from country to country.
(2) Normative gap between standard tyre vs VF (Very high Flexion) tyre.
(3) A study carried out by Harper Adams University in the UK from 2013 to 2017, demonstrates that MICHELIN ULTRAFLEX technology increases agronomic yields from 2 to 6%. These results are confirmed by similar studies carried out in the United States (Illinois) in 2015 and Brazil (Mato Grosso) from 2018 to 2021.
(4) MICHELIN CEREXBIB 2 is certified CFO+ by ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization), standard market norm.

* CTIS is only available in certain countries. Ask your dealer for further information.

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