Tractor needs traction in the field

Tractor tyre in the field

How to improve traction and which tractor tyres to use?

Good traction is essential for efficient productivity in the fields. But there are times when too much slippage can reduce your tractor's efficiency. What solutions and which tractor tyres can solve the problem ? Find the answers in this article.

What is traction capacity?

Traction capacity comes into play when the tractor needs to shift power, in particular because of a high rear load exerted by a towed implement. Difficult conditions (soft, wet ground) can accentuate this need, resulting in a high rate of slippage.

Tractor slippage

As you know, it is common and normal for tractor tyres to slip a little when working in the field. If the slip rate were zero, you might think that the tractor's effort was not being fully exploited and that productivity therefore needed to be improved.

But above a certain threshold, slippage reveals insufficient power in the drive axles and therefore traction that needs to be optimised.

Some towed implements  require more effort from the tractor than others.

some towed implements require more effort from the tractor than others

What level of wheel slip is accepatable?

wheel slip of between 8% to 12% is considered normal.
Above 12%, it is recommended that action be taken to reduce it.
In order to prevent a loss in productivity wheel slip above 20% becomes an issue that needs addressing.

What is the cause of too much slippage?

Towed implements require more effort from the tractor than others. A heavy implement such as a plough or a wide implement such as some stubble cultivators can be difficult to pull. Stubble cultivation tools with tines can work at greater depth than those with discs, and also require greater pulling power.

How to optimise traction for your needs?

1 - Ballast the tractor

Insufficient traction, highlighted by slippage, can mean that the tractor is too light for the implement it is towing. This is why, unless the towed implement is replaced by a more compatible one, it may be necessary to ballast the tractor by adding weights to the wheels or to the tyres, for example.

2 - Optimise tyre pressure

Tyre pressure is a crucial parameter in optimising traction. The lower the tyre pressure, the greater the footprint along the length of the tyre. And the larger the footprint, the more grip the lugs have in the ground, which has the effect of reducing the slip rate.

The pressure must be adjusted according to the tractor's load and speed. If in doubt, you can use our "MICHELIN AGROPRESSURE " tool, which will help you find the right pressure in just a few clicks.

Let's take the example of a load of 7900kg on the rear axle, i.e. 3950kg per rear wheel. The tyre must be inflated to 1.4 bar at 65km/h (for example with MICHELIN MULTIBIB 650/65R42 158D TL) compared with 0.9 bar in the same size and speed, thanks to MICHELIN UltraFlex technology (for example with MICHELIN AXIOBIB 2 VF 650/65R42 174D/171E TL).

Being Very Hight Flexion certified, for the same size, we can expect pressure to reduce by 40% and therefore have a bigger footprint for better traction.*

Several studies** (in the United States, Brazil and England) have established that the use of MICHELIN UltraFlex technology tyres throughout the crop growing cycle improves agricultural yield from 2 to 6% per year.

Another advantage of low pressure is that tractor tyres inflated in such a way reduce soil compaction, which means greater respect for the soil and in particular for earthworms, which are invaluable for their natural role in aerating the soil. The more pores the soil has, the more it can 'breathe' and the more easily water can infiltrate deep into the soil, resulting in better agricultural yield.

3- Opt for the Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS)

The biggest difficulty when it comes to tyre pressure is linked to your use of the tractor, which can vary depending on the terrain. Your load and speed vary depending on whether your tractor is on the road, in the fields, with or without implements behind it. And your tractor tyres need to take this into account. But how do you adjust the pressure each time you use your tractor for a different purpose?

Thanks to the CTIS , you don't need to move from your seat.

Your tyre pressure is adapted to each use, which, among other things, impacts your fuel consumption and extends the life of your tractor tyres.

How does remote inflation work? The answer in this video

As farmer, change tire pressure on move is a MUST to have

4 - Use of dual wheels

Use of dual wheels (coupling two tractor tyres on the same axle) is an interesting option for optimising your traction as it naturally increases your tractor's footprint, giving you two main advantages:

  • Your able to use more of your tractor's available power,
  • For the same load, you can lower the pressure and therefore better respect the soil and improve agricultural productivity

For a successful dual wheel set up, it is important that the tractor tyres are identical, that their wear is similar and that their pressure is the same.

5 - Fit the right tractor tyres

For optimum traction, we recommend the use of MICHELIN UltraFlex technology tractor tyres. They all have the VF (Very High Flexion) or IF (Improved Flexion) standard , in other words "low pressure", should normally allow them to reduce pressure by 40%* (or by 20% with the IF standard***) compared with a standard technology tyre.

If you also use a CTIS , you can optimise your tractor tyres pressure both in the field and on the road, which optimises your fuel consumption and helps you reduce your costs.

It's also important to note that we have a MICHELIN UltraFlex solution for the entire agricultural growing and harvesting cycle. In other words, we have low-pressure tractor tyres for high- and medium-power tractors, combine harvesters, self-propelled or trailed sprayers and trailers .

Need help choosing the right tractor tyres? Follow this link:


Legal Mentions

* Normative gap compared to non VF (Very High Flexion) tyre.
** 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.
*** Normative gap between standard tyre vs VF (Very high Flexion) tyre



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