Canadian Field Test Shows Tire Inflation is an Important Factor in Managing Topsoil Compaction

Tractors and field equipment are becoming larger and heavier – increasing concerns about soil compaction.

“Heavy equipment can damage the soil structure – affecting its ability to hold and move the water and nutrients needed for healthy plant growth,” said Christopher Higgins, Zimmatic product manager at Lindsay Corporation.

Managing compaction was the focus of a recent conference, hosted by the Innovative Farmers Organization of Ontario, Canada. The event featured Matthias Stettler, a world authority on compaction research, who unveiled technology that showed how tire pressure and tracks affect topsoil stress and how axle load impacts deep compaction.

According to an article in American Agriculturist, Stettler said tire inflation pressure is the most important factor in managing topsoil compaction. He recommends running tires at a maximum of 15 psi in the fields.

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“Our radial tires are a good option for growers looking to manage pivot tracking and wheel rutting problems,” Higgins said. “Radials generally run at much lower air pressure (15 – 17 psi) than bias ply pivot tires. With strong, flexible sidewalls, they can support the load of the pivot – even at these lower air pressures. This allows for more contact area for floatation and increased traction in difficult conditions.”

Higgins added that radials also have a much tighter bead to rim spec than bias ply tires, which reduces the chance for “pinch flats” and loss of bead/rim seal in difficult terrain – even at much lower tire pressure levels. 

For more information about radial pivot tires and other tracking solutions, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer or visit