Design all the farm machines you can dream up with or without an operator but in the end they will all still have to run on tyres or tracks
Development of the agricultural industry to be more sustainable is one of the greatest global challenges.
Exponential growth of the world population is blowing us towards a constant increase in demand for food and fodder that will increasingly become harder to fulfill.
The need to increase productivity on the one hand, but also to guarantee food quality and security on the other is the dilemma facing tyre manufacturers.
The humble tyre or track manufacturer is currently the only guaranteed maker that will continue on with the Agricultural robot revolution that many believe is staring us in the face.
We are looking at a time where the cabin operator is long gone, and instead 12 to 14 year-olds are running fleets of farm machines through their computer interfaces.
And although operating on neighbouring farms, these zealous youngsters will be competing to see who can get their fleet of harvesters and grain carts off the paddocks first and into the commercial drones that are standing by to ship the grain into waiting food manufacturing plants.
As you can see, a breakdown is not part of this future farming world where high expectations and standards have been imposed for agricultural machinery, which will undergo continuous development and improvements in terms of size, power and performance.
It is therefore essential that all future agricultural vehicles and equipment can count on equally current, efficient and hi-tech tyres to keep pace with and optimise sustainable operations in the paddock.
This is the issue being addressed by Piero Torassa, Field Engineer Manager at BKT Europe, he sets out the viewpoint of the BKT tyre Group.
“There are various new technologies on the market which aim to increase productivity and efficiency in agriculture.
“At BKT we are researching solutions for tyres integrated with sensors and software for precision agriculture.
“For some time we have had a range of products designed to guarantee the least possible damage to soil and the harvest.”
An example of this is the BKT radial tyre range AGRIMAX, created to satisfy the needs of agriculture 4.0, characterised by the use of Flexion (IF) and Very High Flexion (VF) technologies.
Among the standouts here are the AGRIMAX FORCE and AGRIMAX V-FLECTO tyres.
AGRIMAX FORCE is specifically designed for high power tractors over 184kW (250hp).
Due to the IF technology that has been revised by BKT, this tyre has a higher load capacity at lower pressures compared to standards for the same size, all to the benefit of the ground which is significantly less compacted.
AGRIMAX V-FLECTO, instead, improves the performance of latest generation tractors due to reduced soil compaction and higher load capacity (+40%) at the same pressure as a standard tyre of the same size.
Tractors yes, but more besides. The right tyres are needed also for the numerous complementary agricultural machines, such as planters, balers, cultivators and combine harvesters.
The latter, for example, require high performance tyres that do not cause damage during crop harvests.
Tyres in the purpose made range for harvesters AGRIMAX TERIS have excellent flotation capacity to guarantee the best possible protection of the crop and offer the best harvesting performance, with the ability to support very high loads.
In addition, AGRIMAX TERIS is particularly resistant to cuts and impacts due, for example, to the presence of stubble on the ground. This is to guarantee a long lifecycle and reduce vehicle downtime.
“Flotation is one of the essential characteristics in current-day tyres,”explains Piero Torassa.
“Since it is very important to minimise the impact of the machines – which moreover are getting heavier and heavier – on the soil, thus avoiding damage to harvests.
“Equally important, however, is the tyre’s flexibility. just think of the Ag Contractors who manage extensive paddock operations and need to move not only over long distances, but also over a wide range of terrains.
“It is to respond to and anticipate the most diverse and particular needs that BKT products are continuously developed and improved.”
An example of the latest products developed by BKT in this regard are tyres in the Flotation series.
In particular the FL 630 ULTRA, FL 630 SUPER, RIDEMAX FL 693 M and the latest revolutionary creation V-FLEXA, a tyre designed for trailers, equipped with VF technology and steel belts that serve to strengthen the casing.
There is still a lot to do to make agriculture even more sustainable.
And while the future of the industry depends on more efficient and smarter machinery it is also important that current and hi-tech tyres, such as those from BKT can help increase productivity.