What to look for when buying tractor tyres

They're a big purchase and if your tractors are operating all day every day, then they can make a significant impact on your ongoing running costs as well.  They can also make a difference to your operating safety... and the level of fatigue your tractor operator experiences.  So what should you look for when you're checking out new tractor tyres?


Okay so if you’re cropping in North Canterbury you can skip to the next point, but if you’re in Southland or Taranaki, this one’s for you.  In good weather you won’t notice too much difference between one brand or another.  In wet weather, the right tyres make a difference between getting to where you need to go, and getting completely stuck.  On hillsides it’s even more important because you’re talking safety as well as time and fuel. Grip comes down to lug shape more than anything.  Look for a tyre with lug spacing that opens out towards the edge of the tyre, so the mud can clear.  A curved lug will give the best traction on hillsides.

Road comfort

Again this comes down to lug design.  Tyres that have tread lugs that overlap in the centre of the tyre (i.e. the next one starts contacting the ground before the first one leaves it) will run much smoother on hard surfaces.  This is important to consider for both driver fatigue and machinery wear – just ask someone who’s spent a day transferring a tractor from one farm to another.


Lots of this is going to come down to you running the right pressures for the load you’re carrying and the speed you’re operating at.  But consider it when you’re buying as well.  Even in the common premium brands available in NZ, some have proven 50% more tread life than others.

Tractor 1200x650 v2
Your tractor tyre's tread design will impact the tyre's grip, road comfort, wear, tread footprint and fuel economy.

Tread footprint

Again, getting the tyre pressures right is critical to keeping your soil and plants as healthy as possible.  But you’ll also find differences between brands in actual tread footprint at the same pressure.  Remember the larger the footprint, the more the tractor’s weight is spread and the less soil compaction occurs.

Impact resistance

A must if you're on stony soil.  The more resilient the tyre, the better it will bounce back from impacts - and keep on running rather than fail prematurely.

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A resilient tyre structure will bounce back from in-field impacts.

Fuel usage

This is mostly about grip in the mud and low rolling resistance on the road.   The less effort it takes for the machine to get where you’re going, the less fuel you’re going to use.  It’s worth investing in tyres that are proven to run efficiently – you might pay off your investment sooner than you think.