Trelleborg tyre roadshow helps farmers get to grips with soil erosion

Trelleborg roadshow at Honingham Thorpe

Trelleborg roadshow at Honingham Thorpe - Credit: Submitted

In an industry under pressure to control every cost, farmers were shown how a simple innovation in tyre design could help reduce soil damage and fuel consumption.

About 150 visitors arrived at Honingham Thorpe Farms, near Norwich, on Wednesday as Swedish manufacturer Trelleborg made the only UK stop on its European roadshow.

It was showcasing the company's Progressive Traction tyre, which has won industry awards including the Best New Product or Innovation (Environmental) at this year's LAMMA machinery show.

The design features a second lug on the tread, creating more surface area and a more even pressure distribution. As a result, the company claims it gives 10pc extra traction, a 5pc wider footprint, and a reduction in fuel consumption of 3-5pc.

It was tested against standard tractor tyres in heavy conditions following a rainy morning in mid Norfolk.

Andrea Manenti, UK managing director for Trelleborg, said: 'This is a new technology that we just launched, and the second lug is the main component in the design of the tyre.

'It is as simple as that, but nobody came out with anything like that before. We are doing all these trials and they are showing significant improvements just because we add a little bit of an extra lug. It increases the contact area and the stability, and increases the traction because we have two points as anchors.

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'Even with sticky ground like this there was a visual difference in terms of self-cleaning. It is much easier to get rid of mud compared to the standard tyre.

'We've won a few awards so the industry has recognised there is something interesting here, and sometimes the simple ideas are the best.'

The event was organised by buying group Anglia Farmers, whose offices are based on Honingham Thorpe Farm, and included other machine demonstrations from manufacturers Valtra and Kuhn.

Although Trelleborg is a Swedish company, its tyre division is based in Italy since taking over Pirelli's agricultural arm in 1999. Norfolk was the last stop for this year's Trelleborg roadshow, which had already visited Italy, Sweden, Austria, France and Spain.

Mr Manenti said: 'We chose to come here for the simple reason that East Anglia has the potential in terms of acreage, and it is probably one of the most evolved and potentially interesting areas in terms of tyres and agriculture.'

Pressure Points

The influence of optimal tyre inflation pressure on farming productivity and efficiency was also illustrated to visitors at the demonstration day.

Identical tractors with different tyre pressures were lined up for a cultivation pass, with their tracks examined by experts for differences in soil erosion.

Philip Wright, an independent advisor on soils and cultivations based in Lincolnshire, said: 'I think the big message that hopefully people will take home is that if you can pay attention to your tyre pressure when soils are vulnerable to damage – when they are very loose or when it is wet – then a lot of damage, particularly near the surface, can be reduced.

'Ultimately it pays off hand over fist because you don't have to pay to fix the problem.

'The difference I was showing was that when inflation rates were optimum the soil damage was less, and the severity of the damage was less when the pressure was lower.

'The new technology of tyre was coming from the point of view of efficiency and economy, but if getting the tyre pressure right gives you less severe damage to the soil as well it is a win-win.'