Innovative Tires For Improved Farmer Financial Stability
Times are tough in the business of farming; margins are decreasing, input costs are rising, and the weather is as unpredictable as ever. While we frequently talk about how we’re developing new and innovative application-specific tires to help farmers meet the challenges facing them, this is only one way that we're working to help farmers improve financial stability—not just today, but for generations to come. One of the most interesting projects we’re currently working on is a collaboration with two Iowa-based businesses at the cutting-edge of out-of-the-box thinking and innovation: Cedar Valley Innovation and Precision Inflation.
Bob Recker of Cedar Valley Innovation depends on high-quality, reliable, advanced products to push the bounds of farming, and is in search of new methods and techniques to improve farm sustainability. Not satisfied with small improvements, Recker strives to dramatically improve the way we farm. Perhaps best known for his experiments with 60-inch rows of corn, Bob Recker is once again questioning one of North American farming’s golden rules, you can’t ever run over the row, with the help of our tires and Precision Inflation.
Cedar Valley Innovation theorizes that, with the right inflation pressure and the right tire, a farmer would be able to run over the row and plant directly into the track without significantly stunting the crop’s emergence due to compaction. Because Recker knows the importance of minimizing as many variables as possible and understands the value of operating tires at the correct air pressure, he equipped his tractor with a central tire inflation system (CTIS) from Precision Inflation.
Recker’s tractor spends a considerable amount of time on the road driving at speeds of more than 30 mph between test plots—Precision Inflation’s CTIS allows Recker to quickly and easily raise the pressure in his tractor’s tires for traveling on the road and lower the pressure of his tires for work in the field. In addition to improving the performance of Recker’s tractor, the owners of Precision Inflation, Ken and Sally Brodbeck, add an unprecedented amount of knowledge of both ag and ag tires, allowing Recker and Cedar Valley Innovation to maximize the use of their CTIS.
For Recker, the right tire for his experiment of running over rows is one that’s capable of spreading the weight of his machinery over the largest possible area in order to avoid soil compaction. While the market is full of low-pressure tractor tires, the overwhelming majority of them feature traditional bar-lug tread patterns; the issue with these tires for Recker and Cedar Valley Innovation is that the bar itself can result in soil compaction and stunt emergence.
This leads us to our role in Recker’s quest to improve farming sustainability. Our Alliance 550 MultiUse tire is the only tractor tire on the market capable of meeting Recker’s performance requirements (and, with 45 sizes available, was sure to fit his mid-HP, super-specialized tractor) without possessing a cleat-style tread that digs into the soil. Rather, the 550 MultiUse takes advantage of a block-tread design with a minimal rubber-to-void ratio to disperse the weight of the tractor over the entire surface of the tire. Additionally beneficial to Recker and Cedar Valley Innovation is the square, flat, even footprint the 550 provides thanks to steel belts under the tire’s tread, along with the 550’s roadability.
One of the tenets of a project like the one we’re engaged in with Cedar Valley Innovation and Precision Inflation is that there is no such thing as a failed experiment—we’re always learning, growing, and adapting, no matter the result. This isn’t all that dissimilar from everyday life, where we’re constantly on the hunt for new ways to increase our customers’ efficiency, productivity, bottom line, and ultimately their financial stability. We’re excited to partner up with thought leaders in all the industries we operate in and are committed to supporting innovation in those industries and improving our customers’ businesses.