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How Can You Reduce Soil Compaction?

Today’s typical farming operation often requires bigger machinery that not only weighs more, but also carries heavier loads than machinery did decades ago. With this heavier equipment running through the field several times a year, soil compaction should be top of mind anytime you’re in the field. However, using tires inflated to the correct pressure can properly disperse the weight of the equipment, and help manage soil compaction on the farm.

Here’s what you need to remember with soil compaction:

  • It worsens when soil is wet
  • Limits soil’s air and water capacity
  • Restricts root development
  • Reduces crop yield

This spring’s weather has been extremely wet in many areas. In fact, this spring has been a hard reality for farmers across the United States. According to the National Weather Service, during the months of April and May, farmers have experienced as much as six times the normal amount of rain in parts of the Midwest and southern Plains. As you prepare your fields for planting and spraying, you may be wondering how you can help reduce soil compaction.

Self-propelled sprayers are generally lighter than tractors or combines, but when fields are as wet as they are today, the oft-required two or three sprayer passes can impact your soil — and bottom line. The tires you choose are important to help carry heavier loads and reduce soil compaction as much as possible, even on lighter equipment. Our AD2TM TECHNOLOGY allows for higher axle loads at the same inflation pressure as standard radial tires, which helps reduce compaction.

Follow these tips for reducing soil compaction this season:

  • Choose the right tire for your equipment. Wider and taller tires will carry more load per pound of inflation pressure, which decreases soil compaction. AD2™ Technology on narrow tires allow the tires to carry the same load at lower inflation pressures to reduce soil compaction.  
  • Appropriately inflate your tires. Proper inflation can help ensure you are maximizing your tires’ capabilities, while doing the least amount of damage to your soil. Check with your local Firestone Ag Tire Dealer for help and more information.
  • Pay attention to tread design. Treads can provide better traction and less slip, reducing soil compaction. Our RADIAL DEEP TREAD 23° AND RADIAL ALL TRACTION RC TIREs, for example, utilizes an R-1W tread depth for improved wet traction.
  • Maintain your tires. Before entering the fields, ensure your tires are up to the task. Here’s a SEVEN-STEP TIRE CHECK that you should run through.