Ewan has been editor of Retreading Business since 2006 and of Tyre & Rubber Recycling since the magazine was founded. During this period he has become an expert on the global tyre recycling sector. He has many years' experience as an automotive journalist including a period at Tyres & Accessories.
Tractor85 from Continental Gains A Supporter
Mixed farmer and contractor Walter Dandie and Sons chose to fit Continental tyres to a John Deere 6155R in 2021 in a bid to improve tyre life, efficiency and durability.
Tyres Perform in Climatic Extremes
After a busy and extremely hot summer of road work and a demanding autumn, Walter Dandie suggests the tyres have fared remarkably well.
Dandie is the fourth-generation to farm near Edinburgh. With 3000 acres of combinable crops and 200 acres of grassland there is a great deal of trailer work throughout the year for the 6155R. Following disappointing tyres in the past, he chose to experiment with a set of newly marketed Continental Tractor85 tyres.
“Our tyre dealer Soltyre explained that Continental was making tyres in a new factory and that the tyres were covered by a ten-year warranty. I needed little more encouragement to give the tyres a try and had four fitted to the 6155R in September 2021,” he explains.
Continental has been manufacturing new lines of tyres, including the Tractor85, at a facility in Lousado, Portugal for the last five years. The tyres represent the brand’s return to agricultural tyre production following an almost twenty-year gap, which saw the Czech brand Mitas manufacture tyres under the Continental banner.
The John Deere is fitted with 420/85 R28 to the front and 480/80/R42 tyres to the rear. The tyres feature a unique lug design which Continental has branded d.fine. The spacing and contour of the lugs, along with the percentage of lug covering the tyre, is different to some radial tyres and in most cases the Tractor85 has 5% more lug coverage.
“I have noticed that the tyres self-clean and shed soil very well. This hasn’t been a big issue in the spring and summer months but certainly in autumn when we use the tractor to do some ploughing, it is a big benefit,” he says.
The summer of 2022 was unseasonably long and hot, causing a multitude of concerns for machinery operators. Tyres are forced to expand in the heat as the pressure increases. With Dandie running the tyres largely on the road the pressures were very high, often reaching over 26 psi.
Whilst the tyres reached high temperatures through the day, at night the rubber was left to cool. This can cause flat spots where the tyre cools to a flat shape overnight as a result of the weight of the tractor. However, Dandie did not experience this with his new Continental tyres, despite the very hot conditions.
“The tyres are very flexible, and I think this helps. There is no doubt that they were running in hot conditions, but I never experienced a flat spot. The tyres would run as smoothly first thing in the morning as at the end of the day. It has also been good to see that as the rubber heated up the tyres didn’t wear unevenly or excessively,” he says.
Continental introduced a new layer to its agricultural range when the tyres were relaunched. A patented nylon layer named N.flex was developed to help the tyre maintain its round shape. Sitting beneath the rubber, N.flex helps the tyre to resist deformation from the heating and cooling of everyday work and also helps protect the tyre from foreign objects.
At the peak of harvest, the John Deere was worked for 500 hours over just six weeks and covered a staggering 5000 kilometres. Almost the entire time it was hauling a 16-tonne grain trailer laden or a flatbed bale trailer. However, Dandie suggests that the tyres stood up well and after a total of 2000 hours work still have plenty of tread.
“It is still early days, but the signs of longevity are good. I would hope to get up to 4000 hours out of a set of tyres, but I think these Continental’s could go further,” he concludes.