Sequestering Carbon thru AG Tire Technology

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Ag Tire Answers | 0 comments

AG Tire Talk Takeaways

BKT: Carbon sequestration can be quickly described as the long-term removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reverse global warming. In the carbon economy, farmers can be offered opportunities to sell carbon credits (more income) through conservation practices.

CONTINENTAL: A carbon conscious farm will keep as much organic material bonded with the soil, as possible. That means, the farmer is increasing humus content, adding high levels of compost, mixing in active soil organisms and using cover crops to increase the amount of bound carbon. These tasks can enable the next years’ crop to root deeper and grow a healthier plant.

MAXAM: The practice of plowing or tillage after the harvest is considered the most to blame for the erosion or increased emission of gases from the soil, as the tillage processes cuts or turns the soil which exposes the underlayers to the surface, and releases trapped gases.

MICHELIN: We are going to focus on the tire impact piece, increasing yield without increasing tillable acres, reduced disruption of soil, and improving fuel efficiency.

YOKOHAMA: There are two important issues when it comes to tires and soil-building farm management. First, a large footprint and the lowest appropriate inflation pressure for the load and speed are necessary for reducing soil compaction…second is resistance to damage from crop residue in no-till and reduced-till fields…

TITAN: Both inflation pressure and tire selection can have an impact on soil health, which is all the more important for reduced-till and no-till farms.

GRI: Flotation characteristic is very important in sensitive non-disturbing soil cultivation like strip-till or no-till cultivation. The flotation ability of a tire is the ability of a vehicle to almost float on the ground reducing the pressure it puts on the soil.

PRECISION INFLATION: How do we make tires and their machines more carbon friendly while enabling less tillage?  Better Tire technology and adjusting tire pressures when loads, torque and speeds change!  Using VF Technology & adjusting air pressure for the field enlarges the tire footprint, better disbursing the weight, resulting in dramatically less soil compaction- requiring minimal tillage.

TRELLEBORG: Running the correct air pressure in your tires will help with several things.  #1 is the footprint. As you can see in the below thermal imaging pictures, the recommended air pressure is 15 psi. By putting too much air in your tires, this changes the tire’s footprint.

 

Trelleborg Wheel Systems
Norberto Herbener: OE Applications Engineer

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon sequestration as defined is the capturing and storing of carbon dioxide. Carbon sequestration or carbon dioxide removal is the long-term removal capture or sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow or reverse atmospheric pollution and to mitigate or reverse global warming. With that being written, we will not deal with that subject during this talk but rather we will discuss regenerative farming and how tires can help.

Regenerative Farming

Many definitions exist for “Regenerative Farming”, but I like this one.

It’s the process of restoring degraded soils using practices based on ecological principles. It requires managing a farm or ranch by considering the interactions among the soil, water, plants , animals, and humans – interconnected pieces of one whole system.

The benefits of regenerative farming include:

  • Increased soil organic matter and biodiversity
  • Healthier and more productive soil that is drought and flood resilient
  • Decreased use of chemical inputs and subsequent pollution
  • Cleaner air and water
  • Enhanced wildlife habitat
  • Carbon captured in the soil to combat climate variability

 

Three ways Trelleborg can help with Regenerative Farming:

  1. Traction

We manufacture agricultural tires that are installed on farm equipment to give you the ability to plant crops and harvest crops easier and faster.

Tractors are a huge part of farming. We build tires for tractors and combines that are used to plant and harvest the crops. Our tires can influence the time it takes to perform these operations.  When a tire operates in mud, often time the tread lug voids fill up with mud and the tire starts to spin. When the tire starts to spin, it takes the farmer longer to plant or harvest the crops.  This operation increases the amount of fuel which not only increases the farmer’s cost but also the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

These terraces help the tire flex during operation in mud or loamy soil. They help keep the tread clean which greatly improves traction. The Inter-Lug Terracing reduces working time, which then reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions. You can see the chart below showing our tire compared to competitors in its reduced working time in the field.

  1. Footprint

As discussed above, one of the benefits of Regenerative Farming is to have healthier and more productive soil that is drought and flood resilient.

Trelleborg tires can help with this. One of our Trelleborg tire traits is a wide footprint. This is due to its wide tread width. We call this the “Wing Effect.” The “Wing Effect” enlarges the tread width of the tire, ensuring an extra wide footprint on the ground and provides premium flotation and low soil compaction. This helps the soil return to its original state thanks to the lower pressure per sq/in.

  1. Running the Correct Air Pressure

Our final point of discussion to help with Regenerative Farming relates to Air Pressure.  Running the correct air pressure in your tires will help with several things.  #1 is the footprint. As you can see in the below thermal imaging pictures, the recommended air pressure is 15 psi. By putting too much air in your tires, this changes the tire’s footprint.

As we referenced above, the larger footprint will result in less compaction on the soil, resulting in improved soil health and crop yield.

Correct air pressure also affects traction. By having a large footprint on the soil, the tire:

  • Grips better
  • Less slippage
  • Less time to complete your work in the field

Overall benefit is the less time it takes to complete your farming work will contribute to less fuel consumption and carbon emission. Isn’t that the name of the game?

In summary, Trelleborg tire technology offers many features that will benefited you, your daily operations, and our planet.

Continental Agriculture North America
Harm-Hendrik Lange: Customer Solutions Engineer for Continental Commercial Specialty Tires (CST)

Let’s imagine the earth in a snow globe. In every aspect of every day, humans and animals burn, or expel fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide. Electricity, transportation, full-till farming, exhaling; all emit carbon dioxide – the most common greenhouse gas. Now, think of the population in the world. Multiply it by the various activities that emit carbon dioxide and get trapped in the earth’s atmosphere; or in this example, the fluid in the snow globe, it’s mind boggling! All of a sudden, there is little space between the ‘snowflakes’ or, carbon dioxide molecules, to see the earth. Since our snow globe is pretty tightly sealed, the earth needs a way to harness the carbon dioxide molecules and utilize or store them; much like the soil absorbs the water as the snow melts. Enter, the interest in Carbon Sequestration.

Farmers have always had a very close connection to the ground and soil that ensures their livelihoods. They are aware, not just from a productivity level to maintain their business; but also, to preserve the soil health and grow delicious crops. Cultivation of the land for arable use, often broaches headlines for organic crop growth. Grass-fed livestock farming provides manure as organic fertilizer and compost. There is a kind of cycle starting, now. Crops feed, humans/animals eat, manure and fossil fuels are emitted…manure is used to feed the crops. So, what about the carbon dioxide?

A carbon conscious farm will keep as much organic material bonded with the soil, as possible. That means, the farmer is increasing humus content, adding high levels of compost, mixing in active soil organisms and using cover crops to increase the amount of bound carbon. These tasks can enable the next years’ crop to root deeper and grow a healthier plant. The amount of carbon that can be retained from these methods, will also increase the amount of water the soil can hold, protecting it from another dust bowl. Carbon sequestration is following the same idea. Can we stock up on carbon dioxide, reducing the amount in the atmosphere and use it like the farmers use and store carbon, in the soil?

Carbon sequestration isn’t a ‘fix-all’, though. All of the snow in our snow globe might melt, but that doesn’t mean it won’t snow again. Farmers always seem to be ahead of the game. They are even moving to more conservative work styles; like Strip-Till and No-Till farming. Strip-Till, is a minimal tilling of 6-8 inch narrow strips that leaves the area between the rows undisturbed. No-Till farmers, plant directly into the previous crop areas, using a no-till planter. The carbon conscious farmer we discussed earlier, uses cover crops. Cover crops add value to no-till and strip-till operations, because they encourage microbial life and earthworm activity. Both of which are beneficial to soil health. These methods can conserve fuel, save time, increase yields and fertilizer efficiency, and add to earning potential. All of these good things can come to a drastic end, if the equipment is overlooked.

All farm equipment is heavy. Even one mule pulling a plow weighs enough to compact the soil! But, as we have learned in several previous articles, compaction can be combatted. Strip-Till and No-Till farming reduces the number of passes through the field, but that reduction becomes irrelevant, without consideration for the impact of tires. Tire inflation pressure, whether gauged in PSI or bar, is roughly identical to the surface pressure applied to the soil. As a general rule, most high aspect ratio tires, with high inflation pressure, leave an impressive track of compaction. Without extra till passes to aerate, water and nutrients will run or roll, right off. In contrast, most low aspect ratio tires with lower inflation pressures increase the footprint, minimizing impact to the soil because the weight of the equipment is more evenly distributed. Therefore, choosing equipment and tires for your farm, is a key component to success. Proper tire maintenance, selecting the right size for your equipment, as well as supporting technologies, like IF and VF, are all crucial factors to reducing soil compaction and soil destruction. Equipment running on worn tires, requires extra gas to keep traction, without slippage. Extra fuel means more emissions, more emissions adds snow to our snow globe. But, interest in carbon sequestration and the proper practices to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, can promote real change.

Continental A.G. has been making efforts to positively impact the planet through research, development and sustainability. From the agriculture tire division, Continental has developed superior tires with VF technology and introduced a hybrid tread pattern, for better tire wear on the road and in the field.

 

Michelin Ag
David Graden: Operational Market Manager – Agriculture

Agricultural carbon sequestration is coming at us like a  freight train. At the very basic level, it seems strange that someone can create credit for intangible carbon, in the ground, then sell it to anyone willing to buy and offset their carbon production. At the same time, accurately measuring carbon that has been sequestered in our farm ground is in it’s infancy stages, and will only improve in the coming years. That all being said, it is inevitable that farmers will ultimately be strongly encouraged or even forced to comply at some point in the coming years- that’s why we must pay attention to carbon sequestration methodologies, and the agricultural tires that play such a pivotal role.

According to current studies, carbon sequestration can be achieved in several different ways. There’s the artificial sequestration by capturing and storing in containers in either liquid or gas form, planting of fast growing plants to naturally consume carbon dioxide from the air, non-harvest of forests that naturally pull carbon dioxide from the air, reduction of soil disturbance that allows carbon to remain in the ground and many more. We are going to focus on the tire impact piece, increasing yield without increasing tillable acres, reduced disruption of soil, and improving fuel efficiency.

In regard to increasing yield with same amount of acreage, Michelin invented Ultraflex Technologies (IF and VF) that have been independently proven to achieve up to 4.31% yield gain. This is achieved by reducing the impact farm machines have on soil. As you well know, plants simply need sun, oxygen and nutrients to grow and thrive. When we talk about reducing disruption to the soil, we specifically mean preserving those pockets of space where air and nutrients reside, so root systems don’t have to work so hard to find them. In turn, plants grow much faster and healthier to produce higher yields. Additionally, less disruption of the soil means carbon gases remain trapped in those air pockets, which provide additional nutrients for the plants.  Further, due to larger tire footprint afforded by tire technology with more lugs on the ground, traction increases and fuel economy is improved.

With machines growing heavier and stronger each year, it is vitally important to choose the right tires and set the proper air pressures to carry that weight and transfer that torque, with minimal damage to the soil. In addition to industry leading tire technologies, we have also invested heavily in acquiring a company called PTG, which manufactures Central Tire Inflation Systems (CTIS) for Agricultural machinery. The idea is, with the push of a button, a machine operator can change the air pressures of their tractor and implement tires between field operation pressures (which Michelin can operate as low as 6psi) and road pressures, which are much higher and can drastically reduce fuel consumption between fields.

To give you some perspective as to what these combined technologies mean for soil, here is an example where a military land mine sweeper is fitted with Michelin Tires made from the casing of a Michelin Axiobib agricultural tire.

This tire, at 6 psi, on this machine, has a downward force of less than the weight of a jackrabbit. Now, think about what that would do, not only for your yields and your ability to sequester carbon, but for your pocket! Recently, I read about a program that is paying farmers $20/acre for their carbon. Here’s the catch, right now, all you have to do is farm. In the very near future, I am sure more requirements will be made, and farmers will be incentivized to invest more of their hard-earned income into innovations like Michelin Ultraflex Technologies or CTIS. Furthermore, you will see more pressure to strip till or no-till your farms.

All indicators are telling us carbon sequestration is here to stay. In fact, for those that are able to do so and move fast enough, there is a huge upside to preparing your farm for the future. Not only will Michelin technologies set you up for future success, but they will also add more dollars to your bottom line today!

Maxam Tire International
Greg W. Gilland:  Business Development & Ag Segment Manager

First, we need to understand what carbon sequestration is…

The U.S. Geological Survey defines carbon sequestration as the following:

  • Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

The key drivers of carbon dioxide emissions on our planet are the following:

  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from both natural sources as well as human activities.
  • Natural sources of carbon dioxide include both humans and animals, which both exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product.
  • Human activities that lead to carbon dioxide emissions come primarily from energy production, including burning coal, oil, or natural gas, and as well from farming operations.

Animal manure is used as the primary fertilizer or crop nutrient/booster. Agriculture naturally generates carbon emissions as organic matter in feed or manure decomposes under anaerobic conditions. Through the natural anaerobic process of the fertilizer bonding with the soil, a portion of this process releases methane or carbon gases. Therefore, agricultural soils can either emit or absorb carbon dioxide. The turning of the topsoil during plowing, planting, or fertilization mixes underground carbon-containing molecules with atmospheric oxygen, creating the gases that are emitted into our atmosphere. Some 133 billion tons of carbon, roughly a fourth of all carbon gases emitted by humanity since the early 1800s has been released from soils globally. Agricultural operations emit all three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and or nitrous oxide (N20). In addition, larger farming equipment have also impacted carbon emissions in the last 80 years in the quest to improve productivity, crop yields, and ultimately grow food faster.

The challenge for agriculture going forward is how do we mitigate or reduce the impact of carbon emissions in our day-to-day farming or agricultural operations?

As discussed in our previous articles, the primary driver for increased crop results or yields is the impact of soil compaction on the plant’s ability to grow, which inevitably will create some gas emissions as the soil is compressed. Soil compaction occurs when stress is applied to a surface soil, causing artificial densification, or thickening as the air is displaced or pushed out from between the soil grains or pores. This reduces the oxygen content and impedes plant root growth. In agricultural operations when weight or load is applied, it will cause densification due to air and water being pushed or displaced from between the soil grain molecules. Therefore, soil compaction is a normal and inevitable part of agricultural operations, which will also result in gases that will be naturally released by through the anaerobic process of the soil mixed with fertilizers as a source of nutrients under pressure.

Farming requires multiple passes by equipment on tires during the growing cycle to include:

  • Fertilization
  • Planting
  • Crop Spraying
  • Harvest
  • Plowing or Tillage

When operating tires in a farming application the following elements must be assessed:

  • Vehicle speed or compaction speed when operating equipment in the field
  • Amount of ground pressure (tire footprint and air pressure caused by axle load)
  • The effect of multi-passes on the same area or rows by the equipment

The resulting ground pressure and resulting gas emissions is directly impacted by the tires based on the below contributing factors:

  • The total vehicle load per axle and number of tires
  • The distribution of the load on each tire: single, dualled, or tripled per side
  • The type of tire construction radial or bias with their corresponding ground pressure
  • The tire inflation pressure per the vehicle or towed weight and resulting tire gross flat plate or otherwise known as GFP (contact surface area)
  • Surface soil compaction or ground pressure leading to gas emission is mainly impacted by the tire footprint pressures (ex: the larger the footprint, the lower the pressure)

One of the solutions addressed in our last Ag Talk article are traffic or controlled path plans. Controlled path plans are precise traffic lanes designed to reduce soil compaction and ground pressure that will impact carbon emissions by restricting the powered elements of the equipment to travel over exact rows for repeated passes. A traffic path plan will improve vehicle performance, limit the impact to soil conditions, lower gas emissions over time, and improve productivity by avoiding row or traffic overlapping. Overlapping the row or traffic lanes result in wasted energy, escalated fuel costs, and increased soil damage due to the subsequent ground pressure generated with every pass. The use of new GPS-driven, traffic or controlled path technology is also revolutionizing equipment operation by improving vehicle utilization, reducing the impact of ground pressure, and limiting potential carbon emissions. Keep in mind that the selected equipment will pass over the same field multiple times to deliver seed, nitrogen, fertilizers, nutrients, and pesticides during the growing cycle. From the MAXAM perspective, if the right tire is utilized and in tandem the vehicle employs a traffic (controlled path) plan, the farmer or grower will avoid row skips or overlaps, ensuring reduced soil damage, improving the crop yields, and reducing his carbon footprint. Ultimately, a larger tire footprint (larger diameter, or tread width) will deliver improved performance, reduce ground pressure with the resulting mitigation of carbon gas emissions.

The practice of plowing or tillage after the harvest is considered the most to blame for the erosion or increased emission of gases from the soil, as the tillage processes cuts or turns the soil which exposes the underlayers to the surface, and releases trapped gases. Some of the solutions that have been proposed to reduce erosion and carbon emissions are variations to current farming practices as detailed below:

  • Strip Tillage or Strip Till: is a newer soil conservation process that utilizes minimum tillage by limiting the soil disturbance to the row or strip that will be seeded in the spring. The more challenging part of this process requires farmers and growers to make multiple trips to cover their fields, increasing soil compaction and ground pressure. It is estimated that 60% of all North American row crop farms still use strip till as the primary practice for soil preparation before winter.
  • No Tillage or No-Till: No-till farming is the greatest reducer of soil erosion specifically in sandy or dry soils and especially on sloping or hillside terrain farming, almost eliminating soil turnover that significantly reduce the emission of soil carbon in the air. The practice of no till increases the amount of water that can infiltrate the soil, helping to increase the retention of organic matter, and improving overall nutrients in the soil. In a no till environment, tires are subjected to more field hazards or increased stubble damage as the residual crop stalks and material are inherently in the path of the tires. This does not eliminate the need for reduced soil compaction. There are various methods of planting from sod seeding to surface seeding depending on what the intentions are with the previous crop harvested. About 25% of North American farms utilize no till as their conservation practice of choice and to improve or reduce carbon emissions. This number is growing annually.
  • Use of Cover Crops: A final conservation or action than can reduce carbon emissions is to use or rotate fields with crop residues and/or cover crops such as small cereals, legumes, or other fast-growing vegetation. The crops are not planted for crop harvest purposes, but with the purpose to reduce erosion and enrich soil with nutrients, improved nitrogen retention, and finally carbon-rich residue matter. In practice, cover crops can be planted over the winter season to help reduce erosion, as well as to reduce carbon emissions while allowing that part of the farmers field to recover some soil nutrients and reduce carbon emissions.

MAXAM radial agricultural tires have been developed to deliver performance in any soil conditions worldwide- our objective is to bring to market radial products in the right sizes, with the right load capabilities, that when operated at the right air pressure will deliver MAXAM value and performance.

 

Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America
Blaine Cox: National Product Manager—Agriculture, Golf and Turf

Carbon sequestration is very important to American farmers because carbon is the key ingredient in soil organic matter—which provides nutrients and improves the structure of soil—and because sequestering carbon is emerging as a potential revenue stream for them. This is the time for farmers to position themselves to take advantage of future opportunities and be ready to stay ahead of possible regulations.

Soil health builds on itself, so a healthy soil is more able to build soil organic matter and sequester more carbon. Healthy soil has space for air and allows water to pass through, creating a good environment for the microbes that digest crop residue and roots into soil organic matter and nutrients. Creating that environment starts with reducing or eliminating tillage because tillage breaks up soil aggregates, kills the microbes and releases soil carbon into the atmosphere.

There are two important issues when it comes to tires and soil-building farm management.

First, a large footprint and the lowest appropriate inflation pressure for the load and speed are necessary for reducing soil compaction, which can damage soil structure by eliminating the pores that contain air and water. Our line of VF tires, from the Alliance Agriflex+ 354 VF radial R-1W to VF implement tires for heavy pulled equipment like air seeders and grain carts, helps reduce compaction significantly. We also design our tires to minimize rolling resistance, which lowers farmers’ carbon emissions by reducing fuel consumption.

The second is resistance to damage from crop residue in no-till and reduced-till fields—stubble resistant compound, steel-belted radials and reinforced sidewalls. Stalk stompers and other mechanical means to push down residue really help, but tires in high residue need to be able to withstand a lot of abuse, especially with the extra-stiff stalks in today’s genetics.

At Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America, Inc., our Whole Farm concept is our commitment to providing low-compaction options for pretty much any machine or implement that rolls across a field, not just the heavy, high-profile machinery like tractors, combines and grain carts. Our hope is that we can help farmers build their soils and maybe even take part in carbon markets—two ways they can benefit from carbon sequestration.

 

Titan International, Inc. (Manufacturer of Titan and Goodyear Farm Tires)
Scott Sloan: Ag Product Manager / Global LSW

Both inflation pressure and tire selection can have an impact on soil health, which is all the more important for reduced-till and no-till farms. Each time a piece of equipment rolls across a field, it increases compaction. In addition, equipment has gotten larger over the years and the capacity of the tires have needed to increase. The higher the air pressure, the more the tire will compact the soil. That’s why it’s important to select the proper inflation pressure.

To help address this issue, certain tire technologies such as Increased Flexion (IF), Very High Flexion (VF) and Low Sidewall Technology® (LSW®), that can run at lower inflation pressures than standard tires, making them worth the investment. IF tires can carry the same weight as standard tires, but at up to 20% lower inflation pressures. VF tires can carry the same weight as standard tires, but at up to 40% lower inflation pressures. LSW tires can carry the same weight as standard tires, but at up to 40% lower inflation pressures, just like VF. However, LSW also comes with other benefits, such as reduced road lope and power hop, thanks to the larger rim diameter. Road lope and power hop are issues that can commonly occur with IF and VF tires if inflation pressures are not properly adjusted according to weight changes.

In addition to running IF, VF or LSW tires, farmers should also consider the size of the tire. With using Goodyear® Super Single tires, with Titan’s exclusive LSW Technology, for instance, the weight of the tractor is spread out over a larger footprint than with duals. This reduces ground-bearing pressure and soil compaction.

With the right tire pressure and tire configuration, farmers can better minimize soil disturbance to increase their yield.

 

GRI Global Rubber Industries
Rick Harris, Region Sales Manager

Soil is one of the most important resources and factors in growing a healthy and productive crop. An important factor for cultivation is the ability of the soil to hold water and air. The most crucial character for air and water containment is the size of the pores in the soil. Soil compaction reduces this property in the soil. It directly affects the growth of the crop and tillage reduction.

With modern technology, the weight of agricultural machinery is inevitably increasing. It has a detrimental effect on productive agriculture. The loads on machinery play a major role in the tire. It is very important to choose the right tires to maintain the important soil properties.

To reduce soil compaction a farmer should use tires that cover a greater area or to use several tires of the same type. Air pressure in a tire is very important in gaining the ability to create a large contact area and hence a large footprint. This can be done using a standard tire with less pressure or using a modern VF tire or IF.

Flotation characteristic is very important in sensitive non-disturbing soil cultivation like strip-till or no-till cultivation.

The flotation ability of a tire is the ability of a vehicle to almost float on the ground reducing the pressure it puts on the soil. Flotation characteristic is directly combined with the tire inflation pressure and the contact area. low inflation pressure gives more flotation ability and high inflation pressure gives poor flotation ability.

Our GREEN XLR radial agriculture tires have the capability to operate under very low inflation pressure. Optimized side wall flexion helps to provide a larger ground contact area. It increases flotation and minimizes soil compaction. These tires are capable of running under low pressure and giving maximum benefit in strip-till or no-till cultivation.

Our GREEN XLR radial agriculture tires also have a deeper tread depth than standard wet-grip agriculture tires and provides the best traction in all types of soils and terrains while minimizing soil compaction.

 

BKT USA, Inc.
Dave Paulk: Manager Field Technical Services

Carbon sequestration can be quickly described as the long-term removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reverse global warming. It can be a natural or artificial process to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by converting it into solids or liquids. Some areas that can affect the removal of carbon from the air are bio sequestration, peatland, forestry, urban forestry, and wetland restoration and conservation. When soil is converted from natural land to agriculture, the soil carbon content can be reduced by 30-40%.  This can be counteracted by leaving harvest residues on the field, using manure as fertilizer and/or planting perennial crops in the rotation. Soil can hold about four times the amount of carbon as found in the atmosphere. Approximately half of this carbon is found in deep soil.

In the carbon economy, farmers can be offered opportunities to sell carbon credits (more income) through conservation practices. These practices can reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint that is now estimated at creating 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers can manage their soil to increase carbon stocks. Some of the ways are to minimize soil disturbance, maximize continuous living roots, maximize biodiversity, and maximize soil cover. (1)

In considering the above factors, no till and strip till would be the most beneficial farming practices to implement reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture. Increasing yields and efficiencies can reduce emissions. This can be accomplished by the accurate application of fertilizer, the correct amount of irrigation, less soil disturbance, and GMOs bred for higher yields. Less equipment is needed with less time in the field reducing the amount of fuel burned. No till farming helps increase the amount of herbicides used leaving the dead plants on the surface to release CO2 into the atmosphere.

When no till and strip till practices are used, the soil must be protected and managed for compaction. Compacting the soil in these farming practices can affect uneven water and fertilizer absorption by the soil, uneven air and spore spacing, and obstruct plant root growth for diminished yields.  Soil protection can be accomplished by running the correct air pressures on tractors and implements. Enough air must be used to carry the weight of the equipment but using too much air in tires can cause soil compaction and lead to reduced crop yields.

Using the correct tires for the application helps as the farmer can spread the weight of the equipment over a larger area with the correct air pressures. Using radial farm tires in this application is a much better choice than bias farm tires. Radials can be run at lower air pressures to lessen ground bearing pressure and decreases the chances for soil compaction. IF and VF technology used for tractor tires and flotation tires can be used to lessen soil compaction as they can carry the same weight as a standard tire at lower air pressures. IF tires can carry 20% more load and VF tires can carry 40% more load than standard tires at the same air pressures.

Cover crops can also be planted after the harvest to help protect the soil. They can help manage soil fertility, soil erosion, soil quality, water, weeds, pests and diseases. Cover crops can be good for wildlife. They can also help break up the dirt to allow for good crop growth and give better crop yields.

With all of this in mind, farming practices are bound to change over the coming years. The reduction of farmland to urban expansion means that we will have less land to feed the growing population. Best practices in all areas will have to be used to grow higher crop yields, protect the land and natural resources, and protect the environment.

 

Precision Inflation, LLC
Ken Brodbeck, VP of Technology

Can IF & VF Tires with Tire Inflation Systems Improve Soil Health?

Today’s farmers want to pass on healthier and more productive soils to the next generation. How do we maximize soil health and profitably keep carbon in the soil?

  • Tillage practices of minimum, strip and no till are one way, along with cover crops to build soil health.

How do we make tires and their machines more carbon friendly while enabling less tillage?

Answer: Better Tire technology and adjusting tire pressures when loads, torque and speeds change!  Using VF Technology & adjusting air pressure for the field enlarges the tire footprint, better disbursing the weight, resulting in dramatically less soil compaction- requiring minimal tillage.

Wheel/Tire types have evolved from steel wheel to bias to radial to IF and VF radial tires.

Why VF? VF Tires carry the same load at approximately 40% less air pressure, reducing soil compaction proportionally about 40%.

What else can a farmer do besides invest in VF Tire Technology?

Answer: Adjust the tire pressure with a tire inflation system to lower tire pressure for lighter, low torque load conditions and HIGHER pressure for faster, heavier and high torque load conditions.

Tires require the highest pressure for the most demanding condition which usually is transport at higher speeds.

EXAMPLE 1

  • Tractor pulling a front fold 24 row planter tractor may need 30 psi in transport mode. When the planter is unfolded, the load comes off the tractor rear axle and is carried by the planter’s wing tires.
    • IN FIELD the rear axle of the tractor now may only need 14 psi in the field mode, but usually (95% of US Growers) the tires remain at 30 psi ROAD PRESSURE because they do not have a Central Tire Inflation System.

EXAMPLE 2

  • The planter’s transport tires can be 60 to 90 psi for transport but only require 35 psi in the field.

In short, PSI, or pounds per square inch pressure to the soil can often be reduced by half, simply by installing a CTIS system.

What is the result?

Dramatically improved soil health that is now suitable for No-Till or Strip-Till.

Further, soil compaction in the wheel tracks, poor water infiltration after a rain, and more fuel burned to drag both the higher pressure tractor and planter tires through the field- all avoided or reduced with precision inflation management.

In sum, for optimum soil health and reduced carbon footprint via reduced tillage, this is how to do it:

  • INCREASE PRESSURE for the road providing longer tire life and better vehicle stability. Plus lower fuel use due to lower rolling resistance.
  • LOWER PRESSURE in the field accommodating lighter axle load when the planter unfolds and the slower planting speeds.

By just doing the above, soil will be healthier, compaction is reduced, and fuel economy is improved. Tire life is increased and most importantly better crop yields will result as you no longer have to tear out soil compaction.

All because you invest in higher technology tires and then adjust the tire pressures ON THE GO matching the tire/machine requirements.

 Central Tire Inflation System “Magic” Let’s YOU!

 “Fly Down the Road and Float Over the Field!”

 

To find out more about the latest yield improving AG Tire products from all of the leading manufacturers above, click the link for podcast: https://agtiretalk.com/driving-yield-thru-tire-technology-q1-manufacturer-product-interviews/

All information is provided in this blog solely to provoke thought. All deductions made from information on this site must be confirmed by Certified Ag Tire Dealer and tire manufacturer where specified before use. Ag Tire Talk does not recommend anyone conduct tire service work with exception of Certified Ag Tire Dealer Professionals.