Use of agricultural tyres for civil engineering work

What is the hardest work for my agricultural tyres?

Authored by: Tractor tyre expert | 01 February 2023

The tyres on your agricultural vehicles may be used for work that is too tough on them and which will shorten their lifespan. There is often a tyre model suitable for each type of job, but as you can’t buy as many different tyres as there are uses, standard tyres often end up being used on a multipurpose basis, without thinking of adapting settings between very different uses.
In this article we look at working conditions that are generally considered as very tough for agricultural tyres.

1. Soil preparation work

Work which requires a lot of torque demands more from your tyres.

This is the case for soil aeration work for example, where the implement needs to dig deep into the soil to mechanically break up the compacted zones. This type of intervention requires engine power and proportionate tyres that are capable of transmitting this power to the ground.

The tyre bears the strain of the torque; it’s not what provides the power, but it must use the engine power to get the tractor moving.

The rotation of the engine transmits movement to the tyre, which acts as the lever between the centerline of the tyre and the lugs which are in contact with the ground. The stress is located at the level of the lugs and the tyre sidewall when the engine starts up and during acceleration.

Great strain on tyres during ploughingGreat strain on tyres during ploughing

Each time the implement touches the ground, it slows down the tractor whilst the engine continues to pull the vehicle forwards. The torque increases, which means that these forces work against each other (the implement slows the tractor down while the engine pulls it forwards) and it is the tyres essentially which develop the tractive effort necessary to get the combination vehicle moving forwards.

Tilling in wet conditions leads to more slipTilling in wet conditions leads to more slip

The tyres are also placed under great strain during deep tilling,
because the plough digs about 25cm deep into the upper layers of the soil, requiring power from the tractor. Like during soil aeration work, the higher the torque, the higher the necessary tractive force.

This is even more true during work in the fields in wet conditions when the tyres are heavily solicited at the level of the lugs and sidewalls due to loss of grip, which can cause excess slip and premature tyre wear.


2. Working on hard or abrasive ground

Unlike car tyres which are designed for regular road use, agricultural tyres are more specifically destined for work in the fields, i.e. on more or less soft ground.

The materials used in the production of the tyre are resistant but more sensitive to the road surface which is highly abrasive; gravel, sand, pieces of crushed rock. These particles form tiny rough patches which rub away the rubber like sandpaper.

Prolonged work on the road

If you carry out regular transport trips on the road, you expose your tyres to intensive use at high speed.

In this case it is essential to compensate for the effect of the speed by increasing your inflation pressure to avoid wearing the lugs rapidly.

Loaded transport on the road is abrasive for tyresLoaded transport on the road is abrasive for tyres

When you do work involving trips by road at high speed with heavy loads, you increase vibrations and the tyres’ slip rate on the ground. These conditions inevitably lead to the heating of the tyre casing and the rubber, making it more supple and more sensitive to abrasion.

Work in the farm courtyard

During your different manoeuvres in the farm courtyard, particularly on hard ground, your tyres are placed under considerable strain which will have a negative impact on their lifespan.

They may run into various obstacles on the ground, such as doorways or door buffers. These can break the casing or the lugs of your agricultural tyres.

Handling operations are much more intensive than simply driving in a line in the fields. They often involve repeated back and forth manoeuvres, frequent scuffing or on-the-spot turning which cause considerable damage to the rubber and the lugs.

Rather than using a front loader on your principal tractor, with a huge load transfer to your front axle, it would be wise to use a telescopic handler or loader which have tyres that are adapted to this type of operation.

Use for civil engineering operations

If you use your tractor for landscaping work or handling on hard ground in the presence of numerous stones or debris, you must equip your machine with suitable tyres whose tread is specifically reinforced.

Your agricultural tyres are not designed for this specific use and you run the risk of damaging the internal casing by driving over rubble.

Agricultural tyres are not suitable for civil engineering workAgricultural tyres are not suitable for civil engineering work

Specific uses

There are numerous possible specific uses depending on your region or your weather conditions for which standard agricultural tyres are not recommended.

Forestry work

Forestry work is particularly harsh on your tyres because you have no control over the nature of the ground, or the type of waste that litters this ground, often hidden by a thick layer of vegetal waste.

This is one of the reasons why you must make a clear difference between equipment destined for use in the fields and what you can use for forestry work.

The casing and the quality of the tyre must allow the sidewalls to resist stalks, pointed branches and sharp stones, which makes it wise to use specific adapted equipment so as not to damage your classical agricultural tyres which are more supple and more fragile. 

Forestry work is not suitable for agricultural tyresForestry work is not suitable for agricultural tyres


To clear away the snow

Using your machine to clear away the snow at certain times of year may present risks for the tyres.

If the weather conditions are very cold, frozen snow drifts or blocks of ice may effectively have the same destructive effect on the tyre casing as stones on a construction site.

Snow clearing is risky for tyresSnow clearing is risky for tyres


3. Work with a significant load variation

Load has a heavy impact on your tyre’s casing and more specifically the fluctuation of the weight during spreading or spraying work for example, which involves a significant variation in the load.

The trailer is effectively very heavy at the beginning of the operation, then the spreader is progressively emptied as the work is carried out. Your tractor tyres will not have the right inflation pressure because the load is variable, with consequences linked to underinflation when the tanks are full, then overinflation when they are empty.

Load variations have a major impact on tyresLoad variations have a major impact on tyres


Furthermore, when you transport liquids, there is a pendulum effect caused by your tanks. If you use standard agricultural tyres, they will suffer from the strain of the load with this pendulum effect, because their sidewalls are not designed to cope with the variations in movement generated by the instability of the boom arms.


4. Which tyres are best adapted to the harshest working conditions

For the harshest work on the road or in the fields, below is a selection of the most suitable tyres depending on your activity:

The Maxi Traction range

These tyre models have a large footprint to transmit optimal tractive force to the ground. The Maxi Traction’s deeper (11%), longer (24%) and wider (9%) Dual Angle lugs are designed to reduce soil disturbance and improve traction.

By opting for this tyre for your soil preparation work for example, your soil will be better preserved thanks to its solid yet supple casing which can work at an inflation pressure of between 0.8 and 1.6 bar, or up to 3 bar for work with heavy loads.

For transporting heavy loads on the road or in the fields, Firestone has developed the Extra Load tyre size. With the same pressure and speed, you can carry more load than classical tyres.

Maxi traction Extra Load for heavy loadsMaxi Traction Extra Load for heavy loads


Special tyres

For the harshest work, priority should be given to more resistant tyres which have been developed to cope with extreme strain, whose structure, casing and rubber have been designed to be sufficiently solid and hardy.

These special tyres may be used in the fields as well as on hard, highly abrasive ground.

  • They effectively have reinforced ultra-sturdy sidewalls.
  • The tread is especially resistant to wear thanks to its 6 or 7 layers of stabilising ply.
  • Their rubber is more resistant, and protects the tyre against cuts any potential perforation.


The R8000 Utility tyre is highly polyvalent and can be used for work in the fields.

It provides optimal traction on loose soil thanks to its wide lugs. The latter have an optimised shoulder angle which ensures strong grip on all surfaces.

Firestone’s R8000 Utility tyre
Firestone’s R8000 Utility tyre



For work on hard surfaces only, in particular in the farm courtyard or when carrying out civil engineering work, we recommend opting for the Duraforce Utility tyre.

This provides optimal stability thanks to a unique, robust tread with a block pattern design. Its reinforced sidewalls and robust casing protect it against different external impacts.

Firestone’s Duraforce Utility tyre
Firestone’s Duraforce Utility tyre


To help you clearly define the causes of premature wear on your current tyres, we have developed a complete guide for you to download free of charge "How to detect abnormal wear in my tractor tyres"

How to detect abnormal wear in my tractor tyres

Most people who read this article have also read some of the following articles:

Topic: Tyre wear

Did you like this article? Share it: