Narrow tyres which are ideal for sowing and treatments

Which narrow tyres to choose for autumn sowing

Authored by: Tractor tyre expert | 19 December 2023

While it’s true that wide tyres are suitable for tilling to maximise traction, they will certainly be less efficient after winter sowing, to pass between the rows of young seedlings for the first treatments. A good quality narrow tyre will help you avoid squashing one or two rows every time you pass.
The management of the impact of tyres on your crops is essential to minimise the destruction of the young plants, soil compaction and the formation of ruts, factors which can have a negative impact on plant growth and in the long run, on your yields.
The number of passages across a field, which can reach up to twenty over a period of 8 months, demonstrates the importance of choosing the most suitable tyres to protect your crops. High-tech narrow agricultural tyres offer several benefits: an increase in load capacity, a reduction in the number of passages necessary, time saving and better stability.

Choosing the right narrow tyres for your combination vehicle, whether for your tractor or sprayer, is therefore a key decision and in this article we look in detail at the points to bear in mind to optimise your choice.

1. How to choose the right narrow tyres for autumn sowing operations?

Autumn sowing, such as winter wheat, requires a lot of trips back and forth across the field between germination and harvesting, which won’t all take place in ideal weather conditions and on perfectly dry soil. After autumn sowing, your winter wheat should start to sprout at the end of November, with the young seedlings a few centimetres high and still very fragile. The ground may stay humid for several months and you will need to look ahead to the next passages across your field. This is definitely the time to have narrow tyres fitted to avoid squashing the seedlings and loose a large part of your work.

Why to avoid standard tyres after sowing

Standard tyres, although commonly used, have significant disadvantages during trips back and forth over young crops.
During spraying operations, the weight of the tank fluctuates by several thousands of kilos.  This means that standard tyres have to work at a high inflation pressure to compensate for the initial weight of the full tank, in addition to the weight of the sprayer booms.
These conditions cause significant damage to the soil and the young crops, with a notable loss of yield in the areas affected by the tyres.
During the wet season, standard tyres provoke significant compaction to the deep layers of soil, reducing the quality of the harvest and necessitating costly soil recovery work at the end of the season.

When the tank is full, standard tyres destroy a significant portion of the young seedlings
When the tank is full, standard tyres destroy a significant portion of the young seedlings

Optimise spring sowing with narrow tyres

The same principle applies to spring sowing, after the soil preparation work. Priority should be given to narrow tyres after sowing to maximise the efficiency of your work, protect your soil and the young seedlings. By opting for narrow tyres instead of wide tyres, you considerably reduce the risk of crop damage by making it possible to pass more precisely between the rows. Narrow tyres provide a good solution to the regular passages that will be necessary up until the harvest.

The use of narrow tyres right after seeding helps to protect the soil and the seedlings
The use of narrow tyres right after seeding helps to protect the soil and the seedlings

The criteria for choosing the right narrow tyres

The quality of a narrow tyre is not limited to its reduced width. Other criteria must be taken into account.

Narrow tyres, which structurally don’t have a great bearing capacity, require a better technical design to compensate for this limitation. It is essential to give preference to high-tech tyres, with features such as:

  • A reinforced design, necessary for spraying which involves high cyclic loads.

  • A sufficiently solid casing to be able to work at reduced pressure, depending on the load, without crushing the sidewalls to avoid compacting the soil.

  • But also a specific lug design to obtain a good traction capacity despite the narrow width.


2. What will be the real impact of the narrow tyre on the soil?

When it comes to choosing your next agricultural tyres, understanding their impact on the soil is important if you wish to protect the structure of the arable layer and subsoil in your fields to safeguard your long-term yields. Here are a few  essential elements to take into account before choosing your narrow tyres.

Reduction of the soil surface area impacted

Narrow tyres have a significant advantage in terms of impact on the ground. Their much smaller footprint directly affects less surface area compared to all standard or wide tyre categories.

You will, of course, have to increase the inflation pressure to compensate for the narrow width to be able to carry an equivalent load.
It comes down in the end to what has more impact on the soil; the width of the footprint or the pressure?

In actual fact both have a similar impact, the worst option being wide standard tyres with a high inflation pressure.

On the other hand, if you have narrow tyres that were designed to work at low pressure, this is the ideal set-up. Just after sowing, your first drive in the autumn to encourage contact between earth and seed can be done with narrow tyres at low pressure. The second passage after the winter to repair the frost damage will also be perfect at low pressure.

Very low impact of Performer 95 tyres on your crops
Very low impact of Performer 95 tyres on your crops

The tyres’ minimal contact patch with the ground limits disturbance to the young crops’ root system, thus contributing towards more vigorous growth in the seedlings.
During the first treatments, the root system of the young plants will be sufficiently strong to resist the increasing pressure of your narrow tyres. The impact on the quality of your crops will therefore be minimal with this type of tyre.


The Performer 95 can work at low pressure to protect your sowing operations

Certain narrow tyres like the Performer 95 are capable of working at low pressure. This exceptional characteristic comes from a combination of its robust casing structure and its innovative design which includes a steel belt.

  • Unlike standard agricultural tyres, the Performer 95 has supple yet robust sidewalls, capable of carrying heavy loads at high speed or working at a low inflation pressure. This high-tech tyre has an extremely resistant tread reinforced by a steel belt, allowing it to work at a wide range of pressure settings from 0.8 to 5 bar (for cyclic loads).

  • Another no less significant advantage of the Performer 95 lies in its Dual Angle lugs, an innovation patented by Firestone. These lugs ensure optimal traction which results in exceptional efficiency on all types of terrain, at the same time as limiting soil damage. Furthermore, when in use, a remarkable self-cleaning capacity has been observed which is most likely linked to the specific lug design. By avoiding the accumulation of earth between the lugs, you limit the slippage that is so frequent with classical narrow tyre models.
pneu agricole étroit, technicité barrettes
1. Angle to improve traction − 2. Angle to facilitate self-cleaning
  • These different advantages make this premium tyre an obvious choice for anyone looking for the perfect combination between soil (and seedling) preservation and optimal traction.



What are the usual drawbacks that will be reduced by using better narrow tyres?

There are many drawbacks related to standard narrow tyres linked to their reduced width. The low quantity of air inside a narrow tyre means that the pressure has to be high to offset the load, leading to a lot of slip if the ground is too wet. The narrow tread reduces stability and leads to more rapid wear; in short this type of tyre has many drawbacks.
However, by choosing high-tech tyre models you can reduce the problems linked to load, speed, wear and even tractor stability when the sprayer booms are deployed.



Narrow tyres that can cope with a heavy load

Narrow tyres are placed under great strain due to the heavy load they have to bear, especially during operations such as spraying with wide boom arms. Firestone’s Performer 95, thanks to its ultra-resistant steel belt, has a high load capacity. The layers of steel integrated in the tyre structure lead to optimal stability. This enables more efficient spraying with heavy equipment (high capacity tank and long boom arms), thus contributing to better overall productivity.
Depending on the model chosen, the Performer 95 allows you to work at high speed with a heavy load.


For example with pressure of 4 bar:

  • Size 300/95 R 52: 4,090 kg per tyre at 25 km/h or 3,780 kg per tyre at 40 km/h
  • Size 300/95 R 46: 3,735 kg per tyre at 25 km/h or 3,450 kg per tyre at 40 km/h
  • Size 300/95 R 42: 3,645 kg per tyre at 25 km/h or 3,370 kg per tyre at 40 km/h

Narrow tyres are also used and appreciated during the planting of certain crops such as potatoes. The implements used for this type of crop are effectively very heavy and require tyres that are efficient, with a high load capacity.

Narrow tyres used with a potato planter
Narrow tyres used with a potato planter

Narrow tyres that reduce time constraints

Being able to work quicker is one of the main concerns of all farmers, in particular during treatment periods when you need to take advantage of kinder weather conditions. Choosing high-quality narrow tyres is an answer to this problem, since with a very high load capacity you can work with very wide boom arms and reduce the number of trips back and forth across the field, thus saving time and reducing your impact on the soil.

Narrow tyres that can work with very wide boom arms allow you to spray your field in half the time
Narrow tyres that can work with very wide boom arms allow you to spray your field in half the time

Thanks to its ingenious design, the Performer 95 has a high speed rating (D = 65 km/h) which allows you to travel quicker on the road (within the applicable speed limit). Even at speed, Firestone’s narrow tyre has excellent road handling capacities, precision steering and optimal driving comfort with less noise and vibrations. Having this high speed rating really makes sense if you need to make several trips back and forth to fill up your tank during spraying operations.


Narrow tyres that are more resistant to wear

Premature wear to your agricultural tyres can lead to additional costs. However, if your narrow tyres are designed with a steel belt, this will ensure better wear resistance. The steel belt on this high-tech tyre provides reinforcement, guaranteeing more regular wear at the level of the tread, which in turn reduces your tyre replacement costs.



Narrow tyres that limit stability problems

The stability of the agricultural vehicle is essential to ensure regular and efficient treatments. The steel belt and the quality of the casing in Performer 95 tyres contribute to the shock absorption capacity, providing greater stability for wide ramps and limiting the swaying effect cause by the liquid in the tanks.

The narrow Performer 95 tyre ensures greater stability
The narrow Performer 95 tyre ensures greater stability



Narrow agricultural tyres turn out to be essential after sowing to protect the young shoots and optimise crop growth. These tyres minimise damage to the ground and to the seedlings during the numerous trips necessary across your field.

These tyres, while requiring high pressure to bear loads similar to wide tyres, have a lower impact on the soil. The tyre models that have been designed to work at low pressure are ideal during wet periods following autumn and spring sowing.

For farmers seeking to protect their soil and improve their yields, choosing suitable narrow agricultural tyres, in particular those designed to work at low pressure such as the Performer 95, is a strategic decision. This technology offers a balanced solution between soil preservation and the protection of budding seedlings. It will help maximise your productivity and your agricultural yields.


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