Reducing compaction

Tires are a key contributor to soil compaction and rut formation.

Learn about agricultural tire maintenance and how a few simple steps can ensure maximum performance and safety.

What is soil compaction?

Soil compaction is one of the principal soil damage processes: it is caused by increasingly heavy agricultural machines passing over it, often in difficult climatic conditions.

Compaction is linked to the very nature of the soil, its water content, types of crop and the load applied to the surface.  Repeated passes by agricultural equipment creates soil compaction and shear.

The economic impact of soil compaction is significant: decrease in agronomical yield, risk of development of disease and a need to do regeneration work such as ploughing and/or de-compaction which consume considerable fuel and time. 

What is rut formation?

A rut is a longitudinal deformation of the soil characterised by a deep recess when run over by farming machinery. Rut formation is extensive on muddy ground.

The consequences are catastrophic for agronomical development: nothing grows in a rut so it represents a net loss of yield for the farmer.

Ruts encourage water stagnation, which can asphyxiate plants and encourage the development of disease.

Nothing grows in a rut!

Preserve your soil with radial technology, improved traction in all conditions and flexible, long-lasting casing thanks to “MICHELIN Ultraflex Technologies”.

Ruts also mean agricultural machines consume more energy.

The depth of a rut is similar to a “step” that an agricultural tire needs to climb constantly. This results in increased fuel consumption.

A field with a lot of ruts has to be reconditioned. In this case, soil regeneration work has to be carried out, using up time and fuel, affecting a farm’s productivity and profitability.

A tractor wheel in direct contact with the ground provides a solution that helps to limit soil compaction and rut formation.

In this field, the quality of an agricultural tire lies in its ability to carry very heavy loads at very low pressure. In fact, the pressure in the tire is close to the mean pressure exerted on the soil.  (E.g.: If the pressure in a tire is 14.5 psi - the pressure exerted on the soil by the tire will be around 1Lbs/Sq.In)

Therefore, the higher the tire pressure the greater the pressure on the soil with more extensive compaction and rut formation.

Soil compaction is amplified by a slipping: the tire’sits traction capability is therefore fundamental to limit this phenomenon.

Michelin recommendations

Michelin® develops agricultural tires that enable soil compaction to be reduced considerably and improve farm equipment the traction capability of various farm equipment machines improved.

Recommandation No. 1: Choose Radial rather then Bias technology

Already widely used in the automobile and transport sector, radial tire technology has demonstrated its advantages in the world of agriculture. Compared with Bias technology, Radial technology helps to reduce compaction and increases machine traction capability thanks to:

  • the ability to carry heavy loads with lower pressure.
  • a wide footprint surface that enables better distribution of the load on the ground with more tread blocks to grip and improve traction and soil protection.
Recommendation No. 2: Opt for wide and “large volume” series

The objective of “wide” and “large volume” ag tires is to reduce pressure for the same load and provide a better level of traction, at the same time retaining the same external diameter and rolling circumference as a “standard” tractor tire.

The same tractor originally equipped with standard agricultural-tires can be fitted with wide or large volume tires. Michelin has developed wide and large volume series tires:

  • MICHELIN OMNIBIB 620/70R42 160D TL and 480/70R30 141D TL.
  • MICHELIN MULTIBIB 650/65R42 158D TL and 540/65R30 143D TL.
  • MICHELIN MACHXBIB 650/75R38 169 A8 /169B TL and 600/65R28 154A8 / 154B TL

E.g.: For a 200 hp tractor with a load of 3,900 lbs per tire at the front and 8,800 lbs per tire at the rear with a maximum speed of 25 mph on the road. Original equipment:
MICHELIN Agribib (standard) 520/85R42 157 A8 /157B TL and MICHELIN Agribib 16.9R30 137 A8/134B TL


Michelin AGRIBIB

Michelin OMNIBIB



Front pressure

14.5 psi

11.6 psi

10.1 psi

8.7 psi

Rear pressure

23.2 psi

17.4 psi

17.4 psi

14.5 psi

On average, compared with the MICHELIN AGRIBIB the pressure in MICHELIN OMNIBIBs and MICHELIN MULTIBIBs is at least 20%  lower and the pressure in MICHELIN MACHXBIBs is on average 38% lower. 

Recommendation No. 3 Opt for Michelin Ultraflex Technologies

Thanks to MICHELIN Ultraflex technology, the optimization of agronomical yield starts at the level of the tire. The secret? An innovative, particularly tough casing, which allows for greater flexion.

Result: Farm tires with MICHELIN Ultraflex technology can carry heavy loads even at low pressure (1), regardless of the work speed (2).

And this is not all: the flexible structure of this casing generates a greater surface imprint which, in turn, increases traction capability of the tractor wheel.

  • You save time and fuel;
  • You preserve the soil;
  • You increase your agronomical yield.