Tire pressure and soil compaction

There was a time, not so long ago, when managing tractor tire pressure was essentially a case of ensuring the tires were inflated to the maximum pressure authorized by the manufacturer.   That was the era of conventional and bias tires.  The arrival of the radial tire changed this approach.  The technology behind these new tires allows for greater flexibility of the tire walls without compromising the tire carcass, despite any deflection.  With accrued tire wall flexibility, the soil imprint is stretched and therefore covers a larger surface.  By using less air pressure, the result is improved load distribution on the ground. 

The importance of air pressure

Adequate tire pressure in a radial agricultural tire plays a key role in optimizing both tire traction and service life.  Tire air pressure that is too elevated may cause excessive soil compaction while increasing the risk of creating deep ruts, especially during humid conditions. The main consequence is adverse development of your crops’ roots resulting in both quantity and quality yield losses.  Additional work may also result as deeper tillage may be required, for example, in order to ‘break’ the excessively compacted soil layer.  It becomes, therefore, crucial to understand the different parameters necessary to finding the air pressure that will enable maximum efficiency and return.

Determining factors for optimal pressure

The tractor weight, along with any equipment attached to the tractor, the ballast, the maximal load being transported and the speed at which the work shall be carried out in the field, are all factors to consider when determining the appropriate air pressure for your tires.  Even the amount of time spent travelling on paved roads becomes an important parameter to consider.

Consequences of inadequate pressure

Pressure that is too low will cause irregular wear when used on the road and will render the vehicle unstable and may even damage the tire carcass.  On the other hand, pressure that is too elevated will result in higher soil compaction and will increase the depth at which the tires penetrate the soil.  This will cause rolling resistance and will create excessive tire slip which in turn will result in increased workload and fuel consumption.  Don’t hesitate to contact our experts at one of our Point S, Commercial retailers. They will help you determine the appropriate air pressure to use to ensure you maximize tire efficiency and crop yields.

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Traction - dry road

Dry-road traction is a tire's ability to brake effectively and respond well to the steering wheel on dry roads.

Traction - wet road

Wet traction is a tire's resistance to hydroplaning and its ability to provide safe driving in wet conditions.

Traction - snowy road

Snow-covered road traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely snow-covered pavement.

Traction - icy road

Ice traction is a tire's ability to operate on partially or completely ice-covered pavement.


Durability refers to how many kilometres a tire can go before it stops performing.


Comfort refers to the ride quality of a tire and the noise it emits on the road.