REPORT: Brothers Paul and PJ McGrath are aware of the benefits of lowering tyre pressures, but they concede that it hasn’t been done religiously … until now. To reduce the pressure-altering hassle, they retrofitted a central system to one of their mainline tractors earlier this year.

How many farmers compromise on tyre pressure, relying on one setting that will meet the needs of speedy roadwork but may not extract the
best performance when in the field? The main reason for this, more often than not, is the time it takes to alter the pressure, particularly on jobs where the tractor is in and out of the field on a regular basis.

“We normally operate our tyres at about 14 pounds pressure, though we know that we should be down around eight in the field and up to 20 on the road,” explains PJ McGrath of Tullamore-based Tara Agri. “But lowering the pressure really does make a difference; we noticed this when pulling the seven furrow Överum with our Valtra 8550. Using the old rule of thumb, of having three lugs on the ground, it is the same difference as turning the four-wheel drive on. The tractor just has so much more pulling power.”

It has been seven years since brothers Paul and PJ have used their plough as part of the cultivation regime on the more than 400ha that they farm in County Offaly, which is a mix of owned and rented land. The farthest away fields are up to 25km from base, hence the need to ensure there is enough pressure in the tyres to avoid premature side wall failure or any other under-inflation related damage.

Pressure on the button
“When we were ordering the Axion 830, we did consider the tyre inflation system Claas fits. However, we didn’t like having so many pipes,” Paul explains. “We’d seen other tyre inflation systems when at the SIMA show in France, and there was the test in profi last year, too. We liked the look of the Rottmann system, which has just the one pipe going to each wheel.”

Nearby parts supplier and machinery fixer Michael O’Brien had also been looking at tyre inflation systems, and a conversation with the McGrath brothers spurred him on to take on the role of Rottmann Automation distributor for Ireland through his business O’Brien Hydraulics & Agri. The system on the McGraths’ 235hp Axion 830 was the first to be installed earlier this year and controls the pressure in the Mitas SFT 600/70 R30 fronts and 710/70 R42 rears.