Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre and rubber manufacturer, is making an emphatic entrance onto the market for premium agricultural tyres with the launch of the long-awaited VT-TRACTOR tyre. While all radial agricultural tyres previously manufactured by the Bridgestone Group were sold under the Firestone brand, this newly developed tyre signals a clear declaration of intent on the part of Bridgestone Europe to compete at the highest end of the agricultural tyre segment. Targeting large operations using today’s advanced, sophisticated but often heavy equipment, Bridgestone’s premium agricultural tyre range enables farmers and contractors to meet the conflicting demands of greater productivity, efficiency and soil protection.
The agricultural tyre market is changing rapidly, challenging tyre manufacturers to come up with solutions for the conflicting demands of greater efficiency today and greater soil protection for increased productivity tomorrow. Bridgestone is answering those demands with a new range of premium agricultural tyres capable of operating at lower inflation pressures, and with a larger tyre footprint. As such, they reduce ground contact pressure and associated soil compaction.
Lothar Schmitt, Director Agricultural and Off-the-Road tyres, Bridgestone Europe: “The philosophy behind Bridgestone’s new agricultural tyre range is about striking the perfect balance between farming efficiency and environmental care. The ‘Soil Care by Bridgestone’ label is a guarantee of tyres that enable farmers to work faster, more efficiently, more economically and above all, more sustainably. That is how we help farmers deliver higher yields and greater productivity both today and tomorrow.”
The VT-TRACTOR tyre, the flagship of the new Bridgestone premium agricultural tyre range, is presented for the first time at Reifen Essen. Preliminary tests conducted in March 2014 by the independent organisation DLG* confirm the superiority of the VT-TRACTOR over other market-leading brands in a number of areas including traction and fuel consumption.**
The VT-TRACTOR’s superior traction allows farmers to work faster in the field and cover up to 0.9 hectares more than its competitors over a 10 hour period. Coupled with the tyre’s excellent fuel economy, generating savings of up to 36 litres per 50 hectares vs. benchmark competitors, the VT-TRACTOR guarantees a lower total cost of ownership.
The most important feature of the VT-TRACTOR tyre, however, is its very low and very evenly distributed contact pressure. Internal testing*** also revealed that the VT-TRACTOR provides up to 26% larger lug contact area than the same competitor tyres tested, resulting in very low soil compaction and thus greater crop protection.
The VT-TRACTOR has been developed in Bridgestone's European development centre in Rome and will be manufactured at the Puente San Miguel plant in Spain.
While Bridgestone has set its sights on the new and growing high-end agricultural tyre segment and will mainly be made available in sizes covering the largest and most powerful agricultural equipment, Firestone will continue to meet the needs of more than 90% of the tractor market in Europe with a new generation of high-quality agricultural tyres. This new generation of Firestone agricultural tyres is also on display at Reifen Essen and includes the robust MAXI TRACTION COMBINE for combine harvesters and the advanced PERFORMER ROW CROP for sprayer applications, a narrow tyre that allows precise steering between crops, thus eliminating damage to crops and roots.
The VT-TRACTOR will be available for purchase in autumn later this year in 28 to 42 inch sizes.
* The DLG-Test Center Technology and Farm Inputs – situated in Germany – sets the standard for tested agricultural machinery and equipment and farm inputs and is the leading testing and certification service provider for independent and impartial technology tests in the agricultural sector.
** Tyres tested: sizes IF 600/70 R30 & IF 710/70 R42 (at inflation pressures 1.2 & 1.0 bar) and VF 600/70 R30 & VF 710/70 R42 (at inflation pressures 1.0 & 0.8 bar) under same load conditions.
*** Conducted at DLG’s International Crop Production Center in March 2014 with sizes IF 600/70 R30 & IF 710/70 R42 (at inflation pressures 1.2 & 1.0 bar) and VF 600/70 R30 & VF 710/70 R42 (at inflation pressures 1.0 & 0.8 bar) under same load conditions using XSENSOR™ pressure imaging technology.