By WniF editors
East Anglian business Feltwell Growers has ordered four new Larrington Trailers specified with Michelin TrailXBib VF tyres and an AgriBrink central tyre inflation system (CTIS) after trials showed the superb soil protection qualities of the set-up.
One of the largest family-owned fresh produce suppliers in the UK, the business had planned to move its entire fleet of trailers onto tracks, as it looked for the best ways to reduce soil damage at its 5,000ha base in the wet Norfolk Fenland. However, following advice and a subsequent demonstration arranged by Larrington Trailers, it opted to specify a CTIS and TrailXBib VF 560/60R22.5 tyres.
Supplied and fitted by Michelin Exelagri dealer Bush Tyres, the TrailXBib fitments benefit from Michelin’s Ultraflex Technology that allows for greater flexibility – meaning they can work with a larger footprint, reducing the impact on the soil.
The manager of the radish division at Feltwell Growers, Scott Watson, said the firm was effectively farming below sea level and the ground gets very wet.
“It’s hard for these big heavy trailers to navigate,” he added. “When fully loaded with vegetables they can weigh up to 19t. We assumed the only thing that would really alleviate soil damage would be to move them onto tracks, but Richard Larrington explained sticking with tyres would save us adding a huge amount of additional weight to the trailers, not to mention a significant sum of money.
“We agreed to look at the set-up with the CTIS and low-pressure tyres and were blown away with the results.”
The test saw two 180hp tractors, pulling 10t of stone payload in two identical Larrington tandem axle trailers across a wet pool in the field. One trailer was fitted with standard trailer tyres at four bar of pressure, while the other trailer was fitted with Michelin TrailXBib fitments of the same size running at one bar.
The trailer with the standard tyres got stuck and had to be pulled out by two more tractors, while the trailer fitted with the Michelin TrailXBib VF fitments sailed through with minimum damage to the field.
“We pretty much made up our minds there and then,” Mr Watson said. “We now have two of the trailers with that exact set-up up running in the fields with two more to follow shortly – it’s working very well.
“The CTIS allows us to go from seven bar for operating on firmer ground down to one bar, for when we’re out on the soggy fields, inside
a minute and a half. It’s a great, sustainable solution for us. (* The article has wrong on this. Deflate from 7bar to 1 bar in 30 seconds. Inflate from 1 bar to 7 bar in 1.5 min)
“We’ve been really impressed, so much so that other divisions within the group are now looking to run their own trials with the set-up.”