Deep wheel tracks can be a headache in the field. They lead to low crop clearance and can cause your center pivot or linear to get stuck mid-rotation. A common misconception is that a longer or heavier span automatically means deeper wheel tracks. This is simply not true.
Pivot weight has little to do with deep wheel tracks. The key to minimizing ruts is ensuring that tires are properly inflated. Tire inflation directly affects ground pressure, which is the leading cause of deep wheel tracks. There is actually an equation you can use to determine the best tire pressure. Additionally, proper tire inflation maximizes tire life.
One way to reduce wheel tracking is by equipping your center pivots or linears with tires that keep more soil in the wheel’s path. Unilateral tires use horizontal treads rather than the conventional angled treads. While angled treads increase traction by digging into the soil, they push soil out to the edge of the wheel track causing deeper ruts. Unilateral tires keep more soil in the wheel path resulting in shallower ruts.
If you want to find out more about how to keep your pivot from getting stuck mid-rotation or how to calculate the best tire pressure, log in to irrigation.education and take the Choosing the Best Tire for Center Pivot Irrigation course!