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Tractor fuel trial demonstrates real opportunity for savings

A team from Michelin’s research and development facility in Ladoux, France, have completed a UK trial to demonstrate how fitting tractors with tyres which can operate at very low pressures can save over 20 per cent in fuel costs.

The team performed the trial using a pair of Fendt tractors at Merrist Wood College in Guildford, Surrey, before an audience of leading farmers, agronomists and tyre dealers.

A series of cameras captured the trial and results, with the footage available to view on Michelin UK’s YouTube channel at

The trial saw a Fendt 724 make two passes in the field; first on Michelin XeoBib tyres inflated to conventional pressures, and second at the much lower pressures made possible by the very high flexion XeoBib tyres, which are constructed using Michelin’s patented Ultraflex Technologies. To simulate a high-torque application, the first tractor was connected via a sling to a second ‘braking’ tractor, which simulated a constant tractive force of approximately 5,000 kg. Two measuring tubes, each filled with 90cm of diesel, allowed the precise fuel usage on each of the two passes to be recorded.

Laurent Mozziconacci, Michelin Product Marketing and Technical Manager in the UK, explains: “For the first test, the front tyres were inflated to 21psi and the rears 23psi – pressures you’d typically associate with traditional tractor tyres. For the second run the pressures were lowered to 9psi at the front, and 10psi at the rear. This allowed the flexible sidewalls to spread the XeoBibs’ contact patch, reducing wheel slippage and giving the tractor greater speed for the same effort, whilst leaving shallower ruts and causing less damage to the soil.

“Observing how much diesel remains in each measuring tube after the two runs paints a very clear picture of just how much farmers could be saving on fuel, even before we calculate the exact fuel saving. It makes for a very powerful video testimony,” he concludes.



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