Walking on water: New meaning for ‘floatation’ tyres

Tyre manufacturer Mitas is expected to stage a somewhat unusual demonstration at the upcoming Farm Progress Show in the US.

The manufacturer will fit massive floatation tyres to a New Holland tractor to enable it to ‘swim‘ across water.

This is not the first time Mitas (part of Trelleborg Group) has staged such a publicity stunt; it did something similar back in 2016 when a 4t Claas Axos 320 “walked on water” in Offingawier (Netherlands).

The tractor was fitted with Mitas 1250/50 R32 SFT tyres at the rear; it was shod on 750/55 R30 SFT tyres up front. Thanks, says the company, to “careful calculations and Archimedes’ principle” the tractor didn’t sink.

Instead, the driver “successfully navigated the port and then returned to dry land, without getting wet”. This video (below) from Trekkerweb, shows the tractor and its generously-proportioned ‘boots’ in action.

Speaking after that feat, Pavel Kott, product manager for Mitas (agricultural tyres), said: “We are focused on what benefits farmers.

“Floatation tyres can not only make a yacht out of a farmer’s tractor but they can also bring them higher yields, thanks to lower soil compaction.

It’s all about floatation. The combined volume of air in the tyres made a 4t tractor walk on water. Imagine the gentle distribution of weight over the soil when the machine does its day job.

Preparing for this month’s repeat of the endeavour (the Farm Progress Show takes places on August 28-30 in Boone, Iowa), a spokesperson told Wallaces Farmer: “We’ve done a lot of R&D (Research & Development) with this and we haven’t lost anyone yet.

He explained that the demonstration is a conversation starter. He explained: “If visitors remember it and what the meaning is, we hope it will help them [to] think about compaction and their business.”

He concluded: “We will not be giving any rides.”