Cornwall’s Severy sees tractor tires in France

CORNWALL — A custom operator from Addison County recently visited France for a first-hand look at Michelin’s agricultural tire technologies and how they help farmers improve crop performance.
Matthew Severy of Cornwall was among a select worldwide group of 120 industry influencers — farmers, journalists, tire dealers and other opinion leaders — who toured Michelin’s research center and test track in Ladoux, France, the heart of the company’s focus on innovation. The “Fields of Innovation” event commemorated the 10th anniversary of Michelin Ultralflex Technologies, which enable agricultural tires to operate at lower air pressure, which helps reduce soil compaction and protect plant development.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was honored to participate,” said Severy, who had never traveled overseas before this trip.
Severy applies liquid manure for dairy producers throughout Vermont and parts of New York and Massachusetts. He has been equipping his trucks and tractors for more than seven years with Michelin tires, which he likes because of their durability and traction. “They wear 25 percent longer than other tires and really pull through the field,” he said.
At the Ladoux research center, participants observed footprint and soil compaction demonstrations of Michelin’s Ultraflex tires, which can carry up to 40 percent more load at the same pressure compared to standard technology radial tires, or up to 40 percent less load at the same pressure.
“Lower air pressure helps spread the weight of heavy farm equipment, resulting in a larger footprint that results in less soil compaction,” said James Crouch, farm segment marketing manager for Michelin North America. “Lower compaction helps protect crop yields and offers better traction, which in turn improves fuel economy and productivity in the field.”
At the test track, Michelin test drivers maneuvered the latest generation John Deere sprayer, equipped with the new 50-inch Michelin SprayBib tires, at a speed of nearly 25 miles per hour, which is very fast for these high-riding machines. The demonstration showed that farmers can safely operate larger equipment at higher speeds with Ultraflex tire technology.
Another highlight of the trip for Severy was the tour of l’Aventure Michelin museum, which showcases the company’s history and its many tire innovations. In fact, Michelin created the categories of IF (Increased Flexion) and VF (Very High Flexion) lower-pressure tires to support the trend toward larger, heavier farm equipment.
Severy said he was impressed by the experience. “Michelin is committed to technology and future innovation,” he said. “It was also very interesting to learn about the extensive testing they conduct before new tire products are introduced.”

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