Tires Snow handling: Turf Tires (R3) vs. Ag Tires (R1/R4)

varmint

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
2,478
Location
Northern Maryland
Tractor
Kubota B8200, then a Kubota L3130 HST, now a Kubota L3400 HST
I've used turfs and R-4s, both with buckets and rear blades and more recently a front snow blade. I have found turfs work fine (L3400 tractor- not too heavy or too light) unless you have ice below the snow, and then chains would be required with any tire, unless you had studded tires. I use rear chains, but I have fronts, also, which aid in maintaining the desired direction, since heavy snow and a large blade tend to push the tractor off away from the angled blade, unless you have a massive machine. Some years I am lazy, and don't even bother with the chains. In my larger "avatar" photo below, because the snow was pretty deep, I had the rear chains on.


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FatTire

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Joined
Oct 2, 2007
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1,347
Location
Colorado
Tractor
Kubota L5740, Unimog 404 w/ snowblower, Deere 620i UTV, MX5100 (sold)
When people in these forums say that you need ballast and chains to work in snow it makes me wonder what kind of conditions they have to warrant making those statements. I had chains for my 955. I never used them.

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Situation like this, plowing 14" of stiffened snow. This gate is about 4 feet above the level of the road, and sits back maybe 20 or 25 feet from the road. So its not particularly steep, but still working against gravity to get up through the gate. Without chains I could blow it, or I could bucket it out of there (which would take forever), but for plowing "tire chains required".
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amhicks21

Bronze Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
81
Location
saginaw, michigan
Tractor
l6060 kubota
Ive plowed commercially for quite a while and have had the chance to use tractors with both turf and r4's and skid steers with r4 and all terrain truck tires and there is no comparison. turf's win hands down. ive never used chains on any machine because its not acceptable in my area for commercial work. slick ice sucks either way and extra weight is always helpful. if you really want to get fancy you can get the center lugs siped and run the tire pressure at the max recommended.
 

ruffdog

Super Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
6,621
Location
southern wisconsin
Tractor
Bobcat Toolcat 5610 G series w/turfs
Just like with truck tires, big fat lugs are not good on ice. Ice tires have lots of grooves and sipes to grip the surface. There are plenty of threads talking about using a grooving tool to add grip to r4 tires. I have been using unloaded turfs for many years and have not had a issue plowing or blowing snow. Here is a picture blowing deep drifts so solid you could almost walk on them. I did not have a traction problem, just a size problem!
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rScotty

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Messages
4,412
Location
Rural mountains - Colorado
Tractor
Kubota M59, JD530, JD310SG. Restoring Yanmar YM165D
I am gearing up for winter, and would like to use my BX2230 for snow handling (FM snow blower.) Does anyone have a recommendation on tires?

I currently have turf tires (R3) installed - but I notice alot of people posting videos of FM snow blower have flat-tread R4 tires.

Does anyone have experience with Re turf tires in the snow?

Yes, I have a lot of experience (40+ years) using turf tires on 16 to 33 hp tractors. Our normal "soil" is a disintegrated granite sand in the Rocky Mountains. This is a large crystalline sand that works very well with turf tires, and poorly with anything more aggressive.

Since we have the turfs on anyway, and since they are so much better for sidehill and overturning stability we like to use them in the winter. The problem is that turfs are as poor on ice and snow as they are good on sand.

Our solution is to make up a custom set of tire chains. We use the same geometric configuration for the front and rear chains, with the front chains being about what you would normally see, but the rear cross-tire members are a little larger chain size and might have "V grabbers" or studs affixed to the links as well. This combination makes it possible to use the fronts only until winter really hits - and sometimes the front chains are handy in the summer as well. For both the front and rear chains we make up our own chains starting with the standard outer parallel circumfrential chains which we make to be positioned a little farther into the steel wheel area to allow easy installation of elastic rubber tensioners. Since we will not be abrading against this section of the chain, the outermost chain circumfrential pieces can be a size smaller and therefore more flexible than normal chain sidewalls. Use of the tensioning rubbers is very important.

The cross-chain components are the aggressive parts of the chain that does the work. For these we connect the cross chains into their "X" chain configuration circular rings as connectors which are first bent into shape and then welded or brazed. If brazed, I prefer a high % nickle composition brazing material.

I'll look around and see if I have a picture of chains built this way, and include them if I can find them.
Good luck, ask any questions... rScotty
 

LouNY

Super Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Messages
6,277
Location
Greenwich, NY
Tractor
Branson 8050, IH 574, Oliver 1550 Diesel Utility
Every plowing/snow blower situation is different, every storm is different. A lot of people around here plowing with trucks use so called all season tires and get by most of the time lots of spinning at times. I have always used studded snows on my plow trucks, and for the last 20 years my driveway has required chains on the tractors and some times on the plow trucks. People that have never been stuck must have nice level driveways with no ditches or hills.
Try your turfs have a set of non studded 2 link spaced chains available if needed,with a front mount blower if you don't add weight to the rear it will be kind of light, chains on either end will help, if you get any ice storms or freezing rain or even a wet snow that gets packed down before you start clearing any tire is going to spin and slip.
 

rScotty

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Messages
4,412
Location
Rural mountains - Colorado
Tractor
Kubota M59, JD530, JD310SG. Restoring Yanmar YM165D
Every plowing/snow blower situation is different, every storm is different.

And every road surface is different, too. My comments were specific for dirt roads and drives because that is what we have here in our part of the country. Very few rural people have paved driveways here - although they are becoming popular closer to town in suburbia. Those surfaces are maintained differently, and our cleated chains would not be appropriatenon asphalt. I do some work on those asphalt & concrete surfaced drives using medium weight FEL tractors, standard industrial flat tread, 4WD, and have no need for chains.
LUCK, rScotty.
 

George the Beagle

Gold Member
Joined
May 19, 2011
Messages
295
Location
Southern Maine
Tractor
BX 2370
I had a BX1860 and now a BX2370 both with turfs. Loaded rears. Heavy set operator. Front snowblower. Never had a problem getting stuck. Let's not forget that these tractors have 4wd. I think you'll do just fine with turfs.
 

RichM752

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2012
Messages
387
Location
Mount Shasta CA
Tractor
Kubota L47TLB, Two Labs, and a Martin OM28
I had R4's on my L3400 for 10 yrs, loader on front/snowblower on rear, occasionally chaining up front tires.
On my new L47 with R4's, 84"plow blade on front and 74" blower on the rear I plan to do the same. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 
 
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