Similar to most modern tyres, there are two main types of tractor tyre and agricultural tyre construction, Crossply and Radial.
Crossply Tractor Tyres are typically found on older machines as it is commonly seen as an older type of tyre technology. This isn't always the case though, as many crossply agricultural tyres offer better performance in certain situations. As a crossply tyre has a woven ply from bead to bead, it can allow for better deformation around obstacles and increased contact patch for grip on rougher terrains.
The sidewalls are often stronger in a crossply tyre so they also offer greater resistance to sidewall punctures which is particularly useful in certain industries where the sidewall can be exposed to damage. e.g. Forestry tyres and many agricultural tyres that operate on rough terrain.
The increased rigidity that a crossply tyre offers can also be of benefit in situations where stability is a consideration. For example, a front loader tractor tyre used for lifting bales of silage etc would benefit from less bounce when lifting and dropping loads than an equivalent radial tractor tyre.
The other main factor related to Crossply agricultural tyres is the price. As the construction method and materials used in a crossply tyre are cheaper, the cost price to the end user reflects this. Even though the wear rates of a crossply tyre could be reduced, the initial purchase price and usage attributes mentioned above can make it a very economical purchase.
Radial Tractor Tyres are usually found on more modern tractors and agricultural machinery. Radial tractor tyres offer certain benefits over their crossply counterparts. As a radial tyre is made up of two main sections (tread & sidewall) It allows the tyre to have characteristics that make it suitable for a wide variety of agricultural applications.
As the sidewall of a radial tractor tyre moves in a different way to the tread section of the tyre, extra comfort and stability can be engineered into the tyre due to the different materials used to make up the different sections of the tyre. For example, a radial agricultural tyre will usually have a 'softer' sidewall which allows the side of the tyre to flex independently from the tread section. This extra flexibility in the sidewall not only increases the comfort to the agricultural machinery operator, but it allows the tyre to respond to changes in the operating surface more easily and increase grip across the section of the tyre. This in turn reduces the wear rate of the tyre and also allows the tyre to offer a higher speed rating due to the reduced stress and heat build up that could be found in a more traditional crossply tractor tyre.
Radial tractor tyres also offer a better weight distribution, which in turn reduces the impact on the operating surface. This in turn can reduce losses cause by compaction in many farming sectors such as row crop operations. Better weight distribution, stability and wear rate all help offset the initial outlay from the increase purchase price that is typically found with a radial agricultural tyre.