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“Fat Tire” Kit Like Putting Duals On Planters
Kevin Schmidt put wider, low-pressure tires on his Deere planter 4 years ago, and now the Iowa farmer is making and selling Fat Cat Tire kits to other farmers. Like him, they need help fighting pinch-row compaction caused by large, heavy planters. The wider tires also help in wet soil conditions.
“They give me nearly twice the footprint of OEM tires,” says Schmidt. “They’re like putting duals on the planter.”
Schmidt didn’t intend to start a business. He upgraded to a 24-row planter, and the pinch-row compaction was noticeable. He considered tracks, but found them costly, and durability was a concern. After measuring available space on his planter, he thought larger footprint tires could be the answer.
“It took 2 sets of prototypes to get the clearance and footprint we wanted,” says Schmidt. “The subframe cradles where the tires mount needed to be wider, but the question was how wide. We settled on 2 in.”
The kits include everything needed to mount the new tires. They maintain the original OEM height with no need to relevel the planter bar or make other changes.
The big challenge was finding the right tires. Initially Schmidt looked at truck tires, but they didn’t provide the needed footprint. To get it, he would have to lower tire pressure from 110 to 40 psi. This would cause the sidewalls to go out.
“I found some multi-purpose tires from Alliance that were originally designed for telehandlers,” he says. “You can run them at 40 psi or lower, depending on conditions.”
Neighbors noticed and asked about the modifications. Last year he sold a few kits locally and some in South Dakota and Minnesota. This year he has more kits and tires on hand and plans to go into full production in 2021.
“I have kits in stock and plenty of tires,” says Schmidt. “Installation is pretty basic and just takes a little wrenching. We use the factory-installed cylinder stops to raise the planter off the ground, so no blocks or jacks are needed.”
Kits are available for Deere 1770NT/1775NT 24-30 planters and Deere 1790/1795NTs. The latter include 16-31, 16-32 and 24-20 row configurations. Kits with the Alliance tires are priced at $9,500. Kits with a similar Michelin tire with a slightly larger void area are priced at $10,160.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fat Cat Tire, 5048 210th St., Battle Creek, Iowa 51006 (ph 712 369-1566; kevin@fatcattire.com; www.fatcattire.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2