Neil Milligan

TractorMaster

After being involved in a family farming business, Neil Milligan set up a contracting business in 2003 offering slurry and muck spreading, ploughing, drilling, and spraying to local farms near Castle Douglas. “I was doing everything for a while, but I now just focus on spraying and drilling, which has enabled me to work from October to March in New Zealand,” he says.

Mr Milligan uses a Knight tractor mounted 24 metre multi-fold sprayer with a 1600 litre rear tank and 1500 litre front tank. This is preferable to a trailed or self-propelled machine because much of the land he operates on is tricky to access and traverse. “I used a smaller 12 metre on my own land, but when I started contracting, I chose a mounted Gambetti 24m because the wider width seemed in higher demand. I soon realised I needed to update my tractor and I subsequently chose a Knight Gull-Wing 24m, before moving to the multi-fold.”

The local land varies from pasture to hillside and spraying such variety can prove tricky at times. Grip is of paramount importance which is why Mr Milligan has recently invested in a full set of our TractorMaster tyres. “l hadn’t planned to change the tyres until the end of 2021 but opted to change them last year because I was losing grip and didn’t want to get in to trouble with a full payload on slippery land.”

Mr Milligan was visited by Richard Hutchins, our agricultural tyre specialist, when he bought the tyres. Mr Hutchins weighed the tractor and advised on the optimum running pressure for the spraying work Mr Milligan was using his Valtra 213 tractor for.

It was really encouraging to have a representative from the manufacturer actually make a farm visit and I appreciated the insight he was able to offer.

The total weight of tractor, sprayer and full tanks is 13 tonnes and Mr Hutchins was able to calculate the optimum running pressures using our Agriculture TireTech app.

“I used to have the tyres at the same pressure for spraying and drilling. Meeting Richard showed me that I needed a lower pressure in the rear tyres when drilling to help reduce soil compaction and higher to carry the weight of the sprayer more efficiently.” 

The rear tyres are run at 16 psi when drilling and 21psi for spraying, whereas the fronts are set to 22. “This adjustment is helping the tyres to wear more evenly. I do a lot of road work because I cover a 15 mile radius from my farm and Mr Hutchins advised that, if the rear tyres were running at too low a pressure, I would risk damaging the sidewalls.” By operating at a pressure that is better suited to the road but low enough to reduce soil compaction he has found both the tractor and the sprayer operate more efficiently.

It gives me peace of mind that even at low pressures, on difficult land, I can rely on the tyre.

Mr Milligan also has greater confidence on the road and in the field. The new tyres, set to the correct pressures, make the Valtra more stable on the road and provide greater grip when he is spraying. “I can do 20 miles fully loaded towing a 4000-litre bowser and I feel very comfortable driving on country lanes – even some of the rougher ones.”

When spraying, the front and rear linkage suspension of the Valtra and the tyres help to keep the boom steady. The tyres have an additional nylon layer known as N.flex that helps maintain the roundness during and after heavy use.

“The tyres are smooth and are wearing well. I have covered about 500 hours doing mostly spraying work and the tyres still look as good as new.”