Quick Answer: What Is Tractor Ballasting?

Ballasting Tractors for Optimal Fuel Efficiency

Over-ballasting a tractor wastes fuel due to increased rolling resistance and drive train wear. Ballasting also has serious effects on compaction, transmission life, tire life, and tractor safety and stability.

Controlling Tire Slippage

Slip can be controlled by adding or removing ballast from the tractor to achieve the desired slippage: if the slip is less than 10%, more ballast must be added; if the slip is more than 20%, more ballast must be added.

Distribution of Ballast

The majority of the tractor weight should be distributed over the drive axles, with FWA tractors requiring more weight on the front axle to provide traction for the powered front wheels. Wheel slip should be checked in the field to refine the ballasting requirements.

Ballasting the Tire Capacity

Maximum loads when using dual tires are generally 88% greater than when using single tires only, according to tire manuals; if loading tables do not list duals, calculate dual load capacity by multiplying 0.88 times the load capacity for singles.

Ballasting for Safety

Make sure the tractor’s total weight (including ballast) does not exceed the maximum ROPS limits, which can be found in the operator’s manual. The ROPS is designed to support a maximum tractor weight and may fail if the ballasted tractor weight exceeds the limit.

Type, Amount and Location of Ballast

Ballast can be added to a tractor in a variety of ways. Adding fluid as a calcium chloride solution to the drive tires is less expensive than casting, and most tire manuals will list the added ballast for a 75% fill. Dual tires can add a significant amount of weight to a tractor.

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Ballast, Field Speed, and Slip

Too much ballast can cause power loss due to increased rolling resistance, soil compaction, and high mechanical loading on axles, bearings, and the drive train. What is the correct drive wheel ballast? One that results in optimal slip for the soil conditions.

Additional Resources

Introduction to Energy-Efficient Tractor and Field Operations, Tips on Optimizing Wheel Slip to Save Fuel, and How to Use a Smart Tractor for Energy Efficient Driving are all included in a new publication from Iowa State Extension that helps farmers save energy with tractor ballasting.


Researchers from Virginia Tech, North Dakota State University, and the University of Missouri collaborated on this study.

What is a ballast tractor used for?

Ballasting a tractor and controlling tire inflation pressures can improve traction, reduce compaction, extend the life of the tractor drivetrain, and boost productivity. Ballasting a tractor is an effective way to get the tractor’s power to the ground.

What is tractor ballasted weight?

Ballasting a tractor is the long-standing practice of adding weight to a machine for a variety of reasons, including counterweighting an implement, increasing traction, torque transfer, and more. Ballasts can be added in a variety of ways, including fluid in the tires, wheel weights, suitcase weights, ballast box, and more.

What are tractor wheel weights used for?

Tractors and combines have more power than their weight allows them to use, so adding weight to the tires and/or frame can improve traction and prevent wheel slippage, which can damage tires. Farmers can add weight to their tractor or combine in a few different ways.

What is a ballast truck?

Ballast is used to take weight off the front of your truck, add traction, and may be required to be used with certain plows due to their weight. Exceeding a truck’s recommended maximum GVWR creates an unsafe situation.

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What is the best ballast for tractor tires?

Rim Guard Beet Juice is the best tire ballast for all types of utility tractors, including new and antique farm tractors, front-end loaders, commercial back hoes, skid steers, all-terrain forklifts, road graders, compactors/rollers, and road graders.

Is a heavier tractor better?

The average weight of a utility farm tractor with 52 to 75 horsepower is 5,264 pounds, which means that a heavier tractor will have better traction and stability during demanding work.

What can I put in my tractor tires for weight?

A 31% mixture of calcium chloride is freeze resistant down to minus 58 F and weighs 11.3 pounds per gallon, making it a good option for getting the most weight on your tractor.

How do you weigh down the front of a tractor?

5 Ways To Make Your Tractor Counterbalance

  1. Suitcase Weights. Suitcase weights are a simple, effective way to counterbalance a tractor.
  2. Ballast Box. A ballast box is exactly what its name implies.
  3. Wheel Weights.
  4. Liquid Tire Ballast.

Why do tractors need front weights?

The front wheels come up because the tractor and implement are not properly balanced, and additional weight must be added to the front of the tractor to move the tractor’s center of gravity forward and balance it. The same problem can occur with a rear-mounted big bale mover on smaller tractors.

Should I ballast my tractor tires?

Ballasting improves your tool’s grip, which reduces slip, which means less soil damage, more working efficiency (shorter working times), and longer-lasting tractor tyres (less lug wear).

Should you fill your tractor tires?

Filling tractor tires with fluids, such as water, has three main benefits: it improves rear tire traction, lowers the center of gravity, and prevents the rear tires from lifting off the ground when lifting heavy objects or adding bucket loaders and other accessories to the front-end of the tractor.

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Should you load tractor tires?

Foam filling tractor tires is a viable option, but it’s an expensive one with some inconvenient drawbacks: you’ll have to cut the tire off the wheel or buy new wheels when you need to change tires, so foam new or nearly new tires to get the longest tread life.

What is prime mover truck?

What is a Prime Mover? A prime mover (also known as a “puller vehicle”) is a vehicle with a powerful engine that can haul bulky towed or trailered loads. Prime Movers are also known as “puller vehicles” (e.g. heavy-duty trucks).

What happened to Hayes trucks?

Hayes was sold to a subsidiary of Pacific Car and Foundry of Seattle, a manufacturer of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks, in 1975, and the new owner closed the company permanently a year later, marking the end of the line for Hayes trucks and Canadian trucks built on the west coast after 56 years.

How can I put weight on my truck bed?

Sandbags are the safest way to add weight to a truck bed for traction, as cement blocks, for example, can become flying hazards in the event of a collision and damage the pick-up’s bed.

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