Bridgestone Rolls Soy into Tractor Tire
First, it was soy biodiesel fuel. Then came soy-plastic body panels. Now, it’s soy-based tires. It seems the tractors, sprayers and combines that U.S. farmers use to grow soybeans contain more and more of that versatile and beneficial crop.
Bridgestone Americas Inc. recently announced that it is testing a tractor tire that contains 10 percent soybean oil. Each 900-pound tire contains about 90 pounds of U.S. soy oil – or the oil from about eight bushels of U.S. soybeans. That’s enough to completely replace the petroleum-based oils in the tires, according to the company.
“Bridgestone has sustainability goals and objectives to be as environmentally friendly as we can,” says Tom Rodgers, director of sales and marketing for Bridgestone. “We have a lot going on, and this is just one of the examples. We put two and two together, and making ag tires out of soybeans is a natural fit to start some of those efforts.”
The company says the first soy-based tires could hit the market early next year. And it aims to be using soy in its entire line of agricultural tires by the end of 2013.
Bridgestone coordinated with the United Soybean Board (USB) New Uses program and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA). USB New Uses Chair Russ Carpenter says using U.S. soy in farm machinery makes a lot of sense. USB and ISA support research and development of soy-based consumer and industrial products to increase demand for U.S. soybeans.
“This is a great opportunity for soybean farmers to partner with industry to use soy in another ag product – what a great combination,” says Carpenter, who grows soybeans, corn and hay on his farm in south-central New York. “Farmers like to use products made from our crops, and once farmers know those products are out there, they’ll be more likely to use them.”