What is in this article?:
- How To Avoid Soil Compaction: True, False Q&A
- 2. Topsoil and subsoil compaction have different effects on yield.
- 3. Freeze-thaw cycles alleviate soil compaction caused by machinery.
- 4. Clay soils are more easily compacted than coarser soils.
- 5. No-till soils resist compaction better than tilled soils.
- 6. Limiting axle loads is the key to avoiding subsoil compaction.
- 7. Tracks are better than tires for reducing soil compaction.
- 8. Deep tillage corrects the harmful effects of compaction.
- 9. You need ‘steel’ to alleviate compaction.
- 10. Lowering tire inflation pressure reduces surface compaction.
- QUIZ: Assess your soil compaction risk
Soil compaction is invisible, but its effects are clear to see: cloddy soil, delayed crop emergence, restricted root growth, stunted plants, low water infiltration, poor nutrient uptake and lost yield.
And reduced production isn’t the only penalty. Soil compaction also harms the environment, leading to more runoff and soil erosion.
The threat of soil compaction is far greater today than in the past because of the increasing size and weight of farm equipment. Although the risk of new compaction is low when the soil is very dry – as it is in much of the Corn Belt – existing compaction makes crops more vulnerable to damage by drought.
5. No-till soils resist compaction better than tilled soils.
Answer: True. No-till soils have better structure, higher organic matter content and greater biological activity than tilled soils, which makes them more resistant to compaction, Duiker says. However, “compaction can still have significant negative effects on the productivity of no-till soils.” In a Pennsylvania study, for example, no-till soil was compacted by a 30-ton manure truck with tires inflated to 100 psi. Corn yields fell by 30 bu./acre in a dry year and 20 bu./acre in a wet year, compared to yields in un-compacted no-till fields.
In Ohio State University’s continuing compaction research, annual subsoiling is being compared to continuous no-till. The plots have been compacted every three years since 2002. In the compacted plots (20-ton/axle load), no-till corn yields averaged 7% higher than subsoiled treatments, and soybean yields were 5% higher. The uncompacted control plots – no-till, only light traffic – yielded about 10% better than no-till compacted plots.