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.
7. Tracks are better than tires for reducing soil compaction.
Answer: False. Tracks and properly inflated tires carrying the same load cause a similar amount of compaction, Reeder says.
One Ohio research project compared a half-track on a combine with several tire sizes and pressures. The average ground pressure under the track was around 10 psi, but it created soil compaction similar to tires inflated at 26-34 psi, Reeder says. Why? Pressure under the flexible track is not uniform, peaking under the front and rear axles, he explains.
In another Ohio study, dual tires correctly inflated to 6 psi resulted in slightly less compaction than tracks with an average pressure of about 6 psi. But the same duals over-inflated to 24 psi caused significantly more compaction than the tracks. Tracks do have some advantages over tires, Reeder adds, such as a longer, narrower contact area and less slippage. Tracks also have excellent flotation and no “power hop,” DeJong-Hughes says.