Vulnerability of Bavarian silty loam soil to compaction under heavy wheel traffic: Impacts of tillage method and soil water content

H. Güçlü Yavuzcan, Dietmar Matthies, Hermann Auernhammer

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41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Soil compaction caused by traffic of heavy vehicles and machinery has become a problem of world-wide concern. The aims of this study were to evaluate and compare the changes in bulk density, soil strength, porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity and air permeability during sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) harvesting on a typical Bavarian soil (Regosol) as well as to assess the most appropriate variable factors that fit with the effective controlling of subsequent compaction. The field experiments, measurements and laboratory testing were carried out in Freising, Germany. Two tillage systems (conventional plough tillage and reduced chisel tillage) were used in the experiments. The soil water contents were adjusted to 0.17 g g-1 (w1), 0.27 g g -1 (w2) and 0.35 g g-1 (w3). Taking the increase in bulk density, the decrease in air permeability and reduction of wide coarse pore size porosity (-6 kPa) into account, it seems that CT (ploughing to a depth of 0.25 m followed by two passes of rotary harrow to a depth 0.05 m) of plots were compacted to a depth of at least 0.25 m and at most 0.40 m in high soil water (w3) conditions. The trends were similar for "CT w1" (low soil water content) plots. However, it seems that "CT w1" plots were less affected than "CT w3" plots with regard to bulk density increases under partial load. In contrast, diminishments of wide coarse pores (-6 kPa) and narrow (tight) coarse pores (-30 kPa) were significantly higher in "CT w1" plots down to 0.4 m. Among CT plots, the best physical properties were obtained at medium soil water (w2) content. No significant increase in bulk density and no significant decrease in coarse pore size porosity and total porosity below 0.2 m were observed at medium soil water content. The soil water content seemed to be the most decisive factor. It is likely that, CS (chiselling to a depth of 0.13 m followed by two passes of rotary harrow to a depth 0.05 m) plots were less affected by traffic treatments than CT plots. Considering the proportion of coarse pore size porosity (structural porosity) and total porosity, no compaction effects below 0.3 m were found. Medium soil water content (w2) provides better soil conditions after traffic with regard to wide coarse pore size porosity (-6 kPa), air permeability (at 6 and 30 kPa water suction), total porosity and bulk density. Proportion of wide coarse pores, air permeability and bulk density seems to be suitable parameters to detect soil compaction under the conditions tested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-215
Number of pages16
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Keywords

  • Soil compaction
  • Soil properties
  • Soil water content
  • Sugar beet harvester
  • Tillage system

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