“The best way to avoid soil compaction is to use controlled traffic.”
“You want a long, skinny footprint – not a short, fat footprint.”
Problems with farming that can cause soil compaction…
Field equipment is getting bigger/heavier
Overuse of a disc
Crop rotations not used
Planting too early on wet soils
Definition: Soil compaction is the squeezing of together of soil particles, reducing the space available
for air and water.
–Excessive tillage, ultimately causing field operations on wet soils
–Traffic induced- caused by following the same field patterns year after year.
–Under good weather conditions, natural freezing and thawing can help fix compaction.
–Caused by extremely high levels of carbonates in soils.
–High levels of sodium also contribute.
ROOT GROWN IN COMPACTED SOIL
1) Medium textured soils most likely to compact
–Indiana has large amount, such as silt loam
2) Harder to penetrate with tillage equipment
3) Lower crop yield
4) Higher bulk density, less porosity
5) Greater water run off
–Water has a harder time moving down into soil, leaves as runoff
6) Greater soil erosion
–Accumulated water carries soil/pesticides with it
•Avoid wheel traffic
•Minimize tractor weight
•Keep tires properly inflated
•Combine field operations
•Use correct tire size or tracks
•Spot grain trucks in the same place to minimize compaction area
•Make sure soil is in proper condition to be worked
•Vary the depth of tillage from year to year
•When ripping, be sure to rip past the compaction point
•Make sure to have all shovels, knives and points on your implement
•Keep equipment sharp