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Soil physical effects of sugar beet harvest and slurry spreading on reglularly managed fields

  • Autor/in: Koch, H.-J., R. Brandhuber, N. Stockfisch, L. Schäfer-Landefeld
  • Jahr: 2003
  • Zeitschrift: Proc. 1. joint IIRB-ASSBT-Congress
  • Verlag: San Antonio
  • Seite/n: 755-761
Gefunden in Abteilung Pflanzenbau


In a field study, conducted on ten conventionally managed field sites in Germany, the effects of high axle loads (15 to 25 t) on soil physical properties were investigated. Soil texture classes ranged from loamy sand to silty clay loam. All sites were annually ploughed, one site was additionally subsoiled to 40 cm depth. In the context of common field operations either a sugar beet harvester (45 t total mass, 1.13 bar average contact pressure) or a slurry spreader (30 t total mass, 0.77 bar average contact pressure) was driven over the soils. Soil moisture conditions varied from 3.2 kPa to 32 kPa water tension during this pass. Penetration resistance was measured before the pass. Soil cores were collected in a grid scheme at each site before and after the machine was driven over the site. Bulk density, aggregate density, air filled porosity and air permeability at seven distinct soil water tensions ranging from 0.1 kPa to 32 kPa were determined in these cores at three layers (topsoil, plough pan and subsoil). At most sites, a machine pass strongly affected topsoil properties. Bulk density and aggregate density increased while air filled porosity and air permeability decreased. The plough pan was already severely compacted before wheeling: therefore changes were small. The subsoil showed no changes or only minor signs of compaction. Only at the deeply fissured site, significant signs of compaction (i.e. changes in bulk density, air filled porosity and air permeability) were detected in subsoil layers. Our results show that using present-day heavy agricultural equipment does not necessarily lead to severe subsoil compaction. However, deeply fissured soils with an unstable subsoil structure are in serious danger of becoming severely compacted.
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