Closed Loop 4. Soil Compaction


Less compacted soils manage water, gas exchange better and grow better crops with less disease

Probably over 80 % of cultivation is necessary because of previous farm traffic. So get the traffic off the field.  Easier said than done but any move in that direction will help.  Zero traffic systems based on gantries are the only real way of avoiding the compaction but do not fit the scale we now operate on.  Tramlines were a great step forward.  Now, leave the grain trailers on the headland and run the combine in headlands and empty at the headland. The disadvantage is loss of time unloading but that may be good for drivers and is certainly good for soil compaction.  Alternatively, specify tracks for the combine.  Best, do both.   The bottom line is increasing soil organic matter which will make the soil increasingly resilient to compaction. It is a question of getting onto an upward spiral rather than a downward trend to led organic matter and higher power inputs.

The Sustainability blog by Bill Butterworth,

Land Research Ltd, 23 September 2016