Deterring compaction of soil by heavy machinery
AuthorS. K. Upadhyaya
Author AffiliationsS. K. Upadhyaya is Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis.
Hilgardia 46(4):19-20. DOI:10.3733/ca.v046n04p19. July 1992.
During the last four decades, capital-, chemical-, and energy-intensive agriculture has doubled farm production, while mechanization has reduced agricultural labor by a factor of three. These achievements are not without their problems. For instance, the use of heavy machinery often leads to soil compaction, which in turn is overcome by increasing inputs of energy, chemical fertilizers, and water. All of these practices have a negative bearing on agricultural sustainability.
Farmers can deter soil compaction by resorting to reduced tillage or no tillage, using high-flotation tires or steel or rubber-belted tracks on vehicles, or by using controlled-traffic, wide-span vehicles. Additional research could help pin down the right combination of deterrents.
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