ISSN 1392-3196
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 100, No. 1 (2013), p. 33–38
UDK  631.431.73:633.2.033 / DOI 10.13080/z-a.2013.100.005

Soil compaction in a Cambisol under grassland in Estonia

Kadri KREBSTEIN, Katrin von JANOWSKY, Endla REINTAM, Rainer HORN, Janar LEEDUKS, Jaan KUHT


In soil compaction research, more attention has been given to arable land than to grasslands. Our objective was to investigate the effect of agricultural machinery on the physical and mechanical properties of soil under intensively cut lucerne (Medicago sativa L.). A field experiment was conducted in South Estonia, near the city of Tartu, on a second-year mainly lucerne field on a sandy loam Calcaric Cambisol (CMca). After the third silage cut, soil properties were measured in the wheel traffic lanes (compacted) and between the traffic lanes (uncompacted). Our results showed that wheeling significantly affected the soil structure. Soil compaction increased soil bulk density (BD) by 0.19 g cm-3 at 5 cm depth and by 0.14 g cm-3 at 10 cm depth. Soil compaction also affected the pore distribution: soil air capacity (AC) in compacted soil at 5 and 10 cm depth was significantly (more than 10 vol. %) lower than in uncompacted soil, and plant-available water (PAW) increased at 10 and 20 cm depth but decreased at 5 cm depth. Air conductivity (ka) and saturated hydraulic conductivity (ks) decreased significantly at 5 and 10 cm depth. Soil precompression stress (Pc) was lower in the uncompacted area: soil compaction increased Pc by 60 kPa at 5 cm depth and by 30 kPa at 10 cm depth. Cohesion was greater in the compacted area than in the uncompacted area (mean difference 10 kPa). This study clearly indicates that soil compaction is a problem for grasslands.

Key words: air conductivity, bulk density, cohesion, grassland, hydraulic conductivity, precompression stress, soil compaction.

Full text: 100_1_str5.pdf