Pre­vent soil com­pres­sion and pre­serve soil fer­til­i­ty

Soil – the basis for food, habi­tat for plants, ani­mals and soil organ­isms, and a nat­ur­al store­house for water, nutri­ents and car­bon – is a scarce resource and forms the foun­da­tion of agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion. Soil con­di­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly influ­ences plant growth. This growth is reduced, for exam­ple, by soil com­pres­sion when the pores of the upper lay­ers of the soil that car­ry water and air are com­pressed, thus imped­ing root growth and crop pro­duc­tion. Uncom­pressed soils with cor­re­spond­ing top­soils are thus the basis for the prof­itabil­i­ty of agri­cul­tur­al busi­ness­es.

In con­trast, the pore vol­ume in the soil increas­es, for exam­ple, through the activ­i­ty of earth­worms, which pro­motes the exchange of gas­es and increas­es the soil’s per­me­abil­i­ty and water absorp­tion capac­i­ty. In this way, earth­worms con­tribute to improv­ing soil fer­til­i­ty and pro­tect­ing against soil ero­sion and flood­ing. How­ev­er, the pres­ence of earth­worms in arable areas is depen­dent on organ­ic sub­stances in the soil and on soil den­si­ty. Earth­worms are also sen­si­tive to vibra­tion, such as the ground tremors caused by var­i­ous soil pro­cess­ing activ­i­ties.

Soil com­pres­sion occurs when the weight of (agri­cul­tur­al) vehi­cles exceeds the load capac­i­ty of the soils to be tilled. In prin­ci­ple, com­pres­sion may occur on all soil types, although fer­tile loes­sial soils and loams have a high­er tol­er­ance and hard­ly any loss of yield occurs. In addi­tion, sus­tain­able man­age­ment meth­ods and till­ing tech­niques are gen­er­al­ly used in agri­cul­ture, irre­spec­tive of the soil type. Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty can also be improved by means of fer­til­i­sa­tion adapt­ed to the site and plants and through sus­tain­able soil use.

tractor tilling

Sus­tain­able till­ing to pre­vent soil com­pres­sion

It is essen­tial to till the soil as gen­tly as pos­si­ble so that it remains healthy. Con­ser­va­tion-ori­ent­ed till­ing main­tains the soil struc­ture and is now in wide­spread use. Fur­ther poten­tial is cre­at­ed by exten­sive crop rota­tion with mulch and nurse crops, togeth­er with the cul­ti­va­tion of catch crops. Suf­fi­cient cal­ci­um sup­ply is also impor­tant. In addi­tion, tyre pres­sure, wheel load, wheel slip and the num­ber of pass­es over the fields are also impor­tant when dri­ving on the soil.

The first pass has the great­est effect on the soil. You should also avoid dri­ving on the soil when it is wet or damp. In addi­tion, tracks lead­ing down­hill increase the risk of water ero­sion. There are a large num­ber of radi­al tyres already avail­able on the mar­ket to help with this prob­lem. These allow you to dri­ve on the field with low tyre pres­sure. They per­mit a high load capac­i­ty at low speed, with large sur­face con­tact at the same time. If you dri­ve fre­quent­ly between the field and the road, a tyre pres­sure con­trol sys­tem may also be help­ful.

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Agro­Pres­sure by Miche­lin

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