Soil Structure and Compaction
This presentation will help consultants, producers, and other practitioners in the Corn Belt and High Plains to improve their soil structure and decrease compaction. A
well-structured soil has stable aggregates and many forms of biological life. There are pore spaces between the aggregates through which roots can penetrate and air and water can pass. Compaction is the loss of these pore spaces and that space
“re-appears” either as a reduced soil surface height or as wheel tracks (ruts), resulting in a denser soil profile. Tillage breaks up existing soil structure and reduces soil biological life, making soil more susceptible to compaction as discussed in Part 1. Without soil structure, wheel traffic can more easily cause compaction, often with ruts to the depth of tillage. Duals, wide tires, front wheel assist, multiple axles, tracks, and other ways of reducing wheel traffic compaction are discussed in Part 2.