Controlled traffic farming restores soil structure

Article


McHugh, A. D., Tullberg, J. N. and Freebairn, D. M.. 2009. "Controlled traffic farming restores soil structure." Soil and Tillage Research. 104 (1), pp. 164-172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2008.10.010
Article Title

Controlled traffic farming restores soil structure

ERA Journal ID5270
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMcHugh, A. D. (Author), Tullberg, J. N. (Author) and Freebairn, D. M. (Author)
Journal TitleSoil and Tillage Research
Journal Citation104 (1), pp. 164-172
Number of Pages9
Year2009
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
ISSN0167-1987
0933-3630
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2008.10.010
Web Address (URL)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167198708001992#
Abstract

Soil structural degradation is widespread in cropping lands and efforts to restore deteriorated soil structure very often fail, largely as a result of unchanged tillage and traffic practises. Significant reductions in biological activity in the soil environment occur where random traffic is practiced, limiting the regenerative capacity of soils. This study assessed the changes in soil structure after random field wheeling was replaced with controlled traffic through four cropping seasons. The rate and depth of soil amelioration by natural processes was assessed by changes in, soil water retention characteristics, macroporosity and bulk density. Soil moisture characteristics indicated that the available water capacity (AWC) was 10.2 mm per 100 mm depth of soil before restoration. Amelioration of the soil matrix increased AWC to 15.4 mm per 100 mm depth of soil. Macropore density improved from very marginal conditions by 50% at 100 mm and 27% at 300 mm depths. Bulk density prior to restoration was ∼1.40 g cm-3, which was typical for a degraded vertosol, however values improved significantly to 1.25 g cm-3 at 100 mm depths, with deeper zones improving to 1.30 g cm-3. Zero till, controlled traffic, permanent bed farming offers opportunities for restoration of physically degraded vertosols and therefore, for improving the productivity and sustainability of mechanised farming.

Keywordsamelioration; available water capacity; bulk density; compaction; controlled traffic; permanent beds; zero tillage; macropore density; Vertosol
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020370901. Geomorphology and earth surface processes
410601. Land capability and soil productivity
300202. Agricultural land management
Public Notes

© 2008 Elsevier B.V. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Department of Natural Resources and Water, Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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