Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 7, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Conservation tillage has various effects on the physical properties of soil. These effects come about not so much because of what is done to the soil, but rather what is not done. A given soil, left solely to the forces of nature, will seek a quasi-equilibrium physical condition. A soil that is relatively dense will tend to become less dense over time; a loose soil will tend to consolidate over time. Tillage generally disrupts that process, both negatively and positively. Closely related, but generally ignored, are the positive and negative effects of wheel traffic on soil physical conditions. These compactive forces, while generally thought to be harmful for root growth, may improve trafficability properties. Depending on the tillage and crop, this wheel traffic may also bring about beneficial effects on root growth patterns. This paper will discuss ways in which tillage and wheel traffic interact, and how a knowledge of these interactions can be used by farm managers and agronomists to sustain crop production while maintaining the quality of surface and ground water.