Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #166672


item Raper, Randy
item Reeves, Donald

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/2004
Publication Date: 10/11/2004
Citation: Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Reducing soil compaction with in-row subsoiling and controlled traffic. In: Proceedings of Session IV of the 2004 CIGR International Conference, October 11-14, 2004, Beijing, China. p.69-78.

Interpretive Summary: As many producers move into conservation tillage systems with reduced surface tillage and the capability of reducing their vehicle traffic, many wonder about their need to continue to conduct deep tillage in Coastal Plains soils. An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of vehicle traffic, surface tillage, and deep tillage on soil properties. Results showed that the negative compactive effects of vehicle traffic beside the row was mitigated by the practice of annual in-row subsoiling. Producers with this soil type who want to enhance their soil condition for optimum productivity should develop a conservation management system that limits random vehicle traffic and uses annual in-row subsoiling.

Technical Abstract: Soil compaction is an acute problem in the southeastern United States requiring periodic subsoiling to remove densely compacted soil. Controlling vehicle traffic is one method for reducing the negative effects of vehicle traffic in this region. A Wide Frame Tractive Vehicle (WFTV) was developed and used to prevent traffic on a 6.1-m wide growing zone. The objective of this study was to determine the differences in soil bulk density and cone index resulting from the interactions of surface tillage, subsoiling and elimination of traffic in a long-term corn-soybean cropping system experiment in a Coastal Plains soil in the southeastern U.S. Subsoiling treatments investigated included: no-subsoiling, annual in-row subsoiling, and initial complete subsoiling and were conducted using either no-tillage or surface tillage systems. Soil measurements were taken after the plots had been in existence for five years. Bulk density and cone index measurements were taken at three positions in the plots: the trafficked row middle, the in-row position, and the non-trafficked row middle. Vehicle traffic increased soil bulk density at all depths and all row positions. The greatest increase occurred in the trafficked row position where vehicle traffic was directly applied. No-subsoiling had higher bulk density and cone index values as compared to initial subsoiling or annual subsoiling. Annual subsoiling reduced bulk density and cone index values and provided the greatest benefits in row positions that were the greatest distance away from the point of vehicle traffic. A management system that limits random vehicle traffic and uses annual in-row subsoiling maintains optimum growing conditions for Coastal Plains soils.