Soil compaction can play an unwanted challenge for farmers as heavily compacted soils have a reduced rate of both water infiltration and drainage.
With farm equipment getting larger, it also gets heavier.
Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Regional Crop Specialist John Ippolito says a lot of producers when they think about soil compaction they think only about the top 3 to 5 inches but it goes much deeper than that:
"There's research dating back as far as the 50's that would indicate once we start getting axle weights over 10,000 lbs, we could get compaction as far down in the soil as 18-24 inches," he said.
The Regional Crop Specialist also discusses some options that can help.
"Some people are moving to tracked implements to try and spread out the footprint. Even things as simple as maintaining the appropriate tire pressure in the tires does help us somewhat with compaction," he said.
One technique that has helped farmers in Australia is controlled traffic farming where all the implements are run in the same tire tracks minimizing compaction throughout the field.
Some farmers in Alberta are also trying it.