Latest News on Soil Compaction Research: Dec – 2019

Soil Compaction and Root Growth: A Review

Adverse effects of soil compaction on crop production are recognized for several years. The objectives of this report were to briefly review the first literature, review the contributions of Dr. Howard M. Taylor (1924−1991) and associates, examine the present status of soil compaction and root growth research, and identify research needs associated with soil compaction and root growth. Early in his career, Dr. Taylor and associates established relationships among soil strength, soil water content, and seedling emergence and root growth. These studies showed that root growth and distribution were altered to the purpose that water and nutrient uptake, and, hence, plant growth and yield, were reduced when soil strength reached critical levels thanks to natural or induced compaction. That research formed the idea for our current knowledge concerning the consequences of compaction on root growth and therefore the alleviation of compaction through soil and tillage management. [1]

Soil Compaction Problems in World Agriculture

There is widespread evidence for the prevalence of problems in crop production which are due to soil compaction caused by the passage of vehicles, implements and draft animals. Agricultural, horticultural and forestry crops are known to experience these problems in both temperate and tropical regions.

Soil compaction problems were experienced in commercial production long before any coherent research was undertaken on this subject. During the first a part of the 19th century, draft animals were observed to cause soil compaction during cultivation, while during the last half of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries the utilization of steam engines for cultivation was amid excessive compaction, unless cable traction was employed or soils were extremely dry. The introduction of the interior combustion engine for little tractors didn’t initially cause widespread compaction problems but by the center of the 20th century, and particularly during the past 30 years, mechanization has advanced to such a scale and intensity that compaction problems became of worldwide importance. [2]

Soil compaction and soil management – a review

Soil compaction is a crucial component of the land degradation syndrome which is a problem for soil management throughout the planet. it’s an extended standing phenomenon not only related to agriculture but also with forest harvesting, amenity land use, pipeline installation, land restoration and wildlife trampling. This review concentrates on the impact of soil compaction on practical soil management issues, a neighborhood not previously reviewed. It discusses within the context of the present situation, the causes, identification, effects and alleviation of compaction. The principal causes are when compressive forces derived from wheels, tillage machinery and from the trampling of animals, act on compressible soil. Compact soils also can be found under natural conditions without human or animal involvement. Compaction alters many soil properties and adverse effects are mostly linked to a discount in permeability to air, water and roots. Many methods are often wont to measure the changes. [3]

Chemical treatment of soil alleviates effects of soil compaction on pea seedling growth

HIGH mechanical resistance of soils, associated with present hard pans, or to compaction by machinery and untimely cultivation1–3, often reduces crop yields through poor development of root systems1,4–6. within the laboratory, progressive increases in mechanical resistance of the expansion medium cause reduced root elongation7–9, stunting and thickening of root systems3,10 and reduced shoot growth11. Loosening of subsoil within the field can reduce compaction, increase aeration and waterholding capacity of the soil and improve the distribution of obtainable water1. Roots can then penetrate to greater depths and crop yields often increase1,12,13. [4]

A Review of Soil Compaction- Concerns, Causes and Alleviation

Soil compaction is a crucial soil management issue of the sustainable agriculture throughout the planet. High weight of tractors and farm machineries increases the priority about the soil compaction. This review act as a guide for farm persons on the negative impact of soil compaction on crops causes and soil management practices and methods for alleviation of compaction with decreasing the danger of more extensive compaction damage within the future. Compaction changes many soil properties and negative effects are associated with a decrease in permeability to air and water in root zone of crops. This results into decreased crop production and increased draft of tillage operations. the main causes of the soil compaction are use of heavy machinery traffic, performing same farm operations on the sector, poor crop diversification and time restrictions within the crop cycle. [5]


[1] Unger, P.W. and Kaspar, T.C., 1994. Soil compaction and root growth: a review. Agronomy Journal, 86(5), (Web Link)

[2] Soane, B.D. and Van Ouwerkerk, C., 1994. Soil compaction problems in world agriculture. In Developments in agricultural engineering (Vol. 11, pp. 1-21). Elsevier. (Web Link)

[3] Batey, T., 2009. Soil compaction and soil management–a review. Soil use and management, 25(4), (Web Link)

[4] Chemical treatment of soil alleviates effects of soil compaction on pea seedling growth
Nature volume 259, (Web Link)

[5] Kumar, V., Jain, M., Rani, V., Kumar, A., Kumar, S. and ., N. (2018) “A Review of Soil Compaction- Concerns, Causes and Alleviation”, International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, 22(4), (Web Link)


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