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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Long-Term Subsoil Compaction Effects on Maize Yield in North America

item Voorhees, Ward

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 4, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Large, heavy field equipment can cause subsoil compaction. This paper summarizes field experiments in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Quebec in which corn (Zea mays L.) yields were measured on plots subjected to wheel traffic carrying loads ranging from 7- 18 Mg/axle. Soil texture varied from silt loam to clay. Long term average annual precipitation ranged from 955 mm in nQuebec to 650 mm in Minnesota. High axle load wheel traffic altered soil physical properties to at least 0.6 m deep. Depending on location, significant reductions in corn yield (up to 55%) were measured the first growing season after heavy wheel traffic. Natural forces (freezing and thawing, wetting and drying) did not completely ameliorate subsoil compaction. Long-term residual subsoil compaction decreased corn yield for up to 11 years, the magnitude of which depended on soil type and climatic factors. Fields subjected to annual heavy wheel traffic may suffer a permanent corn yield reduction.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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