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Research article2020Peer reviewed

Measurements and simulations of compaction effects on the least limiting water range of a no-till Oxisol

de Lima, Renato P.; Keller, Thomas; Giarola, Neyde B. F.; Tormena, Cassio A.; da Silva, Anderson R.; Rolim, Mario M.


No-till has many environmental advantages, but concerns are growing about vehicle-induced topsoil compaction limiting crop growth. We performed a wheeling experiment in a long-term no-till field on an Oxisol with sandy loam texture. The objectives were to measure changes in soil bulk density and corresponding impacts on the least limiting water range (LLWR) due to passage of a maize harvester, and to compare bulk density and LLWR measurements with values simulated using the SoilFlex-LLWR soil compaction model. Soil cores were sampled before and after wheeling, for bulk density measurements and to determine LLWR. Simulated increase in bulk density due to vehicle wheeling agreed well with measurements. However, simulated LLWR and its decrease with compaction were inaccurate. This was ascribed to the pedo-transfer function used in SoilFlex-LLWR to estimate LLWR parameters, which was developed based on data from conventionally tilled sugarcane fields, whereas our site was a long-term no-till soil under a wheat/soybean-maize/black oats rotation. Our measurements showed that LLWR was strongly restricted by soil penetration resistance, which was not captured by the pedo-transfer function incorporated in SoilFlex-LLWR. For better prediction of LLWR, we recommend development of specific pedo-transfer functions or of mechanistic models that can be incorporated in SoilFlex-LLWR.


field traffic; plant-available water; soil stress; SoilFlex-LLWR

Published in

Soil Research
2020, Volume: 58, number: 1, pages: 62-72

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

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