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Modeling of Field Traffic Intensity and Soil Compaction Risks in Agricultural Landscapes (2022)

Duttmann R., Augustin K., Brunotte J., Kuhwald M.

In: Saljnikov E., Mueller L., Lavrishchev A., Eulenstein F. (eds) Advances in Understanding Soil Degradation., (), 313-331



To mitigate the harmful effects of heavy vehicle traffic and high wheeling frequency knowledge about the susceptibility of a soil against soil compaction is indispensable. Given the highly variable nature of the load bearing capacity of a soil throughout a year, this paper presents a multidimensional approach to assess soil compaction risk at the field scale, considering the spatio-temporal changes in soil strengths on the one hand side and the machinery-induced load and stress inputs on the other. At the example of two newly developed models, the field traffic model FiTraM and the spatially explicit soil compaction risk assessment model SaSCiA, this study assesses the actual soil compaction risk resulting from real field traffic activities during a complete season of silage maize cropping. For this purpose, we used GPS data recorded by all farm vehicles involved in tillage, spraying, and harvesting processes. GPS signal data served for the mapping of wheeling intensity and the calculation of the spatially distributed inputs of changing wheel load and contact area stress. These data were subsequently used for soil compaction risk modeling based upon readily available soil and weather data. Our model results indicate that nearly 95% of a field has been wheeled throughout the season, where harvest traffic at higher load contributes to more than the half of the totally wheeled area. Coupling the two models FiTraM and SaSCiA allows for estimating the spatially distributed soil compaction risk in the topsoil and the subsoil considering the single field operations. The results show that soil compaction risk varies greatly within individual fields. Thus, the need for analyzing and monitoring the effects of farm traffic on soil compaction at high spatial and temporal becomes obvious in order to sustain the diverse functions of soils.