The status quo survey on soil compaction and soil structure damage in Germany and strategies to reduce and avoid them has shown that soil compaction is still an extremely topical issue in agricultural land use.
In 2019, about half (50.8 %) of Germany's land area will be used for agriculture. Of this, 11.7 million hectares were arable land, which corresponds to 70.3 % of the agricultural area (Federal Statistical Office, 2019). No nationwide measurement results are available on the extent and development of compaction. From the federal states, there are only selective measurements and structural investigations. Prevention of soil compaction is of fundamental importance for soil protection.
With agricultural machinery becoming ever larger and heavier, in combination with intensive use of the soil and intensification of agriculture, the importance of soil compaction increases. Harmful soil compaction can occur when when heavy machinery drive on arable land under unfavourable and wet conditions. Under these circumstances, the soil has less bearing capacity. Harmful soil compaction can have a considerable impact on soil functions, as these are usually linked to the properties of the pore system. As a result of cultivation-related harmful compaction, water and air permeability may be disturbed, crops may not develop optimally and precipitation may not seep into the soil but run off on the surface. Harmful soil compaction also impairs the habitat function of the soil and has a negative effect on various soil organisms, such as earthworms. Subsoil compaction in particular is serious because it's nearly persistent.