Using a new research approach, we are investigating soil compaction together with farmers under realistic conditions from a scientific and socio-economic point of view.
Soil compaction has been studied for several decades in Germany and around the world. Most of them are specially designed trials that examine the effect of a particular machine on a precisely defined soil under special weather conditions. These tests provide important information about the elastic and plastic deformation of the soil at a defined load and defined soil condition. On the one hand, the effects on soil functions are derived from these tests and, on the other hand, recommendations for action to avoid or reduce soil compaction are developed on the basis of these results.
However, the results of these tests can only be transferred to other conditions (machine, soil, weather conditions) or to conditions that are not precisely documented, as they are in practice. Consequently, a statement on the extent, effects, and consequences of soil compaction under practical conditions is only possible to a limited extent. Furthermore, data on the possible economic effects of soil compaction as well as strategies and scope for action that are used in practice to protect the soil are missing for a socio-economic evaluation.
These information gaps were the motivation for us to start a new subproject in the second project phase. In close cooperation with farmers, soil compaction under practical conditions will be examined from both scientific and socio-economic perspectives.
The aim of the subproject is to investigate how and where soil compaction affects yield under real operating conditions. At the same time, the socio-economic drivers of soil compaction as well as possible strategies and scope of action of farmers will be recorded.