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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 6, p. 976-979
    Received: Mar 19, 1976

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Soybean Nodulation as Affected by Wheel Traffic1

  1. W. B. Voorhees,
  2. V. A. Carlson and
  3. C. G. Senst2



A significant quantity of nitrogen is made potentially available for plant uptake through symbiotic fixation in the nodules of legume roots. Several aspects of soil environment that can affect the formation and development of these nodules can be altered by soil being compacted by farm vehicular wheel traffic. Field experiments were conducted on a Nicollet silty clay loam (Aquic Hapludoll) to define the extent to which wheel traffic can affect nodulation on roots of soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr. ‘Corsoy’]. Wheel traffic of tractors and implements during normal field operations for soybean culture in the northern Corn Belt was controlled to produce soybean rows with no wheel traffic on either side, and wheel traffic on only one or both sides. Measurements of nodule number and mass from undisturbed soil monoliths showed that rows with wheel traffic on both sides had from 20 to 30% fewer nodules and about 36% less total nodule mass than rows with wheel traffic on only one side. Wheel traffic increased the specific nodule mass in both the tracked interrow area and the adjacent nontracked row area. Nontracked interrows had a greater percentage of nodule mass in the upper 30 cm than did wheel tracked interrows. Thus, by controlling the wheel traffic of normal farming operations, the quantity and distribution of nodules can be altered in ways which have implications for increasing nitrogen fixation.

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