Response of Winter Cover Crops to Soil Compaction1
- W. J. Flocker,
- J. A. Vomocil and
- M. T. Vittum2
Some soils can be easily compacted as a result of their structural and textural composition. Observations indicate that soils of the Yolo series can be compacted markedly with sufficient manipulation and pressure. Operating a tractor and a loaded jeep over this field changed bulk density of the surface soil from 1.22 to 1.58.
The effect of this compaction manifested itself in lowered infiltration rates, increased cloddiness, increased clod density, increased cohesion of the clods, and reduced stands and yields of cover crops. The increased cloddiness adds greatly to the cost of tillage operations, especially when a fine seedbed is required for small-seeded crops.
In the present experiment, sod grasses reduced soil moisture nearer to the optimum for tillage than did the other crops, and did so more rapidly. Purple vetch was almost as effective at the greatest depth, but this legume did not improve infiltration of water into the soil. Sod grasses, on the other hand, permitted the highest infiltration rate. Further investigation is needed of the effect of added organic matter on degree of cloddiness, clod density, cohesion of clods, and improvement of soil structure in general.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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