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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 52 No. 1, p. 233-236
    Received: Apr 30, 1987

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Soil Compaction and its Effect on Alfalfa in Zone Production Systems1

  1. B. D. Meek *,
  2. E. A. Rechel,
  3. L. M. Carter and
  4. W. R. DeTar
  1. U.S. Cotton Res. Stn., USDA-ARS, 17053 Shafter Avenue, Shafter, CA 93263



Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) was grown under two zone production systems (no harvest traffic) (i) preplant compaction and (ii) no preplant compaction and compared to two systems where traffic was applied (i) to 100% of the area during each harvest and (ii) to lanes simulating the traffic a grower would apply during harvest. The experiment was done in a semiarid area under irrigation on a Wasco sandy loam (coarse-loamy, mixed, nonacid, thermic Xeric Torriorthent), which is easily compacted. Without traffic the soil settled to a bulk density of 1.6 to 1.70 Mg m−3. Traffic increased the bulk density to the 1.8 to 1.9 Mg m−3 range. Increases in bulk density at the 0.05- and 0.15-m depths occurred only during the first five passes of traffic, but 10 passes were required to reach a stable bulk density at depths of 0.25 to 0.5 m. Traffic similar to what a grower would apply reduced yields by 10% compared with no traffic. Compacting 100% of the soil surface after each harvest reduced yields 17% compared with no traffic.

1 Mention of a trademark product does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the USDA, and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable.

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