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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL & WATER MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

Load Risks of Subsoil Compaction and Depths of Stress Propagation in Arable Luvisols


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 5, p. 1733-1742
    Received: Sept 5, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): a.zink@soils.uni-kiel.de
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  1. Alexander Zink *,
  2. Heiner Fleige and
  3. Rainer Horn
  1. Christian-Albrechts-Univ. Kiel, Inst. for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Hermann-Rodewaldstr.2, D-24118 Kiel, Germany


The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of (i) wheel load (3.3, 6.3, and 7.5 Mg), (ii) tire inflation pressure, and (iii) tillage treatment (conventional vs. conservation) on stress propagation in Luvisols derived from loess and glacial till and to assess the compressibility risk of these soils under different stress situations. Stress and its distribution in the soil were determined with wheel track experiments using a tractor-pulled load frame and stress-state transducer stress sensors. The soil stability with respect to the soil mechanical parameter precompression stress (Pc, −6 kPa) was analyzed on undisturbed soil samples using the oedometer test. Wheel track experiments pointed out no significant differences in stress distribution between the two parent materials and higher stress (σ1) with heavier wheel load, whereby σ1 more than doubled with a load increase from 3.3 to 7.5 Mg. Conservation tillage showed a greater attenuation of σ1 and lower stress in the topsoil and subsoil (∼26%). A reduction in tire inflation pressure decreased σ1 in the topsoil for all loads. In the subsoil, σ1 decreased for 3.3- and 6.3-Mg loads, whereas the 7.5-Mg wheel load resulted in a trend of increasing stress and propagation into depth with lower inflation pressure. The ratio Pc/σ1 (the Pc concept), which specifies the transition between plastic and elastic deformation behavior of the soil, indicated that regardless of the tillage treatment, the stress of wheel loads >6.3 Mg exceeded the Pc of the Luvisols down into the subsoil.

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