Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 74, No 2 (2009)

Subsoil Compaction as a Climate Damage Indicator


Pages: 91-97


Some forms of soil compaction occur on arable lands both in Hungary (1.82 million ha) and in Croatia (0.97 million ha) having negative impacts on agricultural production. Tillage-induced subsoil compaction has oft en occurred in the Pannonian region in relation to traffic-induced compaction.
Soil compaction has become a soil management problem during the last decade as a result of the occurrence of periods of water-logging as well as droughts. This study contains an evaluation of factors relating to subsoil compaction, as indicator of climate effects on arable fields. This paper is based on soil condition monitoring and measuring that was started 32 years ago and on short and long-term experiments modeling and checking the extension of compaction in the soil. The survey comprised 1526 monitoring places and 38 experimental plots. The following five points were chosen for monitoring: 1) root zone state (to a depth of 0-60 cm); 2) occurrence of compacted layer (indicating likelihood of risk); 3) extension of the compacted layer (indicating the degree of damage); 4) long term effects of tillage (soil state deterioration or improvement), and 5) tillage-induced water-logging and drought damage impacts on yield loss. The main objectives of the experiments were: 1) occurrence and the extent of tillage-pan damage in soils of different susceptibility to compaction; 2) consequences on water management in each of the years covered by the experiments; 3) soil quality consequences, and 4) alleviation of pan-compaction by mechanical and biological methods. Long-term field monitoring and experimental work have both convincingly proven a correlation between subsoil compaction and the degree of climatic damage. In view of the findings, trends in soil tillage can be grouped into the following two categories: climate damage mitigating and climate-stress increasing ones. The formation and location of compacted layers provided information concerning the depth, the method and the type of tillage applied, along with the expected risk for crop production under extreme climate conditions.


compaction; climate; indicator; alleviation

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