Soil decompaction is a technique that compacts soil. Typically, it is used as a one-off operation, but some areas require regular decompaction. For example, areas with frequent pedestrian traffic may require regular soil decompaction. It can also be applied to other soil types to create a better soil surface.
Soil decompaction can be caused by excessive tillage, untimely field operations, and wheel tracking. The problem may be corrected by freezing and thawing the soil in the winter. The process also causes damage to crops that have small root systems. It’s important to know how to determine if soil compaction is a problem and how to prevent it.
The bulk density of soil is a measure of how much soil is packed together. It’s typically given in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3). Different soil types have different optimum bulk densities. Soils with higher bulk densities are considered highly compacted. Generally, no-till soils have a higher bulk density than freshly tilled soils.
Soil decompaction is a process of breaking up compacted soils. This process involves the use of static and dynamic forces. In the first, weight is applied to the soil, while the second uses high pressure air to fracture the layers. The result is a fracture that can be filled with water, fertilizer, or amendments. The benefits of this technique are temporary, however, and they are not effective for heavily compacted soils.
Compaction happens when the particles of soil are pressed together, decreasing pore space. As a result, the density of the soil increases. This alters many of the soil’s properties and functions. The loss of pore space limits the movement of air and water in the soil, which affects the health of crops, pastures, and landscape vegetation.
In the north-central and upper Midwest regions, deep wheel-traffic compaction could have a substantial economic impact in 2019. However, these costs cannot be accurately estimated. Moreover, there Soil decompaction is no accurate way to estimate the region-wide compaction extent because of the lack of a reporting system. These costs are proportional to the percentage of land area that is subjected to wheel-traffic compaction.
The cost per ten percent of the land may be as high as US$1.76 billion. Detailed large-scale deep-compaction reports are necessary to determine the exact percentage of impacted land. To minimize the costs, policies promoting conservation and reducing field traffic on wet soils are encouraged.
Soil compaction can have significant negative environmental effects. Compaction reduces soil organic carbon and nitrogen levels. For example, when silt loam was artificially compacted to a bulk density of 1.5 Mg/m3, it experienced a significant reduction in carbon mineralization and net nitrification. Compacted soils also produce higher fuel consumption and higher CO2 emissions.
Soil compaction can affect plant growth and yield, double the rate of soil degradation, and increase salinity. It can also lead to water logging. Although some of these effects are visible from the surface, other effects are less obvious.