Wheel traffic can lead to compaction and degradation of soil physical properties. This study, as part of a study of controlled traffic farming, assessed the impact of compaction from wheel traffic on soil that had not been trafficked for 5 years. A tractor of 40 kN rear axle weight was used to apply traffic at varying wheelslip on a clay soil with varying residue cover to simulate effects of traffic typical of grain production operations in the northern Australian grain belt. A rainfall simulator was used to determine infiltration characteristics. Wheel traffic significantly reduced time to ponding, steady infiltration rate, and total infiltration compared with non-wheeled soil, with or without residue cover. Non-wheeled soil had 4-5 times greater steady infiltration rate than wheeled soil, irrespective of residue cover. Wheelslip greater than 10% further reduced steady infiltration rate and total infiltration compared with that measured for self-propulsion wheeling (3% wheelslip) under residue-protected conditions. Where there was no compaction from wheel traffic, residue cover had a greater effect on infiltration capacity, with steady infiltration rate increasing proportionally with residue cover (R-2 = 0.98). Residue cover, however, had much less effect on infiltration when wheeling was imposed. These results demonstrated that the infiltration rate for the non-wheeled soil under a controlled traffic zero-till system was similar to that of virgin soil. However, when the soil was wheeled by a medium tractor wheel, infiltration rate was reduced to that of long-term cropped soil. These results suggest that wheel traffic, rather than tillage and cropping, might be the major factor governing infiltration. The exclusion of wheel traffic under a controlled traffic farming system, combined with conservation tillage, provides a way to enhance the sustainability of cropping this soil for improved infiltration, increased plant-available water, and reduced runoff-driven soil erosion.