Traffic and residue cover effects on infiltration

Li, Y. X., Tullberg, J. N. and Freebairn, D. M. (2001) Traffic and residue cover effects on infiltration. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 39 2: 239-247. doi:10.1071/SR00017

Author Li, Y. X.
Tullberg, J. N.
Freebairn, D. M.
Title Traffic and residue cover effects on infiltration
Journal name Australian Journal of Soil Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-9573
Publication date 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/SR00017
Volume 39
Issue 2
Start page 239
End page 247
Total pages 9
Editor J. Fegent
S. Banerjee
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2001
Language eng
Subject C1
300903 Sustainable Development
620199 Field crops not elsewhere classified
0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Abstract 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.
Keyword Conservation Tillage
Controlled Traffic
Soil Compaction
Rainfall Simulator
Agriculture, Soil Science
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 33 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 16:39:36 EST