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Effects of varied ground pressure traffic systems for seeding on soil compaction and crop yields in clay soils affected by extreme moisture conditions

Crop Types
  • Whole Farm
Collaborating Locations


Trafficability refers to a soil's ability to support agricultural traffic without degrading soils and is typically used when discussing soil moisture conditions, either providing or restricting field traffic. Large seeding equipment have used low-ground-pressure (LGP) traffic systems to compensate the potential risk of compaction. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the impact of large-weight equipment and different LGP traffic systems in various trafficability scenarios on compaction and subsequent yield. In all equipment scenarios the high trafficability areas observed higher compaction than low trafficability areas of the field. 10T axel loads caused higher compaction with tracks compared to tires, the opposite was found in 20 T axel loads. In areas of low trafficability there was higher soil water infiltration, higher yields and reduced effect on 21 day emergence count compared to areas with high trafficability. Due to drought conditions in 2021, there was only one year of data collected. Additional site years and comprehensive soil physical data is needed to draw stronger conclusions on the ideal traffic systems and management.


  1. Quantify the effect of low ground pressure traffic systems (tracks, low pressure tires) and soil moisture on compaction of heavy clay soils during seeding with measures of impact on subsequent grain yield.
  2. Develop a decision matrix for traffic systems on seeding equipment based on the measurable trade offs (economics of yield and equipment investment and logistics of equipment and trafficability) in suboptimal soil conditions.
  3. Correlate various soil property measures (soil organic matter, drought stress resistance, soil texture, soil penetrometer) with subsequent effects on crop response in MB soils as a result of compaction.

Key Takeaways

  • 1. High Trafficability areas were more compacted across all equipment conditions than low trafficability areas.
  • Tracks compacted more than wheels at the 10T axel Loads, while tires resulted in negligible or slightly higher compaction with loads of 20 T
  • Soil Water infiltration was higher in the low trafficability areas.
  • All post-seeding compaction results in reduced 21-day emergence counts over areas of no compaction. High flotation tires have less impact on reducing emergence than tracks in most scenarios. reduced emergence is substantial in low trafficability regions.
  • There was minimal difference in yield between tracks and tires for all scenarios; however, yields were lower in areas with low trafficability.

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Lorne Grieger
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
MB Agriculture, MPSG
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Soil