Influence of soil compaction by farm machinery and livestock on water infiltration rate on grassland
¹Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, Prague 6 – Suchdol, 16521, Czech Republic; *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org 2Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Tr. A. Hlinku 2, 94976 Nitra, Slovak Republic 3Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB, United Kingdom
The objective of this study was to investigate the rate of water infiltration into the soil under different soil compaction levels caused by livestock and farm machinery. Measurements were performed on grassland which is situated at Harper Adams University, UK. The soil type is classified as a sandy loam – Eutric Cambisols. The following treatments were evaluated: non-compacted soil, compaction by cattle hooves and compaction by tractor with trailer. Infiltration rate was measured by simplified falling-head and cone index to a depth of 0.3 m using a cone penetrometer. Results of the simplified falling-head infiltration method showed a significantly higher water infiltration rate in the non-compacted soil than the compacted soil. There was no statistical difference in the infiltration rate following compaction by cattle hooves and compaction by tractor. The mean values of water infiltration rate measured on compacted soil by cattle hooves and tractor with trailer showed 2.6% difference. The measurements of cone index showed a significant difference only in the case of compaction by cattle hooves, where a decrease of cone index values by approximately 20% in the depth from 0.15 to 0.25 m occurred. Overall it was found that the ground pressure of 200–250 kPa reduces water infiltration properties of the soil more than 80% in comparison to the non-compacted soil. Key words: cone index, saturated hydraulic conductivity, soil compaction, water infiltration rate.