Effect of combined soil water and external load on soil compaction

M. A. Hamza*, S. S. Al-Adawi, K. A. Al-Hinai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Reducing soil compaction is now an important issue in agriculture due to intensive use of farm machinery in different farm operations. This experiment was designed to study the influence of combinations of external load and soil water on soil compaction. Four soil water levels were combined with four external loads as follows: soil water-air-dry, 50% of field capacity, field capacity, and saturation; external load using different-sized tractors-no load (0 kg), small tractor (2638 kg), medium tractor (3912 kg), and large tractor (6964 kg). Soil bulk density, soil strength, and soil water infiltration rate were measured at 0-100, 100-200, and 200-300mm soil depths. The 16 treatments were set up in a randomised block design with three replications. Combined increases in soil water and external load increased soil compaction, as indicated by increasing soil bulk density and soil strength and decreasing soil water infiltration rate. There was no significant interaction between soil water and external load for bulk density at all soil depths, but the interaction was significant for soil strength and infiltration rates at all soil depths. The ratio between the weight of the external load and the surface area of contact between the external load and the ground was important in determining the degree of surface soil compaction. Least compaction was produced by the medium tractor because it had the highest tyre/ground surface area contact. In general, the effects of soil water and external load on increasing soil bulk density and soil strength were greater in the topsoil than the subsoil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • External load
  • Soil bulk density
  • Soil compaction
  • Soil strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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