Tractors are like dinosaurs, no major soil degradation

In agriculture, larger and larger machines are used to increase efficiency and productivity. This belief has been around for a very long time. However, the latest search results They can change this view 180 degrees. Use big farming machines like dinosaurs Destructive effect on soil structure and root systems of plants, which directly contribute to Reduce returns and thus profits.

Comparing these machines to dinosaurs is by no means an exaggeration. The largest tractors or agricultural combines can weigh up to 60 tons and are taller than the height of an elephant. can be compared to mass dinosaurwhich weigh “only” less than 9 tons. Another well-known type of dinosaur, TriceratopsIt weighs 12 tons. The weight of agricultural machinery is now equal to the weight of the largest dinosaurs that walked the earth, i.e. Soropodum. Its weight reached 80 tons.

“Mechanical predators” with weights and wheels several meters in diameter They crush the soil slowly and methodically. The high density of the soil hinders the growth of plant roots.

Thomas Keeler from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Danny Orr from the Desert Research Institute met Scientific materialdata on all types of agricultural vehicles since 1958. Then they modeled the forces exerted by the tires on the soil at different depths.

In mechanized farming, soil compaction has been around for a long time in topsoil, that is, in layers less than 50 cm. Scientists believe that soil compaction in layers less than 50 cm is common Exceeding “Safe Boundaries”.

soil crushing Heavy equipment causes small spaces between soil particles (pores) to disappear, which is a big thing It obstructs the entry of water and air to deeper layers. Such changes can Reduce yields by 10 to 20 percent. The effects of these treatments are long-lasting – it can take decades for earthworms and other organisms to loosen the soil.

According to the research authors, about 20 percent. The world’s agricultural land is at high risk of yield decline due to compaction of deep soil layers. One of the most vulnerable areas is the savannah region of Brazil and southeastern Australia, where the soils are very “delicate”.

In addition to tractors, combine harvesters and vehicles used for felling trees also became heavier.

There are ways to reduce soil compaction, says agronomist Thomas Way of the USDA. One way is not to drive over the fields when they are wet because moisture makes the soil dry. More prone to cracking. Another approach is to use GPS in dry weather, which may help farmers drive the same roads each time to reduce the overall surface area that deteriorates. The question is whether such a procedure will work in Polish conditions.

In their scientific article, scientists discuss the topic of the “sauropod paradox”, that is, they wonder what is the mechanistic effect of these animals on land productivity. The researchers hypothesize that the sauropods must have compressed the substrate as it moved.

Researchers also debate whether it was prehistoric Animals followed worn pathsOr perhaps wading in the water along the shoreline.

In their article, they wrote, “The picture of free food foraging appears unlikely due to The danger of massive soil compaction and lost productivity.

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