Soil disturbance under small harvester traffic in paddy‐based smallholder farms in China

Huo, L.F., Liang, L., Abbas, A., White, D.R., Ding, Q.S., Wang, X.C. and He, R.Y. (2020) Soil disturbance under small harvester traffic in paddy‐based smallholder farms in China. Agronomy Journal.

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Machine‐induced soil disturbance may negatively impact the sustainability of a smallholder farming system. On‐farm studies at 143 fields were conducted over three crop seasons with the goal of quantifying the effect of soil disturbance on rice (Oryza sativa L.) paddy productivity induced by small harvesters (i.e., power <75 kW, weight < 3.5 Mg, and working width <2200 mm). A field survey toolbox containing fine‐layered cone penetration test, soil micro‐relief measurement, soil physics test (water content, bulk density, and porosity), documentation of field attributes, harvesters’ technical specifications, cropping systems, and farmers’ practices was used for field observation. Results showed that harvester traffic increased soil bulk density and decreased soil porosity. However, harvester‐induced soil changes in statistics were not detected. In addition, trafficked lanes had great soil strength (P = .05) than non‐trafficked lanes, and equipment induced compaction was limited to the surface 150 mm. Therefore, small harvesters minimized subsurface soil damage. However, regardless of the model and specification, all harvesters caused ruts. Small field sizes, irregular field shapes, inconsistent field management practices, lacking soil protection awareness, excessive soil water content during rice harvesting and random field traffic were identified as major factors aggravating soil disturbance. Above these, several well‐established approaches to alleviate machine‐induced soil damage were also observed during the field survey, including pre‐harvesting drainage, floating chassis, ultra‐narrow wheels, and puddling.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Engineering
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2020 11:51
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2021 04:30

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