The wet weather throughout autumn has left many growers concerned about soil compaction, with waterlogging attributed to plateauing crop yields by the Potash Development Association (PDA). In some cases, crop losses are likely to reach 80%.
While little can be done to change higher-than-average rainfall, farmers can take action to reduce compaction. Continental’s Tom Godwin, has been working with customers to explain available technologies that reduce the impact of heavy machinery.
“Managing tyre pressures using pressure monitoring systems and choosing VF tyres to operate at 40% less pressure than standard radial tyres will make a significant difference to soil health. This will be particularly prevalent in min-till and zero tillage systems when operators are not turning over land to alleviate or remove compaction,” said Mr Godwin.
According to a report by the PDA, yield losses from waterlogging could vary between 15% and 80% next year, depending on crop species, growth stage, soil type and the duration of the stress. The report said: “Establishment is the most critical period in any annual crop’s life-cycle, as it is the time when the yield potential is set…and that…any management decisions taken from this point onwards only helps limit the reduction in this yield potential.”
Mr Godwin echoed this: “Continental has been working with farms for five years, as part of our Stamp Out Soil Compaction initiative, to help improve land management decisions through the use of more efficient tyres. Our TractorMaster tyres have been specifically designed to reduce compaction by operating at lower pressures and we are always looking for ways to explain these benefits to operators who want to improve soil health.”
According to Mr Godwin, investment in tyre technology can limit the severity of waterlogging in the future. “It is easy to say that waterlogging is just the effect of heavy rainfall and gloss over the real issue. Farms that have understood the threat and changed their tyres to minimise the impact of heavy machinery on soil will suffer less now, and in the future, with soil compaction and waterlogging,” he concluded.
For more information go to www.continental-tyres.co.uk