By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader
It can be said that compaction occurs where the rubber meets the road, or in this case, the rubber meets the soil.
“If you think about how roads are designed and built, they are constructed to handle heavy loads. It comes down to a function of the axle weight,” said Ian McDonald, researcher from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. “Why do we think it is alright to put heavy axle weight on top of a biological ecosystem?”
In research conducted at Bern University by Matthias Stettler, it suggests that the axel load on equipment in a field should ideally be less than 5 tons per axle and tire inflation pressure should ideally be less than 15 pounds per square inch. Common field equipment axle loads are 7.5 tons per axle for a 200 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 13 tons per axle for a 325 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 24 tons per axle for a combine with a 12-row head, and 35 to 40 tons per axle for a 1200-bushel grain cart.