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Advantages of the one-wheeled tramline for multiple machinery widths method on sunflower (Helianthus annus L.) and maize (Zea mays L.) responses in the Argentinean Flat Pampas

Masola, María Josefina, Alesso, Carlos Agustín, Carrizo, María Eugenia, Berhongaray, Gonzalo, Botta, Guido Fernando, Horn, Rainer, Imhoff, Silvia
Soil & tillage research 2020 v.196 pp. 104462
Argiudolls, Helianthus annuus, Zea mays, biomass, bulk density, controlled traffic systems, corn, crop yield, crops, farming systems, root growth, soil compaction, traffic, wheel tracks
The “one-wheeled tramline” for multiple machinery widths (OWTL) method, which implies confining compaction to only one common permanent traffic lane (PTL) without changing wheel tracks of the machinery, has been proposed as first step to adopt the Controlled Traffic Farming system. The objective of this study was to evaluate how far the stress distribution, caused by repeated wheeling, affects maize and sunflower response in Argiudolls. The OWTL method was applied in two experimental sites, one cropped with maize (Aurelia site) and the other one with sunflower (Videla site). At each site, 9 plots were defined and one common PTL was established within each plot. Three compaction treatments were assigned to plots in a randomized complete block design with 3 replicates. The 3 compaction treatments were: T0: control, PTL with initial soil compaction defined for one pass of the planter equipment; T1: PTL compacted until the soil reached 2 MPa; T2: PTL compacted until the soil reached 4 MPa. Thereafter, the machinery traffic was restricted to the PTL. Fixed sampling positions were established in the PTL (from the centre to the outer edge) and in the permanent crop bed (PCB). After 18 months from the experiment begining, relative soil compaction (RSC) at the depth interval 0-100 and 100-200 mm, maize and sunflower yield, and sunflower root biomass (RB) were measured. Critical bulk density was 1.58 ± 0.03 Mg m-3 and 1.62 ± 0.05 at Aurelia and Videla sites. Significant differences of RSC between sampling positions were observed at both sites, whereas significant differences between compaction treatments were observed at Videla site. The higher RSC values were observed at the depth interval 100-200 mm in the PTL. The lower yields were observed in the centre of the PTL in T2. Contrasting the yield of maize and sunflower obtained in the PTL of T0 vs the average of T1 and T2, differences of 2751 and 848 kg ha-1 were observed. No yield differences were found for the same contrast in the PCB. Sunflower RB was reduced by 56% in the PTL, without differences between compaction treatments. The higher RB was found at the depth interval 0-100 mm (86% and 79% in the PTL and PCB, respectively). These results showed that the horizontal transmission of soil compaction caused by the OWTL depends on the RSC reached in the PTL. Crops yield and root growth were differently affected by the compaction treatments and the effect varied between sampling positions.