Healthy soil matters: unravelling soil-structural degradation on farm land

Healthy soil mattersWater logging in winter, cracked dry soil in summer. These phenomena are often clearly visible, yet hardly understood at field level. What we do know however is that soil-structural degradation, in particular soil sealing/crust formation and soil compaction, plays a crucial role in their occurrence.

Developing a decision support tool

With partners from Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, we optimized a decision making tool to predict the risk to soil compaction from a combination of machine properties, soil properties and soil moisture conditions.

Outreach to developing countries

The decision support tool is now being tailored to Bolivian conditions.

Ongoing research and impact

Soil-structural degradation affects crop production, water regulation, nutrient cycling, buffering capacity, soil biodiversity, and quality of water bodies. Research on soil sealing and compaction in Tunisia and Flanders helps us to further understand the agricultural and environmental impact.

Minimizing soil sealing and compaction not only benefits the individual farmer, but also society as a whole. A wide range of stakeholders, from farmers to industry to policy makers, has high interest in unravelling the effects and in developing the best practices.