Soil Compaction: What to Do?

Soil compaction is an occurrence when the spaces between soil particles reduce resulting in higher soil density and lesser pore spaces. This in layman terms would be described as “hardened soils” that are difficult to penetrate and appear commonly during the dry season. It is important to diagnose what is going on in the soil when such an occurrence happens, as soil compaction not only reduces the rate of water infiltration, but also inhibits root penetration and thus nutrient absorption.

Identifying Soil Compaction

The more scientific and accurate method of identifying soil compaction and its exact location would be through the use of a soil penetrometer. This handy equipment can be simply inserted into the soil to detect compaction. A reading between 200-300 indicates an unhealthy compaction level in soils.

Other easy methods to identify soil compaction, although not very accurate, is by digging out a foot deep of soil using a post hole digger or a shovel and then using a knife/spade to check for the difference in resistance level throughout that one feet hole. The point of resistance where the knife is not able to move as easily indicates the compacted layer. A sample of that layer should be taken for further analysis.

What to Do?

It is important to introduce a significant amount of organic matter into compacted soil to improve the soil structure. This is combination with an appropriate amount of Calcium and Natural Oil will help soften soils and greatly improve the porosity. Regular application of Midori-N and Ryoku-P at 1L and 0.6L per acre respectively with a dilution ratio of 1:200 will introduce Omega-3 oil, Calcium and high amounts of Organic Matter into the soil to regenerate soil health. It is also important to note while the above measure is very effective in solving soil compaction, farmers should avoid heavy traffic in fields from machinery use which is a prime contributor towards this problem. A dedicated traffic lane for machineries is a good option in cases where the minimisation of its usage is not possible. Common practices such as crop rotation and introducing fibrous and taproot crops, will also help maintain a loose, porous soil structure and encourage biological diversity.

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