AGCO, which carries brands such as Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Gleaner, and Challenger, has released initial data readings showing how tractor and planter tires compact soil.
As we are becoming more and more aware, soil compacted at planting can reduce yields by restricting root growth and reducing nutrient and water availability, making the topic an increasing concern for farmers.
Throughout the summer, AGCO has been observing crop development and measuring yield throughout the Corn Belt in the U.S. Agronomists have been using a soil penetrometer — which measures resistance in pounds per square inch as the device is slowly pushed into the ground, simulating a root penetrating soil — to measure compaction caused by the tractor/planter compared to compaction in areas where the planter did not run. Readings were collected in five locations in Illinois, Ohio, and South Dakota, after the use of a Fendt Momentum Planter.
The chart shows that with the weight of the planter added to that of the tractor, little to no extra compaction occurred. Many studies have shown that the first pass of equipment, such as the planter tractor, produces most of the soil compaction that occurs.
Jason Lee, AGCO agronomist and farm solutions specialist, says that the initial results support the goal of reducing added compaction with the planter, adding they will be “taking plant measurements and hand-harvest estimates as the season progresses, along with harvest yield results this fall, to tell the full story.”