Tracks or tires: which causes more soil compaction?

“How many people believe that tracks are actually better than tires for soil compaction?” Marla Riekman, Manitoba Agriculture land’s management specialist, recently asked farmers at the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association workshop in Minot, North Dakota.

Riekman said Ohio State University research indicates that tires cause the same amount of damage as tracks if tires are properly inflated.

“When you’re running your tires at their rated pressures, it’s the same. In some cases, even better,” she said.

Riekman said OSU research has found that properly inflated duals actually compacted the soil less than a 24 or 36 inch track.

Over-inflated duals caused more compaction than tracks and duals at rated pressures.

Randall Reeder, a retired agricultural engineer at Ohio State, has said over-inflated tires reduce the tire footprint, which increases the amount of compaction.

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