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Soil, land care and environmental research

The effects of soil water content and bulk density on the compactibility and soil penetration resistance of some Western Australian sandy soils

C Henderson, A Levett and D Lisle

Australian Journal of Soil Research 26(2) 391 - 400
Published: 1988


Quantitative models to predict the effects of soil compaction on wheat yields are being developed for the northern sandplains of Western Australia. An understanding of the relationships between soil water content (W), bulk density (p), compactibility and soil penetration resistance (P) is required. Thirteen subsoils from W.A. sandplain soils were tested for compactibility. As the amounts of very coarse sand or clay in the soil increased, the maximum density (ñmax.) achieved with a standard compactive effort also increased, while the critical soil water content (Wcrit,.) for maximum compactibility declined. The effects of p and W on P were investigated for five of the soils. The value of P was only slightly affected as W was reduced to less than 70% of the field capacity water content. As the soils were dried further, P increased exponentially. At all water contents, an increase in p was found to markedly increase P. Particle size distribution could be used to predict ñmax. and Wcrit., but could not be related to the effects of changes in p and W on P. The implications for the measurement and effects of soil compaction in the field are discussed.

© CSIRO 1988

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