Tillage-induced soil compaction, as a climate threat increasing stressor

Márta Birkás, Anthony Dexter, András Szemok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Tillage interrupts natural processes in the soil. The greater the difference between man-made and natural state the heavier is the stress on soil biological activities. An intervention deforming the soil structure will have both positive and negative impacts on plants. Heavier negative impacts may cause stress. Tillage induced compaction is an abnormal change in the soil structure causing stress both directly and indirectly. Until recent years scientists knew more about compaction than did farmers, who tended to explain losses by referring to adverse weather conditions. Research is now underway in two directions: studying soil state in soil quality trials and monitoring selected fields in 67 districts. In the course of our research we have been studying some climatic, edaphic and tillage stress factors. This paper comprises an evaluation of certain impacts of tillage pans on the soil (structure) and plants (root zone depth). One important finding is proof of structure degradation in the wake of interventions that have a negative impact on the soil biological activity along with proof of structure improvement in the wake of tillage causing as little stress as possible. Compaction was found to be a stressor limiting water transport and aggregation in the soil and aggravating damage caused by drought and waterlogging alike. Plants responded to compaction stress in terms of weakened emergence, deficient nutrient and water uptake, root deformation, and low yields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-382
Number of pages4
JournalCereal Research Communications
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 31 2009


  • Aggregation
  • Compaction stress
  • Rooting depth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics

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