F. W. Okinda1*, D. M. Nyaanga1, S. Nyakach2
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Egerton University,
Box 536 -20115, Egerton, Kenya
*Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The increasing use of different sizes of agricultural machines have led to amplified levels of soil compaction. Knowledge on the dynamics of different soil properties as a result of wheel traffic is crucial for formulation and adoption of proper soil and water conservation methods for improved crop production with increasing population. Since wheel traffic compaction is still underestimated, this study aimed at determining effect on the soil moisture retention, bulk density, water infiltration, hydraulic conductivity and soil penetration resistance(cone index) as applied at different locations .A walking tractor was used in a controlled environment experiment. Soil samples were collected and selected hydrological and hydraulic properties which included dry bulk density, porosity, soil texture, saturated hydraulic conductivity, soil penetration resistance and moisture retention were determined both in the field and soil laboratory. The effects of the treatments were studied using a completely randomized experimental design where three wheel traffic treatments (involving 1, 3 and 5 passes) and three compaction treatments (traffic on rows, traffic between rows and traffic on entire plot).The findings showed that the highest bulk density of 1.84g/cm3, porosity of 0.306, saturated hydraulic conductivity of 54.432cm/day and cone index of 1.9393Mpa were recorded after application of 5 wheel traffic passes.
Keywords: Wheel traffic compaction, soil resistance, walking tractor, hydrological properties, hydraulic properties