Soil Compaction Induced by Different Tillage Systems and its Impact on Growth and Yield of Maize (Zea Mays L.)

Soil Compaction Induced by Different Tillage Systems and its Impact on Growth and Yield of Maize (Zea Mays L.): A Review




Root penetration resistance, Soil characteristics, Critical level, Mitigation strategies


Abstract: Maize (Zea Mays L.) cultivation faces challenges from mechanized tillage-induced compaction, impacting soil physical properties crucial for growth. This compaction, stemming from machinery-soil interactions during tillage, alters bulk density, root penetration resistance, and water infiltration rates. Tractive tires play a central role in this process. The chapter explores the intricate relationship, emphasizing its adverse effects on maize root development, nutrient availability, and overall grain yield. While studies report significant yield reductions under severe compaction, a universally agreed-upon critical level remains elusive, necessitating further research into dynamic soil factors influencing maize productivity. This insight informs strategies for optimizing cultivation practices amid mechanized tillage challenges. Soil compaction, a critical concern in maize cultivation, profoundly impacts plant growth. Mechanized tillage-induced compaction alters soil properties, affecting bulk density, root penetration, and water movement. Compacted soil restricts air and water availability, hindering root respiration and nutrient uptake. This multifaceted constraint leads to poor seed germination, reduced yields, and increased vulnerability to root diseases. Mitigation strategies include low tillage machine loads, precision agriculture, conservation tillage, bioturbation, and deep tillage. While some compaction may benefit water retention, excessive levels pose risks. A holistic approach involves soil assessments, controlled traffic farming, cover crops, mechanical aeration, optimized equipment design, and ongoing monitoring. Education and adaptive practices are crucial for sustainable soil compaction management.


Download data is not yet available.


Aase, D. L. Bjorneberg, and Sojka, R. E. (2001). Zone–subsoiling relationships to bulk density and cone index on a furrow–irrigated soil. Transactions of the ASAE, 44(3). doi: 10.13031/2013.6118.

Adejumo, A. O. D., Afolabi, B. O., and Atere, A. O. (2016). Comparative Performance of Mechanically Induced Compaction on Maize Growth for Two Soils of Nigeria. Journal of Biology, 11 (6). 22-24.

Agherkakli, B., Najafi, A., and Sadeghi, S. H. (2011). Changes in Soil Physical Properties in Response to Metal-Tracked Skidder Traffic. 1(1), 13–21.

Ahmed, A., Asmaa Abdullah, Qasim Badr Al-Yasiri, and Akram Abdul-Daim Ahmed. (2018). "Impact of Tractor Speed and Rolling Frequency on Some Soil Physical Properties and Emergence Rates of Certain Crops." Journal of Thi Qar University for Agricultural Research, 7(1), 53-65. (In Arabic).

Antille, D. L., Ansorge, D., Dresser, M. L., and Godwin, R. J. (2013). Soil displacement and soil bulk density changes as affected by tire size. Transactions of the ASABE, 56(5), 1683–1693. https://doi. org/ 10. 13031/ trans. 56. 9886

Antille, D. L., Peets, S., Galambošová, J., Botta, G. F., Rataj, V., Macak, M., ... and Godwin, R. J. (2019). Soil compaction and controlled traffic farming in arable and grass cropping systems.Agronomy Research 17(3), 653–682.

Arvidsson, J., and Keller, T. (2007). Soil stress as affected by wheel load and tyre inflation pressure. Soil Tillage Research, 96(1), 284–291. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2007.06.012.

Arvidsson, J., and Keller, T. (2007). Soil stress as affected by wheel load and Tire inflation pressure. Soil and Tillage Research, 96(1), 284–291. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. still. 2007. 06. 012

Augustin, K., Kuhwald, M., Brunotte, J., and Duttmann, R. (2020). Wheel load and wheel pass frequency as indicators for soil compaction risk: A four-year analysis of traffic intensity at field scale. Geosciences, 10(8), 292.

Badalıkova, B. (2010). Influence of soil tillage on soil compaction. In A. Dedousis and T. Bartzanas , soil engineering (Vol. 20, pp. 19–30). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. doi: https:// doi. org/ 10.2136/ sssaj 1952. 03615 99500 16000 30026x.

Becker, R. K., et al. (2022). Mechanical Intervention in Compacted No-Till Soil in Southern Brazil: Soil Physical Quality and Maize Yield. Agronomy, 12(10), 2281.

Beylich, A., Oberholzer, H. R., Schrader, S., Höper, H., and Wilke, B. M. (2010). Evaluation of soil compaction effects on soil biota and soil biological processes in soils. Soil and Tillage Research, 109(2), 133-143.‏ doi:10.1016/j.still.2010.05.010

Bhadoria, P. B. S., Kaselowsky, J., Claassen, N., and Jungk, A. (1991). Impedance Factor for Chloride Diffusion in Soil as Affected by Bulk Density and Water Content. Zeitschrift Für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde, 154(1), 69–72. doi: 10.1002/jpln.19911540114.

Blanco-Canqui, H., Claassen, M. M., and Stone, L. R. (2010). Controlled Traffic Impacts on Physical and Hydraulic Properties in an Intensively Cropped No-Till Soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 74(6), 2142–2150. doi: 10.2136/sssaj2010.0061.

Botta, G. F., Tolon-Becerra, A., Lastra-Bravo, X., and Tourn, M. (2010). Tillage and traffic effects (planters and tractors) on soil compaction and soybean (Glycine max L.) yields in Argentinean pampas. Soil and Tillage Research, 110(1), 167–174. https:// doi. org/ 10.1016/j. still. 2010. 07. 001

Botta, G. F., Tolón-Becerra, A., Lastra-Bravo, X., Tourn, M., Balbuena, R., and Rivero, D. (2013). Continuous application of direct sowing: Traffic effect on subsoil compaction and maize (Zea mays L.) yields in Argentinean Pampas. Soil Tillage Research, 134, 111–120. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2013.07.012.

Brevik, E., Fenton, T., and Moran, L. (2002). Effect of soil compaction on organic carbon amounts and distribution, South-Central Iowa. Environmental Pollution, 116, S137–S141. doi: 10.1016/S0269-7491(01)00266-4.

Burak, E., Quinton, J. N., and Dodd, I. C. (2021). Root hairs are the most important root trait for rhizosheath formation of barley (Hordeum vulgare), maize (Zea mays) and Lotus japonicus (Gifu). Annals of Botany, 128(1), 45-57.‏

Chamen, W. C. Tim, Moxey, A. P., Towers, W., Balana, B., and Hallett, P. D. (2015). Mitigating arable soil compaction: A review and analysis of available cost and benefit data. Soil Tillage Research, 146, 10–25. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2014.09.011.

Chan, K. Y., et al. (2006). Agronomic consequences of tractor wheel compaction on a clay soil. Soil Tillage Research, 89(1), 13–21. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2005.06.007.

Chyba, J., Kroulík, M., Krištof, K., Misiewicz, P. A., and Chaney, K. (2014). Influence of soil compaction by farm machinery and livestock on water infiltration rate on grassland. Agronomy Research, 12(1), 59-64.‏

Colombi, T., and Keller, T. (2019). Developing strategies to recover crop productivity after soil compaction—A plant eco-physiological perspective. Soil Tillage Research, 191, 156–161. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2019.04.008.

Dedousis, A. P., and Bartzanas. (2010). Soil engineering (vl. 20). Springer Science and Business Media. ISSN: 1613-3382. Technology Park of Thessaly. Volos 38500.Greece.DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-03681-1

Dejong-hughes, J., Monterief, W. B., Voorhees, W. B., and Swan, J.B. (2001). Soilcompaction: Causes, effects and control (FO-3115-S). University of Minnesota Extension Service, St. Paula,MN. Retrieved from https:// conse rvancy. umn. edu/ handle/ 11299/55483

Dekemati, I., Simon, B., Vinogradov, S., and Birkás, M. (2019). The effects of various tillage treatments on soil physical properties, earthworm abundance and crop yield in Hungary. Soil and Tillage Research, 194, 104334.‏

Duruoha, C., Piffer, C. R., and Silva, P. A. (2007). Corn root length density and root diameter as affected by soil compaction and soil water content. IRRIGA, 12(1), 14–26. doi: 10.15809/irriga.2007v12n1p14-26.

Etana, A., et al. (2013). Persistent subsoil compaction and its effects on preferential flow patterns in a loamy till soil. Geoderma, 192, 430–436. doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.08.015.

Godwin, R. J., et al. (2017). Summary of the effects of three tillage and three traffic systems on cereal yields over a four-year rotation. In 2017 Spokane, Washington July 16 - July 19, 2017. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. doi: 10.13031/aim.201701652.

Godwin, R. J., Misiewicz, P. A., White, D., Chamen, T., Galambošová, J., and Stobart, R. (2015). Results from recent traffic systems research and the implications for future work. Acta Technologica Agriculturae, 18(3), 57–63. https:// doi. org/10. 1515/ ata- 2015- 0013

Godwin, R., et al. (2019). The effect of alternative traffic systems and tillage on soil condition, crop growth and production economics - Extended abstract. In TAE 2019 - Proceeding of 7th International Conference on Trends in Agricultural Engineering 2019, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (pp. 133–134). Accessed: Dec. 11, 2022. [Online]. Available:

Gozubuyuk, Z., Sahin, U., Ozturk, I., Celik, A., and Adiguzel, M. C. (2014). Tillage effects on certain physical and hydraulic properties of a loamy soil under a crop rotation in a semi-arid region with a cool climate. CATENA, 118, 195–205. doi: 10.1016/j.catena.2014.01.006.

Guan, D., et al. (2014). Tillage practices affect biomass and grain yield through regulating root growth, root-bleeding sap and nutrients uptake in summer maize. Field Crops Research, (12) 10, pp 2281, doi: 10.3390/agronomy12102281.

Håkansson, I., and Reeder, R. C. (1994). Subsoil compaction by vehicles with high axle load—extent, persistence and crop response. Soil Tillage Research, 29(2–3), 277–304. doi: 10.1016/0167-1987(94)90065-5.

Hargreaves, P. R., Baker, K. L., Graceson, A., Bonnett, S., Ball, B. C., and Cloy, J. M. (2019). Soil compaction effects on grassland silage yields and soil structure under different levels of compaction over three years. European Journal of Agronomy, 109, 125916. doi: 10.1016/j.eja.2019.125916.

Hoeft, R. G., Aldrich, S. R., Nafziger, E. D. and, Johnson, R. R -. (1947). Modern corn and soybean production. Retrieved from

Hou, D., Bolan, N. S., Tsang, D. C., Kirkham, M. B., and O'Connor, D. (2020). Sustainable soil use and management: An interdisciplinary and systematic approach. Science of the Total Environment, 729, 138961.‏.

Huber, S., Prokop, G., Arrouays, D., Banko, G., Bispo, A., Jones, R. J., ... & Jones, A. R. (2008). Environmental assessment of soil for monitoring: volume I, indicators & criteria. Office for the Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 339.. https:// doi. org/ 10.2788/ 93515

Hula, J., Kroulik, M., and Kovaricek, P. (2009). Effect of repeated passes over the soil on degree of soil compaction, (ČZU, in GPS autopilot v zemědělstvi. CULS Prague), 39–44.

Imran, Amanullah, Ali khan, A., Mahmood, T., Al Tawaha, A. R., and Khanum, S. (2021). Adequate fertilization, application method and sowing techniques improve maize yield and related traits. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 52(19), 2318-2330.‏

Ji, B., Zhao, Y., Mu, X., Liu, K., and Li, C. (2013). Effects of tillage on soil physical properties and root growth of maize in loam and clay in Central China. Plant, Soil, and Environment, 59(7), 295–302. https:// doi. org/ 10. 17221/ 57/ 2013- pse

Johnson, C. E., and Brown, K. L. (2019). Tillage and Compaction Effects on Soil Hydraulic Properties in a Maize Field. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 83(3), 827–836.

Jones, R. J. A., Spoor, G., and Thomasson, A. J. (2003). Vulnerability of subsoils in Europe to compaction: A preliminary analysis. Soil Tillage Research, 73(1–2), 131–143. doi: 10.1016/S0167-1987(03)00106-5.

Keller, T., et al. (2013). An interdisciplinary approach towards improved understanding of soil deformation during compaction. Soil Tillage Research, 128, 61–80. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2012.10.004.

Keller, T., Sandin, M., Colombi, T., Horn, R., and Or, D. (2019). Historical increase in agricultural machinery weights enhanced soil stress levels and adversely affected soil functioning. Soil Tillage Research, 194, 104293. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2019.104293.

Klopfenstein, A. (2016). An Empirical Model for Estimating Corn Yield Loss from Compaction Events with Tires vs. Tracks High Axle Loads. p. 219.

Kroulík, M., Kvíz, Z., Kumhála, F., Hůla, J., and Loch, T. (2011). Procedures of soil farming allowing reduction of compaction. Agriculture, 12(3), 317–333. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1007/s11119- 010- 9206-1

Kulkarni, S., Bajwa, S. G., and Huitink, G. (2010). Investigation of the Effects of Soil Compaction in Cotton. Transactions of the ASABE, 53(3), 667–674. doi:10.13031/2013.30058.

Kutílek, M. (2004). Soil hydraulic properties as related to soil structure. Soil Tillage Research, 79(2), 175–184. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2004.07.006.

Lipiec, J., and Hatano, R. (2003). Quantification of compaction effects on soil physical properties and crop growth. Geoderma, 116(1–2), 107–136. doi: 10.1016/S0016 7061(03)00097-1.

Meselhy, A.A and Khater, I.M (2020); Effect of Some Operation Conditions for Tractor on Soil Compaction Under Different Agriculture Systems - Ras Sudr - South of Sinai. International Journal of Advanced Research, 8(7), 270–284.

Millington, A. (2019). The effect of low ground pressure and controlled traffic farming systems on soil properties and crop development for three tillage systems (Doctoral dissertation, Harper Adams University).‏

Mirzavand, J., and Moradi-Talebbeigi, R. (2021). Relationships between field management, soil compaction, and crop productivity. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, 67(5), 675-686

Misiewicz, P. A., Blackburn, K., Richards, T. E., Brighton, J. L., and Godwin, R. J. (2015). The evaluation and calibration of a pressure mapping system for the measurement of the pressure distribution of agricultural tyres. Biosystems Engineering, 130, 81–91. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2014.12.006.

Muhsin, S. J., Ramadhan, M. N., and Nassir, A. J. (2021, April). Effect of organic manure and tillage depths on sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) production. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 735, No. 1, p. 012070). IOP Publishing. DOI 10.1088/1755-1315/735/1/012070

Mwiti, F. M., Gitau, A. N., and Mbuge, D. O. (2022). Edaphic Response and Behavior of Agricultural Soils to Mechanical Perturbation in Tillage. AgriEngineering, 4(2), 335–355. doi: 10.3390/agriengineering4020023.

Nassir, A. J. (2018). Effect of moldboard plow types on soil physical properties under different soil moisture content and tractor speed. Basrah Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 31(1), 48-58.

Nassir, A. J., Al-Khalidy, A. A., and Muhsin, S. J. (2023a) Effect of Tillage Methods on Some Physical Properties of Soil and Yield Components Oats (Avena sativa L.). Euphrates Journal of Agricultural Science, 15(2) 2, 131-140

Nassir, A. J., Muhsin, S. J., and Ndawi, D. R. (2022). The Technical Evaluation of Three Different Types of Tillage Combined Machines and compared them with Individual Tillage Machines. Basrah Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 35(2), 341-361.

Nassir, A., Ndawi, D., and Muhsin, S. (2023b). The Effects of the Combined Tillage Machine Combinations on Some Soil Physio-Chemical Properties and Yield of Zea mays L.. IRAQI JOURNAL OF DESERT STUDIES, 13(1), 85-93. doi: 10.36531/ijds.2023.137165.1012

Nawaz, M. F., Bourrié, G., and Trolard, F. (2013). Soil compaction impact and modeling: A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 33(2), 291–309. doi: 10.1007/s13593-011-0071-8.

Nosalewicz, A., and Lipiec, J. (2014). The effect of compacted soil layers on vertical root distribution and water uptake by wheat. Plant and Soil, 375(1-2), 229–240.

Nyakudya, I. W., and Stroosnijder, L. (2014). Effect of rooting depth, plant density, and planting date on maize (Zea mays L.) yield and water use efficiency in semi-arid Zimbabwe: Modelling with AquaCrop. Agricultural Water Management, 146, 280–296. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2014.08.024.

Obour, P. B., and Ugarte, C. M. (2021). A meta-analysis of the impact of traffic-induced compaction on soil physical properties and grain yield. Soil Tillage Research, 211, 105019. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2021.105019.

Olubanjo, O. O., and Yessoufou, M. A. (2019). Effect of Soil Compaction on the Growth and Nutrient Uptake of Zea Mays L. Sustainable Agriculture Research. doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.301881.

Parlak, M., and Parlak, A. Ö. (2011). Effect of soil compaction on root growth and nutrient uptake of forage crops. J. Food Agric. Environ, 9, 275-278.‏

Pulido-Moncada, M., Munkholm, L. J., and Schjønning, P. (2019). Wheel load, repeated wheeling, and traction effects on subsoil compaction in northern Europe. Soil and Tillage Research, 186, 300–309. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. still. 2018. 11. 005

Radford, B. J., Yule, D. F., McGarry, D., and Playford, C. (2007). Amelioration of soil compaction can take 5 years on a vertisol under no till in the semi-arid subtropics. Soil and Tillage Research, 97(2), 249–255. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. still. 2006. 01. 005

Raghavan, G. S. V., McKyes, E., Taylor, F., Richard, P., and Watson, A. (1979). Vehicular traffic effects on development and yield of corn (maize). Journal of Terramechanics, 16(2), 69–76. doi: 10.1016/0022-4898(79)90002-8.

Ram, H., et al. (2020). Stomatal Adaptive Response in Plants Under Drought Stress. pp. 167–183. doi: 10.1201/9781003055358-8.

Raper, R. L., and Kirby, J. M. (2006). Soil compaction: How to do it, undo it, or avoid doing it. Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, 913, 1–15.

Ratonyi T (1998) Evaluation of tillage effects on penetration resistance of chernozem soil. In:Proceedings, Soil condition and crop production. Godollo˝, Hungary, pp 100–103

Reichert, J. M., Suzuki, L. E. A. S., Reinert, D. J., Horn, R., and Håkansson, I. (2009). Reference bulk density and critical degree-of-compactness for no-till crop production in subtropical highly weathered soils. Soil Tillage Research, 102(2), 242–254. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2008.07.002.

Ren, L., Cornelis, W., Ruysschaert, G., De Pue, J., Lootens, P., and D’Hose, T. (2022). Quantifying the impact of induced topsoil and historical subsoil compaction as well as the persistence of subsoiling. Geoderma, 424, 116024.

Rut, G., et al. (2022). Responses of a root system structure to soil compaction stress among maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 208(1), 106–119. doi: 10.1111/jac.12530.

Salokhe, V. M., and Ninh, N. T. (1993). Modelling soil compaction under pneumatic tires in clay soil. Journal of Terramechanics, 30(2), 63–75. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/ 0022- 4898(93) 90020-X

Shah, A. N., et al. (2017). Soil compaction effects on soil health and crop productivity: An overview. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(11), 10056–10067. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-8421-y.

Shaheb, M. R., et al. (2020). A quantification of soil porosity using X-ray Computed Tomography of a Drummer silty clay loam soil. In 2020 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting, July 13-15, 2020. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. doi: 10.13031/aim.202000875

Shaheb, M. R., Venkatesh, R., and Shearer, S. A. (2021). A review on the effect of soil compaction and its management for sustainable crop production. Journal of Biosystems Engineering, 1-23.‏

Shaheb, M.R., Grift, T. E., Godwin, R. J., Dickin, E., White, D. R., and Misiewicz, P. A. (2018). Effect of tire inflation pressure on soil properties and yield in a corn - soybean rotation for three tillage systems in the Midwestern United States. In 2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Detroit, 29 July–01 August, 1801834, 1–14. St. Joseph, MI. https:// doi. org/ 10. 13031/ aim. 20180 1834

Shaheb, M.R., Grift, T. E., Godwin, R. J., Dickin, E., White, D. R., and Misiewicz, P. A. (2018). Effect of tire inflation pressure on soil properties and yield in a corn - soybean rotation for three tillage systems in the Midwestern United States. In 2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Detroit, 29 July–01 August, 1801834, 1–14. St. Joseph, MI. https:// doi. org/ 10. 13031/ aim. 20180 1834

Shaheb, R. (2020). A study on the effect of tyre inflation pressure on soil properties, growth and yield of maize and soybean in Central Illinois. Retrieved from

Siczek, A., Horn, R., Lipiec, J., Usowicz, B., and Łukowski, M. (2015). Effects of soil deformation and surface mulching on soil physical properties and soybean response related to weather conditions. Soil Tillage Research, 153, 175–184. doi: 10.1016/j.still.2015.06.006.

Sidhu, D., and Duiker, S. W. (2006). Soil Compaction in Conservation Tillage: Crop Impacts. Agronomy Journal, 98(5), 1257–1264. doi: 10.2134/agronj2006.0070.

Sweeney, D. W., Kirkham, M. B., and Sisson, J. B. (2006). Crop and soil response to wheel-track compaction of a claypan soil. Agronomy Journal, 98(3), 637–643. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2134/ agron j2005.0254

Ten Damme, L., Schjønning, P., Munkholm, L. J., Green, O., Nielsen, S. K., and Lamandé, M. (2021). Soil structure response to field traffic: Effects of traction and repeated wheeling. Soil and Tillage Research, 213, 105128.‏

Voorhees, W. B., Johnson, J. F., Randall, G. W., and Nelson, W. W. (1989). Corn Growth and Yield as Affected by Surface and Subsoil Compaction. Agronomy Journal, 81(2), 294–303. doi: 10.2134/agronj1989.00021962008100020031x

Voorhees, W.B., Senst, C.G., and Nelson, W.W. (1978). Compaction and soil structure modification by wheel traffic in the Northern Corn Belt. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 42, 344-349.

Wang, H., Wang, L., and Ren, T. (2022). Long-term no tillage alleviates subsoil compaction and drought-induced mechanical impedance. Int. Agrophys, 36, 297-307.‏ doi: 10.31545/intagr/154596

Wang, X., et al. (2022). The impact of traffic-induced compaction on soil bulk density, soil stress distribution, and key growth indicators of maize in North China Plain. Agriculture, 12(8), 1220. doi: 10.3390/agriculture12081220.







How to Cite

Soil Compaction Induced by Different Tillage Systems and its Impact on Growth and Yield of Maize (Zea Mays L.): Soil Compaction Induced by Different Tillage Systems and its Impact on Growth and Yield of Maize (Zea Mays L.): A Review. (2024). University of Thi-Qar Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(1), 185-200.