Image3_Spatio-Temporal High-Resolution Subsoil Compaction Risk Assessment for a 5-Years Crop Rotation at Regional Scale.TIF
Soil compaction results whenever applied soil stress by machinery exceed the soil strength. Both, soil strength and stress, are spatially and temporally highly variable, depending on the weather situation, the current crop type, and the machinery used. Thus, soil compaction risk is very dynamic, changes from day to day and from field to field. The objective of this study was to analyze the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil compaction risk and to identify hot-spot areas of high soil compaction risk at regional scale. Therefore, we selected a study area (∼2,000 km2) with intensive arable farming in Northern Germany, having a high share of cereals, maize and sugar beets. Sentinel-2 images were used to derive the crop types for a 5-years crop rotation (2016–2020). We calculated the soil compaction risk using an updated version of the SaSCiA-model (Spatially explicit Soil Compaction risk Assessment) for each single day of the period, with a spatial resolution of 20 m. The results showed the dynamic changes of soil compaction risk within a year and throughout the entire crop rotation. The relatively dry years 2016 and 2018–2020 reduced the soil compaction risk even at high wheel loads applied to soil during maize and sugar beet harvest. Contrary, high precipitation in 2017 increased the soil compaction risk considerably. Focusing on the complete 5-year period, 2.7% of the cropland area was identified as hot-spots of soil compaction risk, where the highest soil compaction risk class (“extremely high”) occurred every year. Additionally, 39.8% of the cropland was affected by “extremely high” soil compaction at least in one of the 5 years. Although the soil compaction risk analysis does not provide information on the actual extent of the compacted area, the identification of risk areas within a period may contribute to understand the dynamics of soil compaction risk in crop rotation at regional scale and provide advice to mitigate further soil compaction in areas classified as high risk.