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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram

ERA NET ICT-AGRI-FOOD SoCoRisk Implementation of soil compaction risk assessment system – end-user's evaluation of potentials and barriers

Awarded: NOK 1.4 mill.

Soils are the basis for crop production. However, soil compaction due to traffic with modern agricultural machinery is one of the major threats to soil quality. Ever increasing weights of farm machinery particularly result in compaction of the subsoil (the soil below tillage depth). Subsoil compaction is particularly serious because it is effectively persistent. Compaction adversely affects soil ecosystem services, in particular regulating services (e.g. flood control) and production services (e.g. agricultural production), resulting in significant ecological and economic damage to farmers and society. It is well documented that current agricultural practice entails a high risk for subsoil compaction. One of the measures that would help mitigate soil compaction would be a user-friendly decision support system. Terranimo®, (www.terranimo.dk) is an online decision support system for evaluation of the soil compaction risk during field traffic. However, the use of Terranimo® in its current online version to plan field operations is still limited both among farmers and in the advisory services. The aim of this project is to integrate the use of Terranimo® into farmers strategic planning of field operations and investments in machinery. Terranimo® calculate the soil compaction risk by the comparison of the soil strength and the mechanical stress applied by agricultural machinery. Generally, wet soils are weaker, and the risk of soil compaction is then larger compared with a dry soil. The climate change with more rainfall before and during the time of field operations can imply more serious soil compaction. The mechanical stress is depending on many factors related to the agricultural machinery such as weight, tyres, inflation pressure, contact area etc. Data for soil type and soil moisture content is given manually or may be found by selecting the position for the field on Google map. The agricultural machinery is described on a data page. The results from the calculation of soil strength and mechanical stress can be compared and visualised in a diagram for the different tyres on the agricultural machinery. If the blue line (mechanical stress) is in the red part of the diagram the soil will be exposed for plastic deformation which implies that the soil will be serious compacted. On the other hand if the blue line is in the green area the compaction risk is small. In this project we are five participating countries; Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The consortium covers a north-south gradient, which implies different climates and hence different compaction risks and different time windows of feasibility for field operations and in addition, a gradient in the length of the growing season. The Norwegian activity is located in central Norway (Trøndelag) at four farms with different productions (grain producer, grass producer (milk farm), combination of grain and grass production and if possible also potato production). The Norwegian Agricultural Extension Service (NLR) will be central in this work which will be done in cooperation with the farmers. The experiences from this exercise will allow us to compare between countries and take into account the socio-geographical specificities of each country. So far vi have decided on three farms to be included in the case study; 1. Grass og milk production, 2. Grain, 3. Grass entrepreneur A group of about 10 farmers included the farmers from the case study, will take part in the Living Lab activity. Preparation for the first Living Lab meeting (18.11.21) has started and we will focus on soil compaction and how Terranimo® is functioning (calculation of soil strength and mechanical stress from machinery) in addition to what Terranimo® can be used to in its current version. The objective of the first meeting in the Living Lab is to identify opportunities and barriers for farmers to use Terranimo as a strategic decision-support tool to avoid soil compaction. Ruralis will have an important role in the Living Lab activity.

Ever increasing weights of farm machinery particularly result in compaction of the subsoil (the soil below tillage depth) – subsoil compaction is particularly serious because it is effectively persistent. Compaction adversely affects soil ecosystem services, in particular regulating services (e.g. flood control) and production services (e.g. agricultural production), resulting in significant ecological and economic damage to farmers and society. The aim of this project is to integrate the use of Terranimo®, a decision support tool for prevention of soil compaction, into farmer’s strategic planning. We will use a broad approach involving soil scientists, agronomists, and social scientists as well as farmers, contractors, advisers and representatives from authorities. In particular, end-users, i.e. farmers, will have a central role – we will select 4 to 5 farms as case studies in each of the five participating countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Italy). Within living labs, we will address potentials and barriers of using Terranimo along a north-south gradient in Europe, and for a range of farming systems. Based on the identified barriers and potentials, we will develop new ways of using Terranimo® for farmers’decisions. The ambition is to improve farmers’ day-to-day planning of field operations, including hiring of contractors with their respective machinery, but also, to enable strategic planning of investments in new machinery and adjustments to crop rotations based on identification of critical field operations. An immediate output from this project is an improved use of Terranimo by farmers to reduce the risk of soil compaction. In a long-term perspective, the improved awareness and sensitivity to soil compaction problems due to Terranimo decision support may result in a better alignment of crop rotations and farm machinery to sitespecific conditions and may change the design and development of machinery to reduce their negative impact on soil.

Activity:

BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram