Soil Compaction

Soil compaction can severely impact the productivity, profitability and environmental consequences of farming today. These impacts include decreased water infiltration, increased soil erosion, reduced yield, reduced nutrient uptake, increased input cost, reduced root growth and rooting depth, reduced water holding capacity, and reduced water and soil quality. Questions about Soil Compaction and this page can be directed to Alex Barrie, OMAFRA ( or Ian McDonald, OMAFRA (

Interpreting Compaction Data

Interpreting Results from the Recorded Sensor Output

It is critical that you understand the limitations of the data and how to use the information. This is especially true if you are trying to decide on equipment modifications, and/or purchase. This data comes from public demonstrations like the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario (IFAO) Compaction Action Day on September 7, 2017. Please remember that events like this are:

  1. A demonstration, not rigorous research
  2. One field, one time, one soil moisture (a snapshot of one scenario)
  3. 1-3 runs across a series of possibly 4 different sensor installations over 3 days
  4. Multiple equipment configurations crossing the sensors without a true “check” treatment to ensure sensor quality
  5. 4 different sensor installations, each giving slightly different values
  6. Some equipment only crossed one installation, in this case no “repetitions” exist

Given the constraints above, the results are reflective of the relative differences between technologies demonstrated. A range of implement types and equipment technologies were tested, and it is the technology that is important, not the brand of tractor or combine. Any of the configurations of axles, tires, weight, and inflation pressures are adaptable to any make or model. From hay wagons to combines, almost all types of implements were represented and tested. You can read more about interpreting soil compaction results here.

Reports from Major Events

The Field Crop News team and the Ontario Soil Compaction Team collect soil compaction data from unique equipment configurations at farm shows across the province. You can download final event reports from this page.

Elgin SCIA Event, 2019

The Elgin SCIA Event was held in Shedden on August 8, 2019. The soil at the site was a Tuscola Silt that most would classify as a clay.

Dundas SCIA Event, 2019

The Dundas SCIA Event was held in Winchester on August 29, 2019. The soil at the site was a Tuscola Silt that most would classify as a clay.

Perth SCIA Event, 2022

The Perth SCIA Compaction Event was held in Rostock on August 4 and 5, 2022. The soil at the site was primarily a Perth Clay Loam (40-55% clay).

Hamilton-Brant SCIA Event, 2022

The Hamilton-Brant SCIA Compaction Event was held in Ancaster on August 11, 2022. The soil at the site was primarily a Haldimand Heavy Clay (40-55% clay) close to a Brantford Soil, and the soil was wet for the entire depth of 36″.

Compaction Trial Datasheets Archive (coming soon)

The Field Crop News team collects soil compaction data from unique equipment configurations. The reports section of this page contains the results of this testing. A searchable database with results from individual pieces of equipment will be made available in the future.