Auteur: McConnell D.A. and Evans C.
Jaar van uitgifte: 2015
An estimated 70% of grassland soils in England and Wales exhibit signs of surface compaction. Soil compaction can result in reductions in grassland productivity and utilisation, impact on soil traffickability and health, and cause an increase in nitrous oxide emissions. Mechanical aeration of soils has been identified as a potential method of remedying soil structure in compacted soils. However, conflicting evidence exists as to the impact of these techniques on grassland productivity in compacted soils. Two commercial farms in the UK were used to demonstrate the effectiveness of sward-lifting and slit aeration on the dry matter yield and quality of grazing pastures. One site was located on a sandy loam soil and one on a clay loam soil. Average precipitation on the two farms ranged from 710 to 800 mm per annum. Both sites are located on improved, lowland grassland. Aeration was undertaken in the autumn and grass growth and utilisation were measured in the following season. Across both farms, grass yield response to surface aeration varied from -18 to +11% when compared with a non-aerated area. Negative results obtained at one site probably reflect inappropriate soil conditions at the time of aeration. There was no identifiable impact on sward quality.