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. 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 transdisciplinary 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 first identify and 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 (e.g. presentation of farm-scale maps of compaction risk) 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, and further, 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 longer-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 site- specific conditions and may change the design and development of machinery to reduce their negative impact on soil, to help protect our non-renewable soil resource.