Wheel tracks in a field can lead to soil compaction and depending on the depth can have a key impact on a crops yield potential.
Marla Riekman. a soil management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, says soil compaction is more of an issue when your soil is moist and near capacity:
"Your soils are lubricated, the water that's in the soil can allow that soil to kind of move around. It's reduced in shear strength and now those big pores are filled with air. They've been allowed to drain, they can be crushed. The small pores are water-filled, they hold in place."
It's those large pores that get compacted making it harder for the plant roots to work their way through the soil to find water and nutrients.
She says soil compaction is becoming more of an issue with the larger, heavier equipment adding that several studies have been done looking at equipment with tires vs tracks.
"It really doesn't matter that much whether it is a track or a tire that is on the implement. What matters essentially is if you are dealing with tires, dual specifically, or kind of wide low inflation tires. The inflation rate, how much pressure there is, that is going to be more influential."
Riekman says you have more length to the tire track when it has been deflated or at its lower inflation rate versus when it's more rounded and inflated.
"You don't get the same tire impact as the tire kind of rounds out more, it doesn't function as well when it's too rounded compared to when it's at its proper inflation."