Design of a New Sensor for Determination of the Effects of Tractor Field Usage in Southern Spain: Soil Sinkage and Alterations in the Cone Index and Dry Bulk Density
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Variations in sinkage and cone index are of crucial importance when planning fieldwork, and for determining the trafficability of farm machinery. Many studies have highlighted the link between higher values of these parameters and dramatic decreases in crop yield. Variations in the dry bulk density and cone index of clayey soil in Southern Spain were measured following each of five successive passes over the same land with the three types of tractor most widely used in the area (tracked, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive). In addition, sinkage (rut depth) of the running gear was measured using a laser microrelief profile meter. This device, which integrates three sensors, was specifically designed for these experiments, as was an electrical penetrometer to determine the cone index, and both instruments proved reliable and accurate in the field. The main goal of this study was to design, manufacture and test these new devices. The first pass caused most soil alteration when compared ...