Heavy sugarbeet harvesters may compact subsoil. But it is very difficult to study this by field experiments that resemble agricultural practice. Therefore, an analysis was made by a finite element method (FEM) for a relevant calcaric fluvial soil profile, the mechanical properties of which were largely known. Measuring data of this Lobith loam soil includes preconsolidation stress, compression index and swelling index, all as a function of depth. Using these three types of soil parameters calculations have been done for tyre sizes, inflation pressures and wheel loads that occur with heaviest sugarbeet harvesters available on the European market in 1999. Because no values on soil cohesion were available, the calculations were done for several cohesion levels. The results include the detection of regions with Mohr-Coulomb plasticity and regions with cap plasticity (compaction hardening). For the soil studied-a typical soil strength profile for arable land with ploughpan in the Netherlands in the autumn of 1977-all studied combinations of wheel load and inflation pressure did not induce compaction in and below the ploughpan. The size of the region with Mohr-Coulomb plasticity decreased with increasing cohesion. It appeared from a sensitivity analysis that, although soil modelling may use a great number of soil parameters, the most important parameters seem to be: preconsolidation stress and cohesion. There is an urgent need for data of these parameters that are measured on a great range of subsoils and subsoil conditions. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Poodt, M. P., Koolen, A. J., & Linden, J. P. (2003). FEM analysis of subsoil reaction on heavy wheel loads with emphasis on soil preconsolidation stress and cohesion. Soil & Tillage Research, 73(1-2), 67-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-1987(03)00100-4