Effects of soil compaction by transportation vechicles on the sugarcane fields of Mumias sugar company
An investigation of soil compaction in the sugarcane fields of Mumias Sugar Company by transport vehicles was conducted between October, 1989 and April, 1990. Studies were conducted for the establ ishment of safe axle loads beyond which detrimental soi I compaction would be induced. The treatment involved running a loaded test vehicle in strips previously chosen at random in a split-split plot experimental design. Safe loads were established on a set critical bulk density and by testing the level of significance of the difference in induced soil compaction between treated from non-treated sections. It 'w as difficult to establish a critical bulk density but the statistical approach produced real istic results. The treatment loads were set slightly higher than the average axle loads induced by trailers of Mumias Sugar Company. Single bundle and high capacity bin-type trailers were found not to induce detrimental soil compaction. Some nucleus estate trailers however caused significant soil compaction particularly in lowland fields. 'Jorking under' soil mo Ls t.u re of 17 to 21" (wet weight), safe loads were found to be payloads of about 9000 and 6770 kg carried by single bundle and nucleus estate trailers (respectively) on 18.4x30 tyres. This corresponded to ground pressures of about 150 kPa.