Soil compaction in areas under no-tillage has been pointed as a problem faced by farmers, particularly in areas with clay soils. Compaction is mainly caused by machinery traffic when the adequate soil moisture is not respected. Straw on the soil surface, by creating a physical barrier between the wheel and the ground may be a factor to minimize compaction. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of millet straw on soil surface in reducing compaction caused by the tractor wheels. The experiment consisted of four treatments of straw quantity on surface (without straw and 5, 10 and 15 Mg ha-1) and three straw managements (standing up, lying down and fragmented). After the tractor passage, penetration resistance, water content, density and total porosity of soil were evaluated on the area where the wheel passed over. Density and porosity were not affected by wheel traffic. Treatments with straw had higher water content and as a result less resistance. There was no significant difference on resistance and soil moisture among straw management treatments. For an equal soil water content, higher densities of straw resulted in lower penetration resistance, which indicates less compaction.
no-tillage; soil resistance; agricultural machinery traffic