SOIL compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing pore space between them. Heavily compacted soils consequently have a greater density. Soil compaction can lead to reduced biological activity, porosity and permeability, strength is increased and soil structure is partly destroyed (European Commission, 2014). Compaction is as a result of three main factors:

  • Force applied by the passage (poaching) of animals
  • Force applied by mechanical agriculture
  • High levels of precipitation
  • In Ireland this means that the potential for soil compaction is greater due to wet soil conditions. Irish agriculture is dominated by grasslands - managing compaction is vital and requires prudent management practices to maintain sustainability.