Tillage Translocatiom and Tillage Erosion
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Soil Translocation Laboratory

The Soil Translocation Laboratory was established in the spring of 2006. This research facility provides information that will greatly improve our understanding and control of soil movement by tillage. In doing so, it will improve our understanding of the causes and management of soil-landscape variability.

Then centerpiece of the Soil Translocation Laboratory is a multipurpose soil bin. It is the only soil bin in the world designed specifically for experiments on soil translocation by tillage. The soil bin has a number of innovative features. The bin can be inclined to a maximum longitudinal gradient of 20 %. The surface of the soil within the bin can be formed to create a maximum transverse gradient of 40 %. Where transverse gradient equals 0 % and longitudinal gradient varies, tillage up and down slope is simulated. Where longitudinal gradient equals 0 % and transverse gradient varies, tillage across slope contours is simulated. Where both longitudinal and transverse gradients vary, tillage diagonally across slopes is simulated; for example, where both are 20 %, tillage at an angle of 45º across a 22 % slope is simulated. By forming the surface within the soil bin, it is possible to create a variety of surface forms at a range of scales (surface roughness features to undulations). The width of the bin (2.0 m) and the design of the tool carriage allow tool spacing (forward and lateral) to be examined. The tool carriage can be operated in fixed or trailed modes. The hydraulic drive and break systems allow maximum operating speeds of 20 km/hr over the central third of the soil bin’s 22 m length. The soil bin is modular (2m x 2m segments that are interchangeable) allowing for a variety of soils and soil conditions to be examined. A computer system is used to control tillage operations and monitor soil conditions.

The soil bin is equipped to monitor soil movement during tillage. A Laser Profiling System (LPS) with four lasers operating in sync is used to generate real-time surfaces of soil flowing around and between tillage tools. Soil movement can be monitored in either of Two frames of reference by fixing the LPS to the tool carriage frame or the soil bin structure. The LPS is coupled with high-speed digital video cameras to allow soil movement to be examined using digital image analysis. The LPS and cameras can also be used on field equipment to monitor soil movement in the field as well as in the laboratory.

Financial support for this research facility was received from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Manitoba Innovation Fund (MIF), the Agricultural Research and Development Initiative (ARDI), INO Ltd., and the University of Manitoba. The laboratory is situated at the University of Manitoba and is jointly operated by the Departments of Soil Science and Biosystems Engineering.


Tillage Translocatiom and Tillage Erosion is a subsite of the Soil Science Dept , University of Manitoba