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Big Wheel Ruts, Big Economic Losses

Big Wheel Ruts, Big Economic Losses
Excessively wet field conditions at harvest throughout the North Central and upper Midwest regions resulted in many fields with deep wheel-traffic compaction as evident by deep ruts from combines and grain wagons. Although this is a common occurrence during years with excessive moisture at harvest, the subsequent economic costs are rarely, if ever, projected for large regions.
In an article recently published in Agricultural & Environmental Letters, researchers review the scientific literature on the persistence and quantity of yield reductions due to deep wheel-traffic compaction and then project the state-level economic costs to farmers that may be expect for the upcoming 2020 and 2021 crops in North Dakota and Minnesota.
The researchers estimate a median of 21% yield reduction to the upcoming 2020 and 2021 corn and soybean crops on lands impacted by deep wheel-traffic compaction during the 2019 harvest. Based on these reductions, they project a minimum economic cost of $587 million USD to farmers for every 10% of lands that were compacted during harvest. 
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