The use of heavy machinery in agriculture damages the top layer of the soil. Compaction of the soil increases the density of the soil, reduces the amount of air in the soil and impairs the ability to drain excess water. The fertility of compacted soil is reduced by up to 15%, found the Nordic research project. The more compacted the soil, the more the root growth decreases.
Poorer soil structure leads to greater erosion and greater loss of nutrients and to greater use of pesticides. Soil compaction thus leads to a long-term reduction in fertility.Injuries can be deep and go down to 50 cm and it may take an entire generation to recover, or they may even never recover.
Farm machinery must therefore be light to minimize the impact on the soil.
Intuitive electric wheelbarrow is an easy help for sustainable food growing.
The method of tillage and the use of pesticides have the greatest impact on the environment. The impact on the environment is reduced if unploughed soil is used for cultivation using mulches to retain moisture and control weeds.
Mechanization that is designed to support the needs of small producers is therefore also beneficial for sustainable food production. Sustainable food production using fewer pesticides, fewer fertilizers, and antimicrobials, in an organic way with a reduced impact on biodiversity is also supported by the European Green Deal. This promotes such food chains that have a neutral or positive impact on the environment.