Soil Moisture Sensor in the Field

Soil compaction can be a significant yield-limitation and conservation concern. Compacted soils often result in poor drainage, increased runoff, reduced soil aeration, and decreased root penetration and subsequent plant-access to available soil moisture. The compaction problem is common on many farms, especially in cool, humid regions of the country with a relatively short growing season (like the Northeastern U.S.).

To remediate deep compaction, producers often employ deep tillage, or subsoiling, in an effort to loosen soil to reduce bulk density and allow for deeper root penetration and improved percolation of soil water. Management practices that involve less soil disturbance, such as cover cropping and no-till, can also help remediate and prevent compaction by improving overall soil health and 'bio-drilling'. Demonstrating user-friendly and inexpensive on-farm soil moisture monitoring, and its meaningfulness to compaction prevention, is needed by farmers working to improve soil health. This project will demonstrate how soil health, and specifically structure, available water capacity, and ability to transmit water, are influenced by management practices intended to alleviate compaction.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator Joshua Faulkner, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture Farming & Climate Change Coordinator, 802-656-3495 or
  • Juan P. Alvez, Pasture Program Technical Coordinator, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture 802-656-6116 or
  • Jeff Carter, Agronomy Specialist,UVM Extension Champlain Valley Crops, Soils & Pasture Team 802-388-4969, ext. 332 or
  • Jenn Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 802-656-0858 or
  • Josef Gorres, Associate Professor, UVM Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, 802-656-9793 or
  • Kimberly Hagen, Grazing Outreach Specialist, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 802-656-3834 or


Interested in knowing more about the Center's work or do you have a question we haven't answered here?  Contact us via email or  802-656-5459 and we'll do our best to help.