Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Road Research

Research Topics

Orange barrels on a highway

The Effects of Implements of Husbandry "Farm Equipment" on Pavement Performance

Within the past few decades, there has been significant change in both farm size andImplement of Husbandry farm equipment. This change in size combined with regulatory emphasis encouraging farmers to store manure as a liquid and apply it in a short time frame, has caused the farm equipment industry to respond with the shift in production towards larger and heavier manure hauling and application equipment. This shift has occurred at a faster rate than both pavement design technology and the state regulatory precautions have been able to monitor and test. Innovations such as steer able axles, flotation tires, and tire design changes are not reflected in state DOT regulations. This has forced the adoption of equipment and practices that, while complying with the letter of the law, can create excessive and expensive pavement damage.

The regional aspect of this project is a major selling point. Many states in the Upper Midwest have the same concerns about heavy farm equipment, and the pooled fund study framework allows for these states to combine their resources and research on common issues. This project will study the current version of a number of vehicles to attempt to create an average basis of conclusion for the effects of Implements of Husbandry. The basic framework, capabilities and knowledge for this research might be of interest to other industries in the future such as tire manufacturers, logging trucks, mining vehicles, forage harvesting equipment, and other heavy farm equipment to stay in accordance with state and national regulations.

Previous research on farm equipment has been conducted in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota yielding valuable information.

The objectives of this study are to determine the pavement response under various types of agricultural equipment (including the impacts of different tires and additional axles) and to compare this response to that under a typical 5-axle semi tractor-trailer. This was accomplished by constructing new instrumented test sections at MnROAD and retrofitting instrumentation into two existing concrete test sections.

Work Plan

Reports and Publications


Pooled Fund Study Website