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Managing machinery-soil interactions

The AgroTechnoPôle platform boasts a differentiating position in the value chain for the production of new technologies for agriculture, with the development of solutions and the qualification of performance “from Bench to Field” and “from Field to Bench” under controlled and therefore reproducible conditions, thanks to its unique resources (infrastructure and equipment).

The “Controlling machine-soil interactions” theme studies the various impacts and interactions between machine sub-assemblies (tires, tracks, associated tool components) and the terrain in which they are used.

Existing equipment and infrastructure

Existing original and structuring means of investigation can be mobilized.

On the Montoldre site

The AgroTechnoPôle experimental site at Montoldre (03) has experimental plots to support and qualify machine/soil interaction, as well as numerous characterization tools available from INRAE’s UR TSCF for rapid mobilization.


The MONOROUE experimental system measures the efficiency of agricultural tires and machinery (traction, soil compaction).

mesure de l'efficience des pneumatiques
Graph showing the resultant of a tire's traction and slip coefficients

Measured values (torques, forces) are a function of various test conditions and influencing parameters such as applied vertical load, tire type, inflation pressure, type, humidity and soil hardness.

Two possible control methods are used: constant torque operation and constant tractive effort operation.

Complementary measurements of bar force, torque, wheel angular velocity and actual travel speed provide the parameters for determining efficiency.


The AgroTechnoPôle also boasts the SoilXplorer soil characterization tool, which can be used to produce electromagnetic soil response maps.

SoilXPlorer tool
soilxplorer conductivit‚
Conductivity measurement on soil

Based on electromagnetic radar, it enables the mapping of the plot of land to be characterized, based mainly on soil texture and moisture levels.

3D laser rangefinder

The AgroTechnoPôle (INRAE’s UR TSCF) also has a high-precision 3D characterization device (FARO Focus 3D X130) which, in the theme presented, can be used to quantify a 3D rutting/impaction map of a tire.

Rutting characterization device

New equipment and infrastructure

New structuring facilities and infrastructures

This differentiating equipment, unique in the world, requires considerable technical and financial investment. They will serve as support for all the players and stakeholders in the world of agriculture, as well as for the AgroTechnoPôle’s referent companies involved in structuring the platform.

Section 2: Large floor pans

bacs … sol
Modeling of future soil tanks at the Montoldre site

To accurately characterize the impact of vehicles/machines/tools and encourage the development of new soil-friendly technological solutions and practices, the AgroTechnoPôle will be equipping itself with four large-scale soil tanks (120m x 30 m). These bins will be composed of four different clay contents (7%, 10%, 25% and 70%) over a thickness of 0.4 m. They will be completed by 4 deep pits with the same clay content over a 1.5 m horizon.

All these installations will be equipped with associated measuring equipment (pressure probes, humidity sensors, etc.) and irrigation facilities to modify the characteristics as required.

Section 2 is unique in that it offers 4 different homogeneous soil types on the same site, enabling objective, quantified assessment of technologies under repeatable, controlled conditions. These supports will be used for all kinds of purposes and investigations, from characterizing traction efficiency in a tire/soil linkage scheme, to work on motricity and associated energy efficiency, trajectory tracking or robot adaptability to changing soil textures. They can also be used to characterize sub-assemblies with regard to agricultural machinery/soil interactions, such as the sowing elements of seeding machines. These resources will feed the digital models that accompany all new developments.

fosses profondes 1
fosses profondes 2
fosses profondes 3

Deep pits for determination longitudinal pressure profiles at different depths

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