What is Controlled Traffic Farming

Controlled traffic farming is a crop production system that seeks to minimize compaction from wheel traffic by restricting all equipment to permanent traffic lanes. The goal is to restrict wheel traffic to the least possible area within each field so crops can grow in uncompacted seedbeds. This is accomplished by matching up all equipment widths and axle widths so every farming activity travels down the same path each year. The result is a reduction in inputs (time, fuel, and machinery), an increase in efficiency (moisture, nutrients, and sunlight) and an increase in output (yield).

Benefits of Controlled Traffic Farming

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Typical Machinery Pattern without Controlled Traffic

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4350 ha                            Conventional            CTF                             Benefit
Soil Loss  (tons) 273,000 78,000 90%
Fuel Use  (Liters) 338,000 130,000 60%
Nitrogen Loss 119 kg 9kg 90%
Carbon Dioxide
Loss  (tons)
1199 373 70%
Labor 4590 1744 60%
Annual income $ 1652599 2586230 44%
Gross Margin $ 547,279 918,366 68%
       

Water infiltration rates increase. Reducing the effects of drought and improving soil health.

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Pore space collapse, reduce oxygen availability to microbes that converts nutrients to plant available.

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Photos of Russian farm Fields – Effects of Machinery Traffic

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Combines – Tillage – Fertilizer Spreaders

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Summary:

  • CTF takes time to maximize benefits
  • CTF is not tram lines, or prescriptive tillage
  • A Balanced soil fertility, soil health program will increase the benefits of all technology decisions that are successfully proven and experienced

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Solutions

  1. Size machinery to multiples width Example 36 M sprayer, 18 M seeder, 9 M grain table

9 meter ripper, 18 meter field cultivator

  1. Use RTK, store AB lines and follow every year
  2. Develop areas for trucks to stay on edge of field and never in the field, use modern grain carts
  3. Tire and axle spacing to fit between the rows
  4. Use grain carts and practice dump on the go field procedures to keep the combine light
  5. Do not work wet soils
  6. Planter tractors with narrow duals or triples
  7. Tillage tractors, tracks, wide duals
  8. Grain carts, combines, as much tires or tracks possible
  9. Remove “excessive” weights from tractors when not needed. Ex. Grain cart, Seed bed prep, Seeder
  10. Sprayers for corn with narrow tires, travel with seeder tractor
  11. Use sprayers for wheat , wider booms, can drive pattern from before
  12. Adopt Strip tillage, no till technology
  13. Use correct cover crop methods

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Use Sugar Beet Carts on Traks

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Conclusion

Controlled traffic farming is another way to combat soil compaction. 

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