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
Typical Machinery Pattern without Controlled Traffic
|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%|
|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.
Pore space collapse, reduce oxygen availability to microbes that convert nutrients to plant available.
Photos of Russian farm Fields – Effects of Machinery Traffic
Combines – Tillage – Fertilizer Spreaders
- CTF takes time to maximize benefits
- CTF is not tram lines or prescriptive tillage
- Balanced soil fertility, soil health program will increase the benefits of all technology decisions that are successfully proven and experienced
- Size machinery to multiples width Example 36 M sprayer, 18 M seeder, 9 M grain table
9-meter ripper, 18-meter field cultivator
- Use RTK, store AB lines and follow every year
- Develop areas for trucks to stay on the edge of a field and never in the field, use modern grain carts
- Tire and axle spacing to fit between the rows
- Use grain carts and practice dump on the go field procedures to keep the combined light
- Do not work wet soils
- Planter tractors with narrow duals or triples
- Tillage tractors, tracks, wide duals
- Grain carts, combines, as many tires or tracks possible
- Remove “excessive” weights from tractors when not needed. Ex. Grain cart, Seedbed prep, Seeder
- Sprayers for corn with narrow tires travel with seeder tractor
- Use sprayers for wheat, wider booms, can drive pattern from before
- Adopt Strip tillage, no-till technology
- Use correct cover crop methods
Use Sugar Beet Carts on Traks
Controlled traffic farming is another way to combat soil compaction.