A comparative study of conventional and controlled traffic in irrigated cotton: I. Heavy machinery impact on the soil resource

Bennett, John McL. and Roberton, Stirling D. and Jensen, Troy A. and Antille, Diogenes L. and Hall, Jake (2017) A comparative study of conventional and controlled traffic in irrigated cotton: I. Heavy machinery impact on the soil resource. Soil and Tillage Research, 168. pp. 143-154. ISSN 0167-1987


To increase in-field efficiency of mechanical operations, machines have increased in size and capacity, which has resulted in cotton pickers approaching 40 Mg in mass. Such mass presents concern for soil compaction and subsequent crop performance. Controlled traffic farming (CTF) is a useful means to reduce machine impact, but is not highly adopted globally. This investigation was designed to compare a standard cotton picker side-by-side to a CTF converted cotton picker in terms of soil resource impact. A replicated, side-by-side, commercial scale experiment was instigated with a 1.5 m row-spacing CTF system compared against a 1.0 m row-spacing standard cotton system. Soil moisture, bulk density, and strength were measured immediately prior and post harvest, along with crop yield, for two cotton seasons and one wheat season. In depth cotton quality, water use efficiency and economic analysis are undertaken in a companion paper. Both machines were shown to induce comparable soil compaction, effects detectable to 0.8 m soil depth, with the main difference being a 17% reduction in furrow traffic for the CTF system. The inner and outer dual wheel of the standard picking system had similar impact, effectively creating a horizontal compaction pan at 0.35–0.40 m depth, perpendicular to the direction of machine travel. Bio-ripping of this compaction pan by wheat was demonstrated as ineffectual. The CTF system grew less cotton plants per hectare, but outperformed the standard system. Bio-ripping more effectively accessed water in the CTF system and out yielded the conventional system by 60%.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 23:49
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2018 05:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: soil strength, consolidation, soil compaction management
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050305 Soil Physics
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070399 Crop and Pasture Production not elsewhere classified
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410605 Soil physics
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300499 Crop and pasture production not elsewhere classified
40 ENGINEERING > 4099 Other engineering > 409901 Agricultural engineering
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.12.012
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/30395

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