Field evaluation of controlled traffic farming in central Europe using commercially available machinery

Galambosova, J. and Macak, M. and Rataj, V. and Antille, D. L. and Godwin, R. J. and Chamen, W. C. T. and Zitnak, M. and Vitazkova, B. and Dudak, J. and Chlpik, J. (2017) Field evaluation of controlled traffic farming in central Europe using commercially available machinery. Transactions of the ASABE, 60 (3). pp. 657-669. ISSN 2151-0032

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The progressive increase in the size and weight of farm machinery causes concerns due to the increased risk of
soil compaction that arises from non-organized vehicle traffic. Controlled traffic farming (CTF) offers an effective means to manage compaction by confining all load-bearing wheels to the least possible area of permanent traffic lanes. Although CTF is relatively well-established in Australia and in some countries in Northern Europe, its benefits and suitability for Central European conditions have not been demonstrated. A long-term experimental site was established in 2010 in Nitra, Slovakia, using a 6 m 'OutTrac-CTF' system with shallow non-inversion tillage practices. The 16 ha experimental field of loam soil is representative of land used for arable cropping in Central Europe. Four traffic intensities (non-trafficked, one
traffic event per year with a single pass, multiple passes with permanent traffic lanes, and random traffic) were evaluated using two traffic systems: controlled (CTF) and non-controlled traffic farming (referred to as random traffic farming or RTF). This article reports the findings derived from the first four years of the project and focuses on the effects of traffic systems on yields observed in cereal crops (winter wheat, spring barley, and maize) grown at the site in a rotation cycle. Significant differences (p < 0.1) in yield are reported due to the heterogeneity of the field and the seasonal effect of weather. The results of this investigation suggest that CTF systems have potential to increase production sustainably in arable farming
systems in Central Europe. Well-designed CTF systems using commercially available machinery allow for reductions
in the area affected by traffic of up to 50% compared with random, non-organized traffic systems. Results also show that in years when soil moisture was not limiting, the yield penalty from a single (annual) machine pass was relatively small (~5%). However, in dry years, compaction caused by multiple machinery passes may lead to yield losses of up to 33%. When considering the ratio of non-trafficked to trafficked area within the different CTF systems evaluated in this study, yield improvements of up to 0.5 t ha-1 for cereals are possible when converting from RTF to CTF. Given the assumptions made in the analyses, such yield increases translate into increased revenues of up to 117 USD ha-1 (1 Euro= 1.1 USD). For Central European farming systems, the main benefit of CTF appears to be improved efficiency and enhanced agronomic stability, especially in dry seasons, where the significant yield penalty from machinery passes is likely.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 01:56
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2018 02:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: crop performance, economic return, field efficiency, soil compaction, traffic systems, yield penalty
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070107 Farming Systems Research
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
Fields of Research (2020): 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300207 Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300403 Agronomy
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
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.13031/trans.11833

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