Controlled traffic farming: A new track for soil and weed control in organic farming


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Each passage with the tractor on the field results in at least superficial soil compaction. In compacted soil, the growth of crops is inhibited and the soil processes are disturbed.
With controlled traffic farming (CTF) using real-time kinematic positioning, it is possible to drive on the same track for all operations and create tramlines. Real time kinematic positioning is a technique that enhances the navigation-precision by means of satellite-based positioning systems (like GPS). The approach can be adapted to the specifics of a farm (existing equipment, land, crops, etc.).
The soil between the tracks remains undisturbed. Its structure is crumbly and thus optimal for plant growth. Practical information • Controlled traffic farming is a system approach that has an effect on the entire farm. Good preparation is necessary, e.g., by getting informed from colleagues who already use CTF. • Depending on the farm and the available mechanization (esp. working width), there are several ways to work with tramlines. Examples are bed-cultivation with a 1.5 to 3.2 m track width or a default track-width (often 1.5 m) with standardized, often wide machines (3 to 9 m in width). • Use standard equipment and standard working widths that are used on your own and on neighbouring operations (e.g. farmer-colleagues, agricultural contractors) as much as possible. Also, bear future developments of your own operation in mind. • Provide tramlines that are 10 to 20 cm wider to minimize the impact on the crop. Light equipment is still required. • Ensure proper preparation in the field: How do you configure the parcels? Which driving direction will you use? Which side of the parcel will you choose as a reference? Choose AB lines with correct distances to the parcel border. • It also provides new possibilities for diversity in the plot e.g., strip cultivation/flowers strip that result in more resilient farming systems.
Soil quality and fertility, Nutrient management, Weed management
English, Dutch language

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