Controlled traffic farming has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits for farmers that will ultimately boost productivity and improve environmental outcomes.
The practice is designed to reduce soil compaction caused by miss-matched farm machinery wheel spacings and maintain a healthier soil structure through minimal tillage. Less tillage also reduces the potential for erosion.
While the many benefits – such as fuel savings, less wheel damage to stools, reduced tillage and more accurate placement of planting material, fertiliser and herbicides – are clear, the move takes time and patience as many farmers have discovered.
Steven Bonso and his father Leo have reduced soil compaction levels by converting from 1.6m to wider 1.8m rows. With the help of an Australian Government Reef Trust III grant through the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP) the Bonsos installed GPS guidance on their tractor to widen it, as well as their two-row planter and spray boom. They are reaping the benefits in reduced harvesting costs, improved soil health and the potential for higher yields in the future. Read more.
Paul Gregory shows how he is converting his farm to a 1.85m GPS-mapped controlled traffic system, working with the geography of the landscape to create firm traffic ways and soft growing zones. Paul says his decision was based on improving productivity and profitability, as well as the associated environmental benefits to his farm and the surrounding landscape. Watch more.