The whole-farm benefits of controlled traffic farming: An Australian appraisal
Controlled traffic farming (CTF) uses a range of technologies to confine traffic-induced compaction to permanently defined tramlines within a farm's cropping area. CTF concentrates and improves trafficability whilst simultaneously supporting soil structure improvement between tramlines, thereby raising crop yields and offering other advantages such as reduced overlap that saves on crop inputs. This study uses whole-farm modelling to assess the profitability and role of CTF in different farming systems in Australian dryland agriculture. Farming system scenarios with and without the CTF are compared. Stepwise analysis, combined with sensitivity analysis, reveals the characteristics of CTF that most affect its value. Results indicate that the most valuable aspect of the technology is its beneficial impact on the yield and quality of crops grown on soils most subject to compaction. Hence, on farms dominated by these soils and where their faming system emphasizes cropping, CTF forms an especially valuable role. For a typical farm in the study region, employing conservative measures, farm profit increases by around 50% through use of CTF. Hence, CTF represents a remarkably profitable innovation for farming systems, offering input savings and output increases.
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