Keep your crops on track
Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 29 Aug 2013
Controlled traffic farming (CTF) can increase the average profit from cropped areas on a large-scale Western Australian farm by more than $47 per hectare, crop farm simulation modelling has shown.
The results, included in a new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Controlled Traffic Farming fact sheet, were based on crops yielding 1.2 tonne per hectare on a typical farm in the State’s western central grainbelt in 2012.
Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) researcher Paul Blackwell said the research, funded by Caring for Our Country, showed that about three-quarters of the profit gained came from improved yield and grain quality.
CTF farming systems are built on permanent wheel tracks where the crop zones and traffic zones are separated permanently, typically resulting in higher yielding and more resilient crops.
Dr Blackwell said the use of CTF could help protect the investments that many WA growers made in deep cultivation and liming, especially on deep sandplain soils which were particularly prone to compaction.
“It is important to maximise the potential of these lighter soils which are a particularly valuable asset to growers in dry years, generally producing higher crop yields than heavier soil types, when roots can get to depth,” he said.
“These profitable and reliable soils can greatly benefit from CTF systems applied in addition to deep ripping and correction of sub-soil acidity.”
Dr Blackwell said dry conditions between the end of May and mid-July in much of WA’s northern grainbelt had demonstrated marked differences between crops grown on well managed sandplain soils, and those not well managed.
The GRDC Controlled Traffic Farming fact sheet can be downloaded from www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-ControlledTraffic and was included in the July-August edition of the GRDC magazine Ground Cover.
Caption: WA grower Mark Wandel, who uses CTF systems, featured in a recent edition of GRDC’s Ground Cover magazine.
Paul Blackwell, DAFWA
0429 102 105
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
GRDC Project Code COR00031
Region West, National, North, South