THE low adoption of Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) practices throughout Australian broadacre farming areas has soil scientists baffled as to why more farmers haven’t tapped into its many advantages.
By confining weight-bearing machinery wheels to permanent tracks across a paddock, CTF effectively limits soil compaction to about 15 per cent of the paddock and leaves the remaining soil to regenerate and lift crop yield potential.
Despite the system being heralded as a breakthrough for farming nearly two decades ago, a recent survey of eastern Australian grain farmers found that only 13pc were using three-metre CTF, 21pc were using a combination of two-metre and three-metre CTF, and 66pc were using none at all.
Speaking at the 9th CTF conference in Mildura, Victoria, last week, CTF Solutions consultant Don Yule, Brisbane, said the survey showed a general lack of understanding by growers and advisers of the principles and application of CTF.
Mr Yule said there was a need for more industry and government funding to address the knowledge and application gap.
He said another impediment to adoption had been the lack of standards and compatibility across machinery, technology and software.
“We are still seeking funding and are looking at a model that focuses on the education and training of farmers, agronomists and machinery dealers,” he said.
“I think an enormous amount of money is wasted now on generating information. We are just deluged with information. There is more than enough information. We just need it to be applied more on the ground.”
Mr Yule said CTF should be viewed as a holistic farming system which, when combined with other technologies such as no-till, reduced soil constraints, increased yield potential and cut fuel and chemical use.