Review: Soil compaction and controlled traffic farming in arable and grass cropping systems
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There is both circumstantial and direct evidence which demonstrates the significant productivity and sustainability benefits associated with adoption of controlled traffic farming (CTF). These benefits may be fully realised when CTF is jointly practiced with no-tillage and assisted by the range of precision agriculture (PA) technologies available. Important contributing factors are those associated with improved trafficability and timeliness of field operations. Adoption of CTF is therefore encouraged as a technically and economically viable option to improve productivity and resource-use efficiency in arable and grass cropping systems. Studies on the economics of CTF consistently show that it is a profitable technological innovation for both grassland and arable landuse. Despite these benefits, global adoption of CTF is still relatively low, with the exception of Australia where approximately 30% of the grain production systems are managed under CTF. The main barriers for adoption of CTF have been equipment incompatibilities and the need to modify machinery to suit a specific system design, often at the own farmers’ risk of loss of product warranty. Other barriers include reliance on contracting operations, land tenure systems, and road transport regulations. However, some of the barriers to adoption can be overcome with forward planning when conversion to CTF is built into the machinery replacement programme, and organisations such as ACTFA in Australia and CTF Europe Ltd. in Central and Northern Europe have developed suitable schemes to assist farmers in such a process.