Controlled traffic farming delivers better crop yield of winter bean as a result of improved root development
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This paper reports on the continuation of a long–term experiment on the effects of alternative field traffic systems (STP–random traffic with standard tyre inflation pressure, LTP– random traffic with low tyre inflation pressure and CTF–controlled traffic farming) on soil conditions and crop development as influenced by different tillage depths (DEEP–250 mm, SHALLOW–100 mm and ZERO–tillage), in a randomised 3 x 3 factorial design in 4 replicates launched by Harper Adams University in Edgmond, UK, in 2011. The results from season 2017– 2018 revealed that CTF delivered 8% higher crop yield of winter field bean (Vicia faba) cv. Tundra comparing to STP (p = 0.005), i.e. 4.13 vs 3.82 tonnes ha-1 respectively (at 14% moisture content). The ZERO–tillage plots featured significantly lower plant establishment percentage comparing to shallow and deep tillage: 79% vs 83% and 83% respectively (p = 0.012). The research showed that roots traits differed significantly between contrasting traffic at depths greater than 50mm with p < 0.05 of: tap root biomass, number of lateral roots, biomass of lateral roots as well as total root biomass (tap+lateral roots), delivering significantly greater values of those before mentioned parameters on CTF comparing to STP. Tap root length significantly differed between traffic systems (p < 0.001) giving significantly greater results on CTF comparing to LTP and STP (17.7, 13.4 and 12.6 mm respectively). Significant differences in tap root diameter were found only at the depth of 100 mm (p < 0.001) where again CTF delivered significantly higher root diameter than the remaining 2 traffic systems. In the shallow layer of soil (0–50 mm) a significant difference was found only for tap root biomass, for interactions, where STP ZERO gave significantly higher results than STP SHALLOW and CTF SHALLOW (1.430, 0.733 and 0.716 g respectively).