Soil compaction. Not only does it happen during seeding, spraying and harvesting, it also occurs every time someone drives the truck across the field. According to Australian farmer Rod Ruwoldt, this is costing much more than farmers imagine.
A keynote speaker in late January at FarmTech 2010 in Edmonton, Ruwoldt said that compaction makes weeds grow, stops water infiltration, kills soil biology and ultimately reduces yield. So that means it costs more fuel to seed, spray and harvest.
One of the ways he has overcome the challenge is by incorporating a Controlled Traffic Farming system, which simply means that the wheel tracks are kept in the same place year after year by aligning all equipment and wheel spacings so they match the same width. Obviously, this is an ideal system for zero/no-till.
“We’ve been driving everywhere over the years and evenly compacting the whole field so we didn’t notice the compaction as much,” he says. “But when we concentrate the traffic lanes and stop driving everywhere the transformation is amazing.”
See for your self, in this demonstration on controlled traffic farming.
How do you think controlled traffic farming will help North American growers?
Ron Wall is a writer at AdFarm Calgary. He can be contacted directly at Ron.Wall@adfarmonline.com