The SMART FARM

AUDIO WORKSHOP

A listen as you go workshop:

Resilient mixed farming systems in Victoria and New South Wales through controlled traffic farming

This Audio Workshop takes a look at different perspectives on a a common misconception that livestock and controlled traffic farming (CTF) are not compatible.

This is not the case, the benefits of matching the widths and tracks of all cropping operations to confine compaction to permanent wheel tracks are applicable to both cropping only and mixed farming operations.

Benefits of confining compaction to permanent wheel tracks include:

 

  • Better infiltration, aeration, soil water holding capacity = better yield & quality.
  • Less run-off = less soil loss, therefore less soil, fertiliser and chemical pollution of waterways.
  • More soil biota – particularly earthworms.
  • Less nitrous oxide emissions and denitrification loss of soil nitrogen.
  • Hard, permanent traffic lanes = less fuel and power, more timely operations.
  • More timely operations and better input efficiency enable transformational agronomy that leads to better farm profitability and rural community resilience to extreme events such as droughts and floods.
Sheep walking on wheeltracks
John Deere Machinery
Field Walk
Earthworms in soil
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Livestock only impact the top 5-10 cm of soil that is generally disturbed during seeding each season.

In contrast, compaction from cropping machinery will effect the soil profile to a depth of 50 cm or more, reducing plant root access to moisture and nutrients. Trampling by livestock can destroy soil pores and reduce infiltration, so grazing in any farming system, and particularly in wet clay soils, must be managed to minimise damage.

Some farmers separate their cropping and livestock enterprises so grazing occurs in areas not suited to cropping, such as rocky and hilly country, or low lying areas prone to waterlogging that might be better suited to growing pasture. Others will graze their sheep as part of a crop pasture rotation. Many CTF farmers observe that sheep often follow the firm wheel tracks and graze the chaff from the wheel track zone if it has been diverted there by the harvester.

Adopting controlled traffic can require significant changes in machinery, farm layouts and farming operations so it would be very expensive to change in one year. Most successful CTF farms have taken at least 10 years to be fully matched as they have upgraded machinery to suit the system in line with their machinery investment plan.

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This podcast series will share tips and tricks from farmers, consultants, machinery technicians and researchers about how to put controlled traffic into practice. Topics include farmer case studies of CTF in mixed farming systems, machinery matching and GPS guidance systems, surface water management planning and benefits of CTF, including the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD & LISTEN

MORE EPISODES TO COME

Details to be confirmed soon

Follow the Talking CTF Podcast on Spotify

This Audio Workshop is being published on the Talking CTF Podcast on Spotify. Follow the show wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Each podcast to be added as available

For more information contact Bindi Isbister (ACTFA Chair) Bindi.Isbister@dpird.wa.gov.au

Acknowledgements

This activity was funded by ACTFA’s National Landcare Program Smart Farms Project 4-EALL5X “Resilient mixed farming systems in Victoria and New South Wales through controlled traffic farming. A workshop Series”

Thank you very much to the farmers, consultants, and researchers interviewed for sharing your experience and knowledge developing CTF systems.

Special thanks to our podcast producers Neil Butler, Podversations and Graeme Currie.