“We can’t eliminate soil compaction from our fields, but with careful planning and clever technology, we can permanently minimise the area that it affects,” says Tim Chamen, founder of CTF Europe. Established in 2007, CTF Europe works closely with farmers to adopt Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF), confining wheels or tracks to the least possible area of permanent traffic lanes.
Driving on soil with heavy machinery causes soil damage and reduces farm profit, so Chamen recommends CTF to ‘bring order to the chaos’ associated with ‘random traffic farming’. He will be presenting at ‘Smarter Farming for Soils and Water Management’, held by Agri-Tech East and Smart-AKIS at Cranfield University on 14th September.
“Farmers report at least a 35% saving in fuel, a reduced investment in machinery and power on the farm, and a simpler farming system,” explains Chamen. “They also see an improvement in water management, with less ponding on the surface, lower potential for run-off and erosion, alongside a reduction in nutrient losses.”
CTF Europe provides an extensive information base for farmers, with a membership scheme and consultancy service for individuals or groups. Advice can be offered on CTF system design and layout, soil inspection, GPS guidance systems and much more.
Chamen continues: “The greatest challenge to conversion is accepting the mind-set that vehicles should no longer run just anywhere in a field. This is followed by careful planning of machinery replacement to gain close matching of all machinery passes and the introduction of ‘auto-steer’ with repeatable positioning (RTK).
“At the Smart-AKIS event, we will be scrutinising soil health and how it can be compromised by compaction, but equally, finding out how smart technology and CTF can liberate soils from the age-old annual cycle of damage and repair.
“The benefits of CTF are substantial but defined changes in technology will allow even greater gains to be achieved in the future.”
The benefits of CTF include:
• Improved crop yields and Nitrogen recovery.
• Improved water infiltration, storage and drainage.
• Reduced water run-off, erosion and flash flood risk.
• Reduced chemical losses.
• Lower production costs.
To hear more from Tim Chamen, come along to ‘Smarter Farming for Soils Health and Water Management’ on 14th September 2017 at Cranfield University. For programme information and registration details, please click here.