Controlled Traffic Farming

Resource explained

This is the website for CTF Europe Ltd, where you can find useful information on controlled traffic farming (CTF). It outlines that CTF has the potential to reduce costs, increase yields, improve soil health and deliver environmental benefits. It explains that CTF offers a sustainable solution to managing soil compaction – confining it to narrow strips across the land and maximising the remaining undamaged soil area for cropping. It also explains that CTF is a whole farm approach that can be applied to all forms of crops, including grass, although it is used most commonly in arable cropping systems.

The website provides clear descriptions of what CTF involves, alongside the benefits and challenges. From videos and case studies, to spreadsheets to help organise your own farm trial, there is lots of useful information.

The membership organisation partners with commercial companies to fund research and deliver useful information for those interested in starting CTF on their farms.

Findings & recommendations

  • Rather than using machinery to alleviate soil compaction, CTF tackles the cause of the problem; that of increased machine traffic on soils.
  • You can avoid compaction on 80-90% of your fields through having permanent traffic lanes.
  • The principle of CTF is simple, but conventional machinery was not designed for the precision required, therefore careful thought and planning is crucial.
  • To keep traffic to the same tracks, you can opt for satellite guidance systems or conventional marking systems.
  • With healthier soil structure achieved through soil not being compacted, creating a seedbed is easier, and can mean that no cultivation is needed at all to create a seedbed.
  • Improved soil structure from practising CTF benefits water drainage following heavy rainfalls and water retention under low rainfall conditions.
  • As permanent traffic lanes are better defined than temporary lanes, horsepower requirements reduce. Many CTF farmers downsize to smaller tractors.
  • Many other benefits are cited on this website, where you can also access information on some of the challenges, UK case studies, ‘FAQs’, and a ‘What Next’ section if you wish to take the next step and plan how CTF could be applied on your farm.

N.B. This resource contains reference to synthetic fertiliser and herbicide sprays.

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