Farmers taking part in a controlled traffic farming field day near Lacombe last year get a look at what’s happening to the soil beneath their crops.

Farmers taking part in a controlled traffic farming field day near Lacombe last year get a look at what’s happening to the soil beneath their crops.

Controlled traffic farming stirring interest

It’s too soon to declare controlled traffic farming the next big thing in agriculture, but the early results of field trials in Alberta should at least raise some eyebrows.

It’s too soon to declare controlled traffic farming the next big thing in agriculture, but the early results of field trials in Alberta should at least raise some eyebrows.

A recent report by Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta suggests that the practice of using permanent traffic lanes in fields could increase the rate of water absorption, reduce fuel cost and improve efficiencies.

It analyzed the results of the first two years of a three-year project involving controlled traffic farming — or CTF — on five Alberta farms. These include sites near Lacombe and Trochu.

Although data is limited, the report pointed to apparent trends related to fuel saving, better infiltration rates and more efficient operations on CTF plots as compared with those farmed using traditional methods.

“Result-wise, it’s pretty positive,” said project leader Peter Gamache.

He said during the first year of the trial, in 2011, participating farmers were still trying to get used to the system. By 2012, they had become more comfortable and saw improved results.

The CTF plots at Lacombe and Trochu — which were both seeded to barley — produced higher yields than adjacent control plots. The same was true at another site at Dapp, while a CTF plot at Rolling Hills was lower and the final one at Morrin didn’t have a check plot to compare to.

“Three of the five are plus, one we can’t compare and one is lower,” summed up Gamache.

He’s optimistic the results will continue to improve over time, although 2013 is slated to be the final year of the project.

“We’re trying to find a way to keep it going for a couple more seasons.”

Gamache thinks producers are intrigued by CTF, with about 143 taking part in four field trials last year, and about 120 sitting in on CTF presentations at FarmTech in Edmonton.

“I think farmers are very interested, but they’re obviously a bit skeptical in the sense of, ‘Does this make sense?’ or ‘Should I even try this?’ or ‘Why would I do this?’”

What’s needed to win them over are documented benefits, particularly with respect to improved yields and cost savings.

“We need those results, and what’s happening with our soils.”

Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta is funded by the Agriculture & Food Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the CAAP program. Additional help has come from the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, the Alberta Barley Commission, the Alberta Pulse Growers, the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission, Farmers Edge, Beyond Agronomy, Point Forward Solutions and the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta.

More information about controlled traffic farming can be found online at www.controlledtrafficfarming.org

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

63 per cent said equality between men and women has not been achieved

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar. The escalation of violence in Myanmar as authorities crack down on protests against the Feb. 1 coup is adding to pressure for more sanctions against the junta, as countries struggle over how to best confront military leaders inured to global condemnation. (AP Photo/File)
Escalating violence raises pressure for Myanmar sanctions

More shootings were reported over the weekend

A moth-killing drone hovers over crops in a green house in Monster, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. A Dutch startup is using drones to kill moths in midair as a way of protecting valuable crops in greenhouses that are damaged by caterpillars. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions emerged from the work of a group of students looking for ways to kill mosquitos in their dorm rooms. The drones themselves are very basic, but they are steered by smart technology and special cameras that scan the airspace in greenhouses. When the cameras detect a moth, a drone is set on a collision course with the bug, destroying the bug with its rotors. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
Drones vs hungry moths: Dutch use hi-tech to protect crops

Drones instantly kill the moths by flying into them

Health-care worker Jenne Saunders prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province on March 1, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada set to receive more than 910,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week

Federal government looks for vaccine-makers to finalize delivery of eight million doses by March 31

Statistics Canada’s offices at Tunny’s Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census until 2022 over pandemic-related concerns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census to 2022 due to pandemic

A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Hamilton Forge FC’s Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia’s Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ont., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Forge FC owner Bob Young says the Canadian Premier League champions will be playing the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC at a disadvantage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC owner upset at Canada Soccer’s timing of Canadian Championship final

Winner of Canadian Championship final earns a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

Team Wild Card Two skip Kevin Koe reacts to his shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier in Calgary, Alta., on March 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Wild Card Two’s Koe beats Gushue 9-7 to hand defending champs first loss at the Brier

Gushue was a tad heavy with his final draw and Koe picked it out for the victory

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No regrets: Grammy-nominated DJ Jayda G on choosing beats over sciences career

TORONTO — House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two… Continue reading

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking about expecting their second child during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs March 7 as a two-hour exclusive primetime special on the CBS Television Network. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
UK royals absorb shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read