Are controlled traffic and permanent beds sustainable for CA? Don Yule
Are Controlled Traffic andPermanent Beds Sustainable for CA? Don Yule CTF Solutions Brisbane, Australia
Program• 30 minutes of summaries of relevant papers presented at the Congress• 60 minutes of open discussion of your comments and questions with the speaker panel• Conclude with Priority Issues from the Workshop
Controlled Traffic Farming –Productivity, sustainability and resilience Don Yule CTF Solutions, Qld, Australia CTF is a farming systems solution byoptimising how the components work together
TRADITIONAL 100t/haDesigned Field Layouts CTF Response tosevere erosion event 1997CTF 10t/ha 5
No cultivationControlled traffic allows standing residues and inter-row sowing
Spatial Technologies - GNSS Guidance Radio GNSS antennae Rover/tractorBase station 7
CTF and GNSS define theon-farm spatial footprint 8
“Measure to Manage” Tools• Digital, computer based data records• GIS spatial analysis• Automated on-farm R&D with strip trials• Delivers Continuous Improvement
CTF delivers Farming System Outcomes Rainfall Use Efficiency CTF 21t/ha 8t/ha TRAD 10
CTF delivers Triple Bottom Line benefits Darling Downs study of change from traditional to CTF• Soil erosion (-90%)• Diesel use (-60%)• Nitrogen leaving farms (-90%)• Carbon dioxide losses (-70%)• Labour use (-60%)• Annual income (+44%)• Annual Gross Margin (+68%) For mechanised CA, do controlled traffic FIRST 11
The synergy of raised beds, controlledtraffic, minimum tillage and stubble retention delivers higher water use efficiency in SW Victoria, Australia. Renick Peries, Dept Primary Industries, Victoria
The synergy of raised beds, controlled traffic, minimum tillage and stubble retention deliver higher water use efficiency in South West Victoria, Australia Renick Peries, DPI, Victoria & Jaikirat Singh-Gill, LTU, Victoria
Raised beds offer crop insurance during drought• water use 20-30cm depth• Good agronomy – yield 1.5 t/ha
stubble issues on raised beds• Improved soil/better drainage/ good agronomy – contribute to heavy biomass• Subsoil constraints- low HI – heavy stubble loads• Over many years burning was the only option!• Efficient machinery / canopy management• Seasonal rainfall a critical factor!
stubble issues on raised beds• Beds can get water logged if not properly designed• Under ‘wet’ conditions – pests were (& are) a major issue• To burn or not to burn- a climate specific decision?• In ‘wet’ seasons even low stubble loads can be an issue
Overall benefits of the ongoing initiatives?• 2 m beds: Derrinallum 3 m beds: Winchelsea
Benchmarking WUE in HRZ (Vic) 2009 Wheat yield SW Vic 10 9 Mr A 8 Mr B 7 Mr CYield (t/ha) 6 Mr D 5 Mr E 4 Mr F 3 Mr G French and Schultz 2 Sadras and Angus 1 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 April-November rain (mm)
How major issues are impacting on farmer behaviour• Land use change: Flat to raised beds• Drought : Raised beds to flat !• Rainfall variation : Stubble retained to stubble burn!• With full realisation of soil issues: Beds-Flat-Beds• What next?
Why change from raised beds to flat CT?• drought? was the message lost?• loss of area to furrows (20%) or• CT without beds - the way forward for some! June 2005 Sept 2011
from 2m raised beds to 3m controlled traffic and back to 3m raised beds• 2010 2011 (rainfall mm)• Jan-Mar 124.8 205.9• Apr-August 274.5 219.9• Sept-Nov 235.0
A success story: From flat – 2m raised beds (1995) From 2 m beds to 3m CT(2006)From 3 m CT to 3m raised beds (2011)!
Summary• South-West Victoria is continuing to adapt to change made necessary by economic & climatic considerations• While there is significant appreciation of CA in the region, not all of the CA practices appeal to all farmer champions• The synergy of raised beds, CT & stubble retention have raised crop yields towards potential WUE in the region• There may need to be more flexibility and clarity in the definition of CA applications in this region
Soil and yield improvements from Controlled TrafficFarming on a red Chromosol were similar to CTF on a swelling black Vertosol. Tim Ellis CSIRO, Brisbane Field research conducted at Roseworthy South Australia 1989 to 1994Funded by: Key Centre for Dryland Agriculture and Landuse Systems; John Shearer LTD; Grains Research Council; and Grains Research and Development Corporation
Take home message 1. - better soil structure if you don’t driveon it. Why?
Take home message 2. – deep ripping doesn’t necessarily improve soilstructure, especially if you don’t stop driving on it. Why?
Does CTF reduce root disease? Why?Take home message 3. - better root growth if you don’t drive onthe soil. Why?
Take home message 4. - better yields if you don’t drive on the soil. Why?Take home message 5. – deep ripping did not improve yields. Why?
Take home message 6. – there are many other systemicadvantages of CTF e.g. greater timeliness/earlier sowing etc.that have not been measured rigorously due to the nature oftraditional field trials.Should we try to measure the effects of these? Thanks
Initial findings show benefits of controlled traffic for intensive vegetable production John McPhee Tasmanian Institute Agricultural Research
Porosity increases with controlled traffic (150 mm depth) 70 65 Porosity (%) 60 55 50 45 Conv CTF Conv CTF Conv CTF Dec 09 Jul 10 Dec 10
More balanced soil:water:air ratio with controlled traffic (150 mm depth) 100% 80% 60% Air 40% Water Soil 20% 0% Conv CTF Conv CTF Conv CTF Dec-09 Jul-10 Dec-10
Infiltration improves with controlled traffic Conventional Controlled traffic After potato harvest Infiltration test results Conventional CTF Duration of test (min) 30 90 Time to run-off (min) 4 not reached
Equipment incompatibility constrains full adoption in vegetables Tractor Pea Bean Bean Potato Poppy Poppy/grain Py windrower Onion Onion Carrot Relative track and working widths of a selection of vegetable industry harvesters
Short term agronomic gains from conservation agriculture in NW China. Jack McHugh Uni Southern Queensland
Saving Natural Resources, Promoting Sustainable Farming, Securing and Stabilizing Food Production: How do you “sell” CA in NW China against the lack of appropriate machinery, the "good farming" mindset of conventional tillage and competition for crop residues?Improvement in soil condition on rigid soils in 4 years• SOM, porosity, bulk density, water stable aggregates, pore size distribution, hydraulic conductivity.Water saving - ~40% less irrigation required• Increased available water, plant root accessibility, reduced soil wetted perimeter and soil water monitoringReduced groundwater contamination• EM38 confirms increased soil water extraction. no apparent salt build up, reduced variability in soil condition (soil water).Improved yield and economics• Reported improvement of 10%, but 2% over 3 seasons on-farm.• Reduction in input costs for fuel, fertiliser and labour: Barley – 12.2%; Wheat – 19.2%; Maize – 18.6%.Poor crop establishment• Poor performance of prototype planting machinery, operating under difficult conditions of heavy residue, high soil moisture, frozen soil conditions, combined with poor depth control and inadequate seed-fertiliser separation.• Low soil temperature due to trash blanket/standing stubble• Inexperience with CA techniques
Controlled Traffic /Permanent Bed Farming reduces GHG Emissions. Jeff Tullberg CTF Solutions, Brisbane
CTF = No-till with better porosity, aeration & drainage Black = Soil Solids, White = Air or Water (from D.McGarry ) 24 cm 4- Years CTF Annually Wheeled Non-Wheeled (5t Tractor) . Greenhouse Impact?
Greenhouse gas emissions (not Carbon)• Inputs • Fuel, Machinery • Herbicides • Fertilisers } Easily Quantified For Known Systems Energy• Outputs • Nitrous oxide & methane • Nitrate in runoff and drainage • Nitrate in eroded soil } Highly Variable, Less Well-Understood Wasted Energy In practise: Greenhouse Impact = Economic Impact
Soil Emissions – Nitrous Oxide + MethaneLiterature: N loss and emissions associated with waterloggingNOx emissions occur when: Water- filled porosity <75%, >65%., Nitrate +C present in surface 10 cm.Management Impact ?Till v. no-till: less NO3 emissions in well-drained soils.(Rochette 2009) more NO3 emissions in poorly drained soils.Wheel effect: wheeled soil emissions 5 x non wheeled (Russer1998)(potato fields) wheeled soil emissions 5 x non wheeled (Thomas2003) Common thread– wheel effects? (measurements rarely taken in wheel tracks)
Cumulative Emissions (6 weeks post-seeding) Emissions - kg CO2-e/ha Source T Lane Rand P Bed kg kg kg N2O 324.6 369.5 58.2 CH4 0.33 0.41 -0.43 Total 324.6 369.5 58.2 Ratio 5.57 6.35 1.00Wheel track emissions probably greater by a factor of 5.0 – 7.0
Conclusions1. Pilot trial confirms the literature: wheel track emissions 5-7 times greater than bed emissions.2. Permanent traffic lanes of CTF require 10 – 20% of area. but minimum of 50% area is wheeled in non—CTF.3. This suggests that CTF should reduce soil emissions by about 50% or more with precise, split N application plus a substantial impact on input-related emissions.4. Improved agronomy, soil health and precision also increase WUE indicating possibility of greater biomass and C input. Needs investigation in different environments
Grower presentations• Richard Heath, Liverpool Plains, NSW • Aaron Sanderson, Burdekin, Qld
CTF Workshop Summary Points Farming system responsesInclude machinery, CT, layouts, no till, spatial technologies;Impacts of timeliness, efficiencies, precision; Benefits – yield,inputs and costs, GHG , environment Soil impactsWheel tracks – positive for machinery and negative for soil; Non-wheel tracks – amelioration, less variability; Soil types – suitablefor all? Possible need for tillage even deep ripping. ChallengesResidues; Available machinery. EnvironmentResources ↑, GHG ↓, fuel ↓, NOx ↓, groundwater pollution ↓
OutcomesGenerally very positive from extensive work acrosssoils, environments, countries, and over timeTriple bottom line – yield ↑, productivity ↑, inputs and costs↓, impacts ↓, sustainability ↑Adoption
Proposed Statements of Workshop Priority Outcomes• Controlled Traffic - the 4th pillar of CA• Do controlled traffic first, then everything works better• CTF – the farming system solution for CA in mechanised cropping• for mechanised CA, do controlled traffic FIRST