Controlled traffic farming and field traffic management: Perceptions of farmers groups from Northern and Western European countries

Tamirat, Tseganesh Wubale; Pedersen, Søren Marcus; Farquharson, Robert John; Bruin, Sytze de; Forristal, Patrick Dermot; Sørensen, Claus Grøn; Nuyttens, David; Pedersen, Hans Henrik; Thomsen, Maria Nygård


As farming machinery size and weight increases, soil compaction continues to threaten mechanized agriculture. Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) minimizes soil compaction in the crop zone by restricting traffic to permanent tracks. The adoption of CTF in Europe is low. This study enhances the understanding of farmers' needs and perceptions concerning the application of CTF by analyzing survey data from 103 farmers sampled from 8 European countries. The study adopted a descriptive approach to data analysis. Awareness about traffic-induced soil compaction is high among surveyed farmers and there are positive perceptions about the potential of CTF. The major factors limiting adoption of CTF appear to be: lack of compatibility in machinery and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) by different manufacturers; expense (equipment purchase, Real-time Kinematic (RTK) signal, machinery modification); lack of demonstrated benefits under local conditions; incomplete knowledge of research findings and decision support tools; and a perception that CTF is not for small farms. The following interventions are suggested for future development and use of CTF: a shift towards lighter, simpler, adaptable, and energy effective machinery; adapted market models for cost-effective provision of basic services; demonstration of costs and benefits under local conditions in tandem with demand-driven decision support tools as well as standardization of equipment and positioning systems.