Rolman farms in Warmińsko- Mazurskie province of Poland on 750 ha of land. Our soils are mosaic, mainly sandy and sandy-clay. Crop rotation consists of wheat, barley, triticale and rapeseed. In 2013 we introduced Controlled Traffic Farming into our farm. We carefully plan main and temporary tramlines and strictly use them through all cultivation works – the same lines from season to season.
Benefits from this innovation are:
Increased profits due to lower costs of cultivation and fuel consumption, faster crop establishment and machinery working time savings. Tramlines are planned with the water erosion in mind (minimized water-logging), ease of traffic between power lines poles, drainage wells, trees etc.
Australian agronomists found, that random traffic on field effects usually more than 60% of trafficked land, and the yield on compacted soil is reduced by 18-30% (24% on average). And first wheel run is responsible for 90% destruction of tilth and soil structure, and brings 90% of compaction results (i.e.24%x90%=21,6% yield decrease).
Introduction of CTF to our farm reduced compacted area to 14,6%. Compared to previous 72%, when we randomly drove our fields, we saved from compaction 57,4% of our land, where we get 24% on average more yield. This way we increase our average yields by 13,8% – that is theory and practice from last two years suggest it can be more.
CTF technology was applied by our father, Tadeusz Niesiobędzki, who attended CTF conference in Towoomba/Australia in 2013.
We set 36m main tramlines for spray and fertilizer spreader, and 9m temporary tramlines for all remaining machinery – drill, disc, combine, chaser bin, straw press and bale cart, manure spreaders.To minimize compacted area we set wheel clearance at 2,00m and adjusted all machinery to that number.
CTF technology increased not only profits, but the traffic safety on roads as well, due to machinery width reduction. Combine width was reduced from 3.6 to 3,3m, and large tractors, used to go on 4m wide twin wheels – now operate at 3,3m width.We use no till technology since 15years. It allow us faster and cheaper crop establishment. We left soil cultivation to earthworms, since we care a lot about their population, leaving more food for them on the surface, where they can access it easily.Several tons of earthworms on each hectare of our land is the most important livestock, that aerates our soils every day, and drain them on rainy days, leaving tons of humus at hand for crop roots deep in soil, where moisture is accessible during the drought as well.
CTF introduction we found as an ideal complementation of no till technology that allowed a full exhibition of no till benefits on our fields.We move easier through the field due to less wheel slip on compacted tramlines, and that means less fuel usage. What next, we can earlier enter our fields with fertilizer or spray in spring, as compaction increase soil load capability on tramlines, contrary to till technology.
We use 9,25m disc for cultivation and 9,00m seeder to drill our wheat, barley and rapeseed. We mount additional tines on the drill, to loosen the soil on temporary tramlines. We rise them on main tramlines to keep the compaction for sprayer/spreader movement.
Where else we can look for savings in crop production?
Together with CTF introduction we started to collect field data from harvester. We send them to Farm Works together with the soil mineral levels maps.
This software enables us to determine seed rate application map which helps us to get more even canopy during harvest. We take into consideration yield from last 3 years, soil structure and land configuration. Present technology and software help us to plan seed rate application map easily. We also use application maps during N application, that depends from previous yields and soil
We often use yield maps to carry out field trials regarding seed date, seed rate, crop variety, cultivation differences etc. Each cultivation task is automatically registred in Farm Works, seed/fertilizer/chemica om multiplication plots, as they are usually 9m wide and lay next to each other on soils with similar structure/ affluence.
For the future we plan to incorporate application maps for fungicides.