Semester of Graduation
First Major Professor
Master of Science (MS)
Typical Midwestern US agriculture requires the need for intensive machine traffic, causing soil compaction and over the long-term contributing to soil degradation and potential yield loss. Controlled traffic farming (CTF), which is restricting wheel traffic to a small repetitively tracked portion of the field while leaving the majority of the field untrafficked is a promising method to reduce farm machinery compaction. The idea is that CTF restricts compaction to a small area of the field – thus there may be some negative effects of concentrated traffic on the CTF zones, but comes at the benefit of the rest of the field. The overall objective of this study was to determine the effects of seven years of CTF on soil bulk density and aggregate stability across three 15-62 ha commercial fields in northwestern Indiana loamy fine sands. Due to CTF’s redistribution of farm machine compaction we measured the effects within three traffic zones within each field: planter tracks, sprayer tracks, as well as non-tracked zones of the field. Bulk densities, on average were 1.30 g/cm3 to 1.35 g/cm3 in the CTF and conventional fields respectively. However, bulk density within non-tracked zones were 1.19 g/cm3 and 1.32 g/cm3 for CTF and conventional traffic (UTF) respectively. Soil aggregates under CTF lost less soil after slaking on average (-32%), compared to conventional traffic (-49%). Overall, CTF had positive effect on soil physical properties compared to conventionally trafficked treatments.
Gibson, Tiffani, "Controlled traffic farming benefits to soil physical properties and soil health on Granby loamy fine sands" (2020). Creative Components. 499.