CTF Europe

Controlled Traffic Farming across Europe

Case Studies

These are just a small selection of Case Studies, showing the many ways in which CTF can be achieved. If you are interested in finding out more, there are many more Case Studies as well as calculators, design tools and a menu driven route to CTF available for members. At just £100 (presently reduced to just £30) a year, can you afford not to know the important facts about satellite guidance systems for example, even if you aren't considering CTF? More detail of these Case Studies and reports on CTF workshops (see separate pages) are available for our members.

Case Study 1

600 ha home farm covering a range of soil types from clay through to sandy loam. Annual average rainfall around 650 mm. Table 1 provides details of the machinery used in the arable operation which grows a rotation of first and second wheat with oilseed rape. The aim on this farm is to create a 6 m CTF system using a single pass with the nominal 6 m wide medium weight discs followed by drilling with the 6 m Freeflow drill. Within the new CTF farming operation it is anticipated that there will be little need for the Solo, and this demonstrates an immediate saving in equipment, time, fuel and tractor power. More details for members only

Case Study 2

650 ha farmed in partnership on medium to heavy soils with an annual rainfall of 640 mm. Rotation of first and second wheat followed by oilseed rape or beans. 10% setaside area sown with industrial oilseed rape. All crops are desiccated pre-harvest with glyphosate. Table 2 provides details of the relevant machinery. 

The present establishment system for wheat consists of a single pass with the Simba Solo with the subsoiling tines working to a depth of around 230 mm. This is followed after an interval by a spray with glyphosate and then the Freeflow tine drill sowing at a rate of around 200 kg/ha with grain having a 1000 seed weight of 49 g. Sowing is completed with a pass of the rolls pulled by a hired-in wheeled tractor. Slug pellets are applied pre- and post-sowing with a small all-terrain vehicle. Oilseed rape is normally established by broadcasting into the desiccated standing crop of wheat, or following a single pass of the Solo in front of the roll. Beans are sown in the same manner as wheat. More details for members only

Case Study 3

360 ha on silty loam and limestone brash soils with crops grown principally for seed. These include:

  • Sugar beet (grown on the lighter soils)
  • Winter wheat
  • Peas (grown for vining seed)
  • Spring beans
  • Spring and winter oilseed rape
  • Oats
  • Linseed
  • Herbage (likely that this will be replaced by grass margins if 5 m headlands are allowed under the new E.U. set-aside scheme)
This farm is not committed to achieving full CTF but has adopted the principles and makes it work as and when possible. Particular to this farm is the use of highly sophisticated auto-steering systems to great effect on ageing but well cared for machinery. More details for members only.

Case Study 4

This study follows the introduction and development of a wide span or gantry tractor system onto a 209 ha farm in Bedfordshire, UK. Cropping is simple with continuous wheat and barley on Oxford clay, Kelloway clay and sand, some chalky boulder clay and head (riverwash). In all, 13 different soil types have been identified on the farm. Peak levels of Take-all disease were reached some years ago and it has now receded to an acceptable level.

Until the early 1990s, minimum tillage was employed alongside straw burning. When straw burning was banned in the UK, the low input system was no longer reliable. Direct drilling with a disc drill became impractical where there was wheel compaction. A contractor was therefore employed to autumn mouldboard plough the whole farm to 200 mm depth. This was followed by farm-based secondary cultivations and drilling. Seedbeds were often difficult to create even with a power harrow. Grass weeds in the form of blackgrass and sterile brome built up and yields went down. It was noticeable that crop establishment was better on the lighter soils where the tilth was finer and with better crop competition, there were fewer weed problems. The study goes on to highlight how production costs have been dramatically reduced while yields have steadily risen alongside visible improvements in soil structure. This Case Study is in the public domain to trigger further interest in the system.

Case Study 5

1300 ha managed as a joint venture. Soils mostly clayey river alluvium with some light and organic clay over gypsum. Cropping mostly oilseed rape (OSR) and wheat.
Planning to convert whole area to CTF in autumn 2009. Traditional minumum tillage will be replaced by no-till. Anticipated up to 50% saving in fuel, lower capital investment and reduced power on the farm. Full details available for members.

Case Study 6

This case study is based on the farm of Andrew Manfield in Yorkshire UK and is one of just a few based on the TwinTrac system. The system was first proposed by Lionel Shaw, a farmer in Bedfordshire, UK and uses two track gauges, one wide and one narrow. The narrow gauge equipment straddles adjacent passes of equipment on the wider gauge (usually the grain harvester), while implement widths are the addition of the two gauges. Andrew has adjusted his track gauges to cleverly fit in with both his grain and potato growing operations. Members can start reading the full details here.

Case Study 7

This is a brief overview of a "gradual adopter" of CTF; someone who is committed to the principle but still has a way to go before a complete system has been achieved. Ploughing is still practised and not everything is "on track" yet but our update in March 2015 will bring everyone up to date with his progress. Members can view this case study here.

Case Study 8

This 550 ha farm is unusual in that it has a two-pronged approach to reducing soil compaction, low ground pressure and controlled traffic. Although the larger area of tracking created by wider low pressure tyres might detract from minimising tracked areas, the potential advantages of low contact pressures and relatively firm traffic lanes will be interesting to relate. Originally posted in February 2010, Members can view the study here
We hope to have an update on this sometime in 2015.

Case Study 9

Two things set this case study of L.E. Barnes & Sons CTF system apart. First, it relates primarily to a contracting business rather than simply to an owner occupier or their farm manager and secondly, it was the first nominal 12 m system amongst our members. Based on the OutTrac principle and no-till, it achieved a tracked area of less than 20% and was based on farms that had traditionally ploughed all their land in most seasons. The home farm (200 ha) on a heavy clay soil, like many others, was suffering from blackgrass despite regular ploughing. The totally altered regime of no-till combined with a steadily improving soil condition will be interesting to monitor in terms of blackgrass control, particularly as initial evidence is of a decline in this pernicious and yield-sapping weed. Members can view the study and its update here.

Case Study 10

This was the first fully integrated 9 m CTF system in the UK. It is based on an OutTrac design where the harvester, on its wider track gauge, runs on the same centre line but just outside the rest of the machines, which in this case are on a common gauge of 2.5 m. This system demonstrates the consistent accuracy of the RTK correction because the harvester only has a 14 cm wider cutting platform than the 9 m between traffic lanes. Soucy rubber tracks are also employed on the principal field tractor. Members can view the complete study here.

Case Study 11

One might wonder if relatively shallow "brash" (soils with often large flat stones) would benefit from controlled traffic. This farm on the Cotswolds in the UK is proof that they do. Crops include wheat, oilseed rape, stubble turnips and dry peas. The farm is unusual in that it operates on a 7.33 m CTF system, prompted by the existing 7.6 m cutting platform of the combine harvester.
Members can find the full details here

Case Study 12

This is the first 10 m CTF system that we are aware of. Set up and running in 2012, it was the first farm to have a combine harvester that could unload to a full 10 m.  As with most other systems it uses an OutTrac design and with an ideal combine manages to attain a tracked area of less than 20%. This farm in Oxfordshire, UK is now one of AHDBs monitor farms and is also the first farm we know of which has specifically chosen a drill which will also act as a cultivator and has a seamless CTF baling system in place. This study has now been updated to 2016 and is available to members from this link.

Case Study 13 and update in 2015

PX Farms in Cambridgeshire is the home of this system, which like Case Study 9, is operating on a nominal 12 m system across a number of farming agreements. Unlike L.E. Barnes & Sons however, some tillage is built in and uniquely, the CTF system design has been based on a minimum internal distance between the wheels or tracks of the vehicles governed by a Cat Challenger. Smart Agri Systems members can access the original Case Study from this link and the update in 2014 from here.

Case Study 14 and update to 2016

The Hydes in Essex has featured in a number of our reports and this 12 m OutTrac CTF system continues to evolve, as demonstrated in the update to this Case Study. This system is unique  in the UK (as far as we know) in having a chaser with a side extension and elevator to bridge the gap between the end of the harvester's unloading spout and the chaser. One marvels at the skill of the operators in hitting such a small target, but as this video will attest, they do it with aplomb!
Case Study 14.

Case Study 15

Courteenhall in Northamptonshire, UK is running a 12 m OutTrac system, mostly based on Horsch equipment. The latest acquisitions are a Leeb PT 330 36 m self-propelled sprayer and a Titan chaser on rubber tracks. Operating a four year rotation that includes wheat, beans, peas and oilseed rape, they do also run some deeper cultivations at 6 m. Tracked area for wheat and beans is around 17%, but this rises to around 29% when they use the 6 m equipment. They have also been great protagonists of cover crops, growing a wide variety of species within one mix.
Members can view this case study in full from here.

UK: Tim Chamen
+44 7714 206 048

Netherlands: Sander Bernaerts

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