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Controlled traffic farming increased crop yield, root growth, and nitrogen supply at two organic vegetable farms

Hefner, M.; Labouriau, R.; Nørremark, Michael and Kristensen, Hanne Lakkenborg (2019) Controlled traffic farming increased crop yield, root growth, and nitrogen supply at two organic vegetable farms. Soil & Tillage Research, 191, pp. 117-130.

[thumbnail of Hefner et al 2019 Controlled traffic farming.pdf] PDF - English

Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167198718307827?via%3Dihub


Increased farm machinery weight in agricultural production results in soil compaction. Controlled traffic farming (CTF) restricts traffic to permanent lanes, thereby creating traffic free beds for crop production. Field experiments were conducted at two organic vegetable farms in Denmark, on a sandy loam (2013–2016) and on coarse sand (2013–2015) to investigate CTF effects compared with random traffic farming (RTF) on vegetable yield, root growth, and soil mineral nitrogen (N). Root growth was measured using minirhizotrons. White cabbage, potato, and beetroot yield increased by 27%, 70% and 42%, respectively, in CTF compared with RTF in 2015 and winter squash indicated a yield increase of 43% on sandy loam in 2016. White cabbage (2015) and potato, beetroot and winter squash (2016) grew 2–25 times more roots and beetroot grew deeper roots under CTF compared with RTF on sandy loam in 2016. On coarse sandy soil, beetroot root frequency was 1.4 times greater under CTF than under RTF and beetroot roots grew deeper than 1.5 m under both treatments in 2015. Soil mineral N and potential net N mineralization were equal between treatments or higher in CTF by 2–41 kg ha−1 and 11 mg kg−1 35 days−1, respectively, indicating N supply was maintained or increased in this system. Despite the variability in crop and root growth responses to traffic between years and crops, the effects were always equal or positive for CTF following treatment implementation. Therefore, our results encourage the use of CTF for organic vegetable production under temperate conditions.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Root crops
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 3 > DoubleCrop
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > Faculty of Science and Technology > Department of Food Science
Denmark > GUDP
Deposited By: Kristensen, Ph.D. Hanne Lakkenborg
ID Code:35456
Deposited On:19 Jun 2019 12:37
Last Modified:19 Jun 2019 12:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:Open access

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