Adoption of Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) in the low rainfall zone (LRZ) of the Southern Region is very low (eg SA/Vic Mallee, 4%) compared to other zones in the Region (eg Vic HR, 26%) (GRDC 2012 Farm Practices Survey). This is believed to reflect scepticism about its benefits in many LRZ environments when weighed up against the cost of adopting the practice.
The project ‘Application of controlled traffic in the low rainfall zone’ will evaluate whether or not this scepticism is justified. It will use a balanced combination of research and development (R&D) to answer growers’ questions about CTF and provide the information they need to make informed decisions about whether to invest in adopting the system on their farms. Based on the results of the R&D, the extension component of the project will deliver knowledge, skills and support to growers to enable them to fully assess the merits of CTF application in their farm business and where applicable, help them adopt CTF in whole or in part.
The work of the project will be conducted by a consortium of nine organisations led by the national peak body for controlled traffic, the Australian Controlled Traffic Farming Association (ACTFA). The consortium brings together knowledge and experience of CTF systems from ACTFA and Precision Agriculture Australia (SPAA); strong research capability from South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI); development and extension knowledge and networks from those two State agencies; and grower participation from five farming systems groups (Birchip Cropping Group, Central West Farming Systems, Eyre Peninsular Agricultural Research Foundation, Mallee Sustainable Farming, and Upper North Farming Systems) that cover the majority of the Southern Region LRZ.
SPAA will be involved in a number of project facets including surveys, communications and extension of the project.