Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta

CTFA Newsletter, July 14, 2015



Beyond Agronomy Field Day
2nd International CTF Conference
How is your soil compaction IQ?
CTFA Project Update
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July 14, 2015 Vol #2, Issue #2
Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta 
Beyond Agronomy Field Day - July 29
Beyond Agronomy is hosting its 6th annual field day in conjunction with Controlled Traffic Farming Alberta at their farm NW of Morrin, Alberta. We have special guest Dr. George Lazarovits from A&L Biologicals joining us to discuss his research on the positive impact of fencerow farming and soil biology.

When: 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Where: One mile west of Morrin, AB on HWY 27 and 1.5 miles north on RR 20-4 (N 51 40.234 and W 112 47.543)  Google Maps

1:00 pm - sign in
1:15 pm - Introductions and CTFA project: Peter Gamache CTF Alberta
  • A walk through the impacts of wheel traffic
1:45 pm Opportunities and challenges in our 6th year of CTF: Steve Larocque, Beyond Agronomy
  • Equipment setup, residue management, precision agriculture
2:30 pm - Side dressing nitrogen in narrow row wheat and canola: Steve Larocque
  • Results from 2013-2015 trials
3:00 pm - Fencerow farming: The Extreme Edition of No-till: Dr. George Lazarovits, A&L Biologicals
  • Massive yield gains have been achieved through fencerow farming. A look at the soil and biological component of this revolutionary 'new' concept.
4:00 - Wrap-up discussion

There is no charge for the event. Refreshments will be provided. 3 Soil & Water CEUs
2nd International Controlled Traffic Farming Conference
The 2nd International Conference was held in Prague Czech Republic June 18&19, 2015. About 120 farmers and researchers from around the world attended. The first day was presentations and I was able to present our Alberta project. The second day was a farm tour hosted by Horsch at their farm near Prague. Click here to download the abstracts and presentations from the conference.

It was profitable to meet with farmers and researchers working in CTF. We all have the same successes and challenges. A couple of things standout: how soon do soils repair and residue management. Deep ripping and the use of crops to help the soil repair itself were discussed. Ripping is common in Europe and seems to be effective when combined with CTF. The benefits of ripping are short lived if you reintroduce random traffic. It is best to establish your tramlines before ripping and avoid ripping them by pulling or moving shanks. Forages and cover crops should also be considered as important ways to improve soil structure.

It was an eye opener to see the amount and intensity of tillage, even in CTF systems. It was fun to have spirited discussions on tillage and no-till, pitting the Europeans against the Australians and Canadians. Hopefully we each learned a few things.

Number one weed discussed was blackweed, a nasty grassy annual.
How is your soil compaction IQ?
The Corn and Soybean Digest (Liz Morrison, March 27, 2013) has an informative article on soil compaction. There is a ten question true/false section with explanations on how to avoid compaction., followed by a quiz on assessing your risk of soil compaction. A couple of true/false questions you may want to check out: "Freeze-thaw cycles alleviate soil compaction caused by machinery" and Clay soils are more easily compacted than coarser soils".
CTFA Project Update
We are testing infiltration again this year and at a first glance the raw numbers are quite variable. We will get the results to you later this year. Kris Guenette, U of A grad student is doing intensive soil sampling of some of the CTF sites, looking at soil properties and root growth. Past plot reports are available on our website.
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