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Potential for Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) in Grass Silage Production: Agronomics, system design and economics

  • P. R. Hargreaves (a1), S. Peets (a2), W. C. T. Chamen (a3), D. R. White (a2), P. A. Misiewicz (a2) and R. J. Godwin (a2)...

Abstract

Grassland silage management is generally ad hoc resulting in soil compaction damage. Literature suggests grass yield reductions of 5 to 74% through compaction (UK mean 13%), while a 2015 study, reported here, comparing grass dry matter (DM) yield between controlled traffic farming (CTF) and normal management (N), found a 13.5% (0.80 t ha−1) increase for CTF. Commercially available grass forage equipment with widths of 3 to 12 m set up for CTF reduced trafficked areas from 80%–90% for N to 40%–13%. Economic analysis based on 13% increase in DM for 2 and 3 cut systems, gave an increased grass value between £38 ha−1 and £98 ha−1. CTF for multi-cut grass silage effectively increases yields by reducing compaction and sward damage.

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