VEGETABLE growers can increase production and make significant input cost savings, while improving soil quality, by using a controlled traffic farming system.
CTF is a farming system that permanently separates wheel traffic lanes from the soil in which crops grow, with equipment running on the same track width.
It means all tractors, equipment and harvesters need to have the same track width and, by using GPS, all equipment uses the same wheel track locations year after year.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is co-ordinating a series of CTF projects in the key Queensland vegetable production regions of Bowen, Bundaberg and the Lockyer Valley.
DAFF's Bowen-based development horticulturalist Sarah Limpus said the initiative was about promoting controlled traffic farming systems, including the economic and soil quality benefits.
"Information on the project was presented in a recent soil health update for Bowen growers," Ms Limpus said.
"The update included additional sessions on the use of green waste compost, fruit fly work, nutrient removal data for various crops, and soil health research trials."
Ms Limpus said the benefit of CTF for vegetable growers was that growing areas were clearly defined from those used by machinery traffic, and did not require intensive tillage to fix compaction.
"The project has a demonstration site here in the Bowen region to monitor changes in soil quality characteristics, economics, input costs and yield, and farming system operations," she said.
"This site compares the controlled traffic system with a more conventional compaction and intensive tillage cycle.
"There will be training opportunities and field days to showcase this system to growers and present the findings from the demonstration site."
The CTF projects are funded by the Federal Government's Caring for our Country Program until June 2013. For more information on the soil health update or the CTF project, phone the Bowen Research Station on 4761 4000.