GFM Network News


Measuring soil’s benefits from CTF

A new test offers a way to measure improvements from controlled traffic farming

It can be called “fractal hierarchical aggregation” or just “fractal aggregation.” Whatever the moniker, the new method of soil health testing promises to offer producers an important metric for assessing soil quality and land stewardship, says Guillermo Hernandez, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. This spring he published a research paper demonstrating that […] Read more

Pat Pfiffner, a farmer and senior technologist with Alberta Agriculture holing a soil penetrometer.

Rutted fields and soil compaction

What are the best ways to alleviate damaged fields in the spring?

Persistent rains with cold, damp conditions in September and October made harvest last fall even more stressful that usual for many farmers. Trucks, grain carts and combines in wet fields have left moderate to severe ruts in fields across the Prairie. Ruts must be fixed before spring planting. Many farmers are also worried about soil […] Read more


Deep tillage can be beneficial under specific soil conditions, but use can also have serious negative effects on soil quality.

Understanding soil compaction

Agronomy Management: How to manage each of the three main types of compaction in your fields

In the last issue of Grainews I wrote about the effects of compaction on soil. Now, I’ll discuss the specific types of soil compaction and the ways each type can be managed. 1. Surface soil crusting This type of compaction is caused by a combination of soil tillage and raindrop impact. Causes: Tillage can bury much of […] Read more

The effects of soil compaction

In the first of a two-part series, learn how to diagnose soil compaction in your field

Soil compaction can be a serious form of soil degradation resulting in decreased crop production and increased risk of soil erosion. Soil compaction can reduce water infiltration into soil, crop emergence, root penetration, crop nutrient uptake and water uptake — all of which can reduce crop yields. Compaction concerns Soil compaction is caused by tillage […] Read more


Don’t misdiagnose soil compaction

Erosion or true compaction? A correct diagnosis is key to proper management

Subsoils are naturally compact, and what looks like a soil compaction problem might actually be a case of erosion removing the top, soft layer of soil and exposing the dense subsoil. “People assume they have a soil compaction problem, but exposed subsoil is often misdiagnosed as a soil degradation issue,” says David Lobb, a professor […] Read more

These field peas were seeded using the CTF system tucked in close to the standing stubble of the previous crop. The pea crop is able to use any residual nutrients from the previous crop and the standing cereal stubble provides protection and may help to support the pea crop as it matures. 


CTF delivers improved crop emergence

Consistently higher yields are yet to come, but CTF improves overall efficiency

Steve Larocque is using his precision farming system to get to the root of improved crop emergence, which in the last few seasons appears to be getting about 80 to 90 per cent of the seeds coming out the ground. The word root is used both literally and figuratively for the central Alberta farmer and […] Read more


The SF6830 vertical tillage implement is new from AGCO’s Sunflower brand.

AGCO introduces the SF6830

A new, high-speed, vertical tillage implement for the Sunflower brand

In August, AGCO introduced a new vertical tillage tool into its Sunflower line of implements. The SF6830 model is one of a number of recent additions to the brand. Designed for high-speed field finishing, the SF6830 includes four types of ground engaging features in one vertical tillage implement. The front row on an SF6830 Series […] Read more

Ag track systems manufacturer Camso recently announced an ongoing research project to determine if converting field equipment to tracks can actually put more money in farmers’ pockets.

Can tracks increase profits?

Camso program measures the profit potential of rubber belts over tires

It makes for great coffee shop debates. Do rubber-belt track systems really offer advantages over cutting edge radial tires? And if so, do those advantages outweigh the extra investment cost? Camso (formerly known as Camoplast Solideal), the ag industry’s largest track systems supplier, has launched a new research program called “Profit From the Ground Up,” […] Read more


Claas 830 with trailed sprayer.

Controlling your farm traffic

It’s still a new concept here, but many farmers in Australia and Europe are embracing CTF

A recent conference held on the subject of controlled traffic farming, or CTF as it’s more commonly known, has shown that the uptake in North America and Canada is somewhat behind that of northern Europe and Australia. Held in Prague and organised by CTF Europe, the conference attracted more than 130 participants, including farmers, managers, […] Read more

The CTF system makes it easier to do inter-row seeding.

What you need to know about controlled traffic farming

CTF enthusiasts are drawing lots of interest, and starting to collect 
long-term data. For some, the benefits will outweigh the costs


When you think about compaction, you might think an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Controlled traffic farming is a system that may be both cure and prevention. Controlled traffic farming separates crop from traffic zones. “Wheel tracks are confined to specific lanes or tramlines,” Peter Gamache told delegates at Crop […] Read more