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Controlled Traffic Farming with Automated Steering

by Dec 2, 2010Guidance & Steering

Today’s crop growers find themselves reaching for higher yields in many ways – from seed selection, nutrient programs, pest management and increasingly through the use of new technologies allowing them to control other factors impacting yield, such as soil compaction.


One way farmers are using the ParaDyme® automated steering system is for controlled traffic tillage systems with consistent wheel spacing and swath widths from implement to implement.  This allows the grower to drive over the same rows every pass through the field, isolating the wheel tracks in the field.  By doing this, the overall effect on the crop is better than in non-controlled traffic situations.  By minimizing the number of overall passes through the field and controlling where those passes are made, a farmer can significantly reduce the effects of compaction on his farm.

One method  of controlled traffic farming is strip-tilling.  This practice involves disturbing the soil in zones inches wide instead of tilling the entire field.  Strip-till carts often integrate two or more passes across the field into one by allowing the farmer to place liquid fertilizer such as anhydrous ammonia at the same time they apply a dry or liquid nutrient blend.

In order to get the most out of this tillage system the farmer uses a strip-till cart with applicator shanks centered on the same width as the planter.  This allows the planter to place the seed directly in the prepared seedbed, which is also where the nutrients had been placed.   In order to accurately place the seed in the strip, a grower needs to be able to drive down the same line every time; this is where autosteer can help a grower.   An autosteer system – such as Ag Leader’s ParaDyme steering system – properly equipped with RTK can guide a machine down the same path every time with sub-inch accuracy, allowing the grower to know his seed is consistently being placed where it can get to the nutrients placed in the first pass.    This is the key to the success of the strip-till concept: placing the nutrients where the seed can get to it.