Soil, crop and emission responses to seasonal-controlled traffic in organic vegetable farming on loam soil

G.D. Vermeulen, J. Mosquera Losada

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Some organic arable and vegetable farms in the Netherlands use cm-precise guidance of machinery to restrict wheel traffic to fixed traffic lanes and to achieve non-trafficked cropping zones with optimized soil structure in between the lanes. Contrary to controlled traffic farming (CTF) the traffic lanes are not yet used for harvesting and primary tillage. Therefore, the system is called a seasonal-controlled traffic farming (SCTF) system. A field experiment was conducted on an organic vegetable farm to reveal soil, crop and emission responses of SCTF with traffic lanes at 3.15-m centres compared with conventional random traffic farming (RTF) using low ground pressures in spring from 2002 till 2005. The traffic systems were investigated in the crops green pea (Pisum sativum L.), spinach (Spinacea oleracea L.), onions (Allium cepa L.) and carrots (Daucus carota L.). Compared with RTF, the topsoil structure in the SCTF system improved for the crops sown on the flat but not for carrot grown on ridges. Crop yields increased significantly in green pea, spinach and planted onion sets but not in carrot and direct-sown onion. The available N-min at the end of the cropping period was not different between systems and, therefore, leaching losses in winter are expected to be the same. SCTF resulted in a significant reduction of N2O emissions (by 20¿50% compared to RTF). For CH4, application of the SCTF system resulted in increased CH4 uptake (by a factor 5¿20) compared to the RTF system in three of the four measured fields. At the fourth field, lower (but not significant) CH4 emissions (by a factor 4) were measured in the SCTF system compared to RTF. Effects of SCTF on timeliness and on the economic feasibility are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-134
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • nitrous-oxide fluxes
  • ch4 fluxes
  • potato fields
  • compaction
  • tillage
  • fertilization
  • methane
  • n2o
  • grassland
  • scotland


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