Leyburn-Millmerran, Queensland, AU

Conventional to Conservation


Random wheel traffic from tractors, sprayers, and harvesters associated with conventional cultivation practices is highly destructive to soil structure and organic matter. On the Darling Downs region of Australia, such farming practices over many decades caused greatly compacted subsoils and contributed to declining crop productivity over time.

Such was the history of these farms up to 1995 when Controlled Traffic Farming plus No-Till (CTF+NT) soil and crop management were rigorously adopted. All cropping fields were then effectively partitioned into two areas: ‘traffic-zones’ (12-15% of field area) for permanent confinement of all wheel tracks, and ‘cropping zones’ (85-88%) for crop rooting only with no machinery wheel-tracks to cause compaction.

CTF+NT management and increased crop rotation diversity greatly enhanced the efficiency with which the highly variable and limited rainfall could be converted to harvested crop. Typically, a two-fold improvement could be achieved here.

Challenges Resolved

Engagement Statistics


Dates: Nov 1995 – Sept 2002

Location: Australia, Darling Downs

Land Area: 1,600 ha (3,950 ac)

Köppen Climate: Cfa (humid sub-tropical)

Client Type: family farm

Service: management of rainfed & irrigated agriculture

Production: hard wheat, soft wheat, barley, cotton, maize, grain sorghum, chickpeas, mungbeans, soybeans, beef cattle

Crop Water Source: rainfed (600 mm p.a.) & irrigation

Useful Information: owner-manager of diverse cropping & beef cattle farm

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