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Abstract

Although controlled traffic farming (CTF) has been shown to provide production, environmental and economic benefits in a number of cropping industries, uptake in vegetable production is limited. In many situations adoption is constrained by the lack of harvest equipment suited to CTF. Research shows there are important soil benefits, and potential yield improvements, to be gained from CTF in vegetable production. With little on-ground experience to provide economic data, a model was developed to determine the difference in returns between three different vegetable farming systems. Returns were calculated as income minus operating and ownership costs (including interest and depreciation). Case study farms were used as data sources, and despite using very conservative estimates of the production and management changes likely to occur under CTF, modelling indicated median increases in average returns of up to 29%. These results were obtained even when the costs of meeting harvest integration were taken into account, indicating that the benefits of controlled traffic in vegetable production should adequately cover the costs of transition.

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