Controlled traffic farming barely rates a blip on the radar of farming practices across the U.S. today. But that could change as farmers become more aware of the yield-boosting potential of using real time kinematic (RTK) navigation systems to guide implements over the same tracks year after year.

At least that’s the hope of promoters of controlled traffic farming, which they say not only increases yields, but also cuts fuel costs, reduces machinery wear and tear and curtails erosion.

“I absolutely see it growing,” says Trevor Mecham, Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) marketing manager for Case IH. “The RTK infrastructure is in place across the U.S. to make it possible to drive on the same spot every year. Science shows this will improve yields, reduce production costs and enhance our soils.”  

“It is foolish not to consider controlled traffic farming when you have RTK,” says Randall Reeder, a longtime agricultural engineer at Ohio State University who worked with farmers on reducing its impact of soil compaction on crop yields. His advice: “Don’t reject controlled traffic because you can’t get everything lined up perfectly.” You’re still likely to see productivity improvements even if your system is less than perfect, he says.