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Economic evaluation of precision controlled traffic farming in the Australian sugar industry: a case study of an early adopter

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Halpin, N.V., Cameron, T. and Russo, P.F. (2008) Economic evaluation of precision controlled traffic farming in the Australian sugar industry: a case study of an early adopter. In: Proceedings of the 30th Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, 29 April - 2 May 2008., Townsville, Queensland, Australia.



Controlled traffic has been identified as the most practical method of reducing compaction-related soil structural degradation in the Australian sugarcane industry. GPS auto-steer systems are required to maximize this potential. Unfortunately there is a perception that little economic gain will result from investing in this technology. Regardless, a number of growers have made the investment and are reaping substantial economic and lifestyle rewards. In this paper we assess the cost effectiveness of installing GPS guidance and using it to implement Precision Controlled Traffic Farming (PCTF) based on the experience of an early adopter. The Farm Economic Analysis Tool (FEAT) model was used with data provided by the grower to demonstrate the benefits of implementing PCTF. The results clearly show that a farming system based on PCTF and the minimum tillage improved farm gross margin by 11.8% and reduced fuel usage by 58%, compared to producers' traditional practice. PCTF and minimum tillage provide sugar producers with a tool to manage the price cost squeeze at a time of low sugar prices. These data provide producers with the evidence that investment in PCTF is economically prudent.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Author version © The State of Queensland (Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation) 2012. © Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.
Keywords:Controlled traffic; farming systems; global positioning systems; minimum tillage; precision agriculture; prices; soil compaction; soil structure; sugar industry; agricultural systems; minimum tillage systems; precision farming; site specific crop management; Australia.
Subjects:Plant culture > Field crops > Sugar plants
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Farm economics. Farm management. Agricultural mathematics
Live Archive:26 Mar 2012 05:21
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:49

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