Deep rip­ping with Agrow­plow lifts yield

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - NEWS -

DEEP rip­ping us­ing an Agrow­plow has re­sulted in higher yields in low and no-till crop­ping sys­tems in Western Aus­tralia's grain belt. Man­ager of a 8000 hectare canola, wheat and bar­ley op­er­a­tion at Won­gan Hills, Aaron Fal­coner, said wheat yields in the area av­er­aged 2.5 tonnes per hectare at best, but past ex­pe­ri­ence has shown deep rip­ping can lift yields to be­tween 2.5- 3 tonnes/ha. “Def­i­nitely a no­tice­able lift – phe­nom­e­nal,” Mr Fal­coner said. Fur­ther north, at Moora, Tony Snell started deep rip­ping rel­a­tively re­cently on lighter coun­try that had been ‘spaded' to mix the soil pro­file up and cor­rect non-wet­ting sands. He found that deep rip­ping was needed af­ter some sub­se­quent ‘set­tling' and ‘pack­ing down'. Like Mr Fal­coner, Mr Snell ex­pe­ri­enced a “pretty graphic” illustration of the re­sults of rip­ping. Just us­ing a shovel and dig­ging down af­ter har­vest, on the ripped coun­try he found all the mois­ture had gone – utilised by the crop; whereas on un­ripped coun­try it was still ‘wring­ing wet' be­low the hard pan – out of reach of the crop's roots. And whereas malt­ing bar­ley yields on un­ripped coun­try were around 2 tonnes/ ha, yields on ripped coun­try av­er­aged up to 3.25 t/ha, ac­cord­ing to Mr Snell. Mr Fal­coner re­called they used to deep rip reg­u­larly us­ing an older Agrow­plow some years ago but the idea was dropped. Av­er­age rain­fall in the area is sup­posed to be 400mm al­though they have only seen about 350mm in re­cent years, so chas­ing mois­ture is im­por­tant. “Since deep rip­ping when we can, we've def­i­nitely got a bet­ter root struc­ture, and we've bro­ken up the hard pan al­low­ing the roots to get down to the mois­ture that's there,” Mr Fal­coner said. “We have some deep sand but it's mainly yel­low sandy loam that can be­come com­pacted here, there's a hard pan about 250-300mm down. If we get rain at the right time we deep rip be­fore planting.” A cur­rent Agrow­plow Model AP90 had been used over 4000ha on an­other prop­erty Mr Fal­coner is as­so­ci­ated with - on deeper sand at Dan­dara­gan - be­fore it came to Won­gan Hills where it has since done an­other 1400ha. Crop­ping around Won­gan Hills com­monly utilises 12m (40ft) im­ple­ments with tines at 19-inch spac­ings and wheels at 3.0m cen­tres. The AP90 cur­rently em­ployed on the farm Mr Fal­coner man­ages is a 27 tine model with two tines re­moved to suit the tram­lin­ing sys­tem. Mr Fal­coner farms some very hard coun­try so he finds the strength of the Agrow­plow's frame great. He also likes be­ing able to “shift the tines around” to suit dif­fer­ent crops and sys­tems, the shape of the AP90's tine shank, and the “fan­tas­tic” trash clear­ance of the im­ple­ment's longer tines. “It's pretty easy to pull too when the con­di­tions are right – we were do­ing 6 km/h with the trac­tor just idling along,” he said. Mr Snell liked Agrow­plow's value and price through Wan­gan Hills dealer Boeke­mans. “While my 29 tine machine works a lit­tle nar­rower than oth­ers, it rips a lit­tle deeper be­hind our 600hp Case trac­tor. It's been very good,” Mr Snell said. Fea­tures of the Agrow­plow AP90 in­clude a 150mm x 150mm 9mm heavy duty RHS 3-bar frame, +/- 10 de­gree float­ing wings to cover ground un­du­la­tions, and bolt­less quick-change shanks and points. Both pro­duc­ers' Agrow­plows are com­ple­mented by rear rollers to main­tain a con­sis­tent level seedbed. In Western Aus­tralia's chal­leng­ing grain belt, deep rip­ping with the Agrow­plow AP90 has been shown to be an ef­fec­tive and durable an­swer to the chal­lenge of ac­cess­ing soil mois­ture and cre­at­ing a pro­duc­tive soil pro­file in readi­ness for sow­ing.

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