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Ripping gives large yield increases in Mallee soils

By K-Line Ag
Published on
03 March 2021
Trial results in sandy South Australian Mallee soils showed yield increases between the K-Line MaxxRipper ® and the No Rip treatments of 350 to 436 kg/ha. At $250 per tonne for wheat, this is benefit of from $87.71 to $109.09 per hectare.

Mallee soils often form compacted layers that restrict crop growth

These layers are formed either naturally or through traffic and implements driving over sandy soils. The coarse sands pack together and stop crop roots exploring the soil for moisture and nutrients below these layers. Layers can be 100 to 500 mm deep. It is common to find crops on these soils struggling, yet there is ample moisture below the root layer.

Addressing a problem

Results from a 2017-18 National Landcare Program trial in sandy Mallee soils with proven compaction problems demonstrated that deep ripping improved yields.

Various deep ripping treatments with a range of machines were trialled on farms with sandy Mallee soils. The farmers themselves identified their sites as being low yielding, highly fragile land with significant management problems. Ripping was seen as a possible way of dealing with these difficult soils. And so it proved.

The K-Line MaxxRipper® proves its worth

Of all the machines trialled, the MaxxRipper ® consistently gave the best results for grain yield and quality over all sites. In drier years the results may be even better than these initial trials indicate. Economical? Definitely.

These results show that deep ripping to break up the hardpan allowed plant roots to access deep moisture and nutrients. And because the MaxxRipper® is fitted with a depth-controlling roller that firms the topsoil after ripping, seeding can take place at an even depth. The potential for erosion is then minimised.

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Not just any old ripper

Ripping alone may not work. Many trials have shown negative results when normal rippers are used to shatter the hardpan. This is because clods may rise to the surface and produce a very uneven seedbed. Poor germination and seed emergence are the result. But with its unique roller attachment, MaxxRipper® overcomes this problem with its compacting roller smoothing the way for even crop emergence.

Check your soils for compaction

The strong recommendations from this trial are to check your sandy soils with a soil probe. If ripping is needed, best results were proven to be achieved using a K-Line Ag MaxxRipper®. Set at the right depth, the machine gives an unmatched results, producing a soil surface that’s firm and trafficable, while reducing the potential for erosion and soil loss.

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