Digging deep to find soil constraint solutions

Wombat goes to depths

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Growers encouraged to understand soil limitations and treat specific areas accordingly.

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HARD WORKING: Wombat rippers can help treat soil constraints to depth.

HARD WORKING: Wombat rippers can help treat soil constraints to depth.

Subsoil limitations such as compaction, poorly structured clay, hard pans, chemical toxicities and developing acidity can significantly restrict crop root growth and reduce grain yield potential.

These issues can be specific to a soil type, or occur across several soil types on a property.

To boost the performance of these areas - and overall farm productivity - it is vital to understand the limitations and treat specific areas accordingly.

Treatment options include mechanical intervention and addition of soil amendments, such as clay, lime, gypsum or manures.

Trials and farmer experience across the country show targeted soil amelioration using such methods can boost crop yields by as much as 20 to 50 per cent over time.

Deep ripping has been found to be particularly beneficial for tackling deeper silicious sands, sand over clays and soils with compaction at depth.

Rodney Carr has been helping farmers to overcome subsoil compaction and other soil constraints for many years.

Through his Dubbo-based business, Countrywide Industries, he manufactures and supplies disc ploughs and heavy deep rippers - which can be fitted with inclusion plates, delta wings and fertiliser tubes to add value to the process.

Mr Carr said careful diagnosis of soil constraints to depth was essential before developing a specific soil amelioration tactic to address these.

His recently-released Wombat deep rippers are ideal for heavy soil renovation.

Clods break down in the soil after rain and the seedbed can retain moisture to make available to crop roots. - Countrywide Industries principal Rodney Carr

These 11 tyne, six-metre wide machines have hydraulic crumple rollers that can handle any ripping task.

They have been designed to meet some of the harshest challenges possible.

To ensure the Wombat Ripper can tackle tough, rocky and compacted soils, it has a tyne height/under frame clearance of 700 millimetres (or 28 inches).

"Because the machine weight can be carried on the roller, it stabilises it, breaks up large clods and pushes them back into the soil," Mr Carr said.

"It pushes bigger clods to depth, while ensuring the surface is firm and conducive to optimal plant growth.

"Clods break down in the soil after rain and the seedbed can retain moisture to make available to crop roots."

Mr Carr said the Wombat ripper ran with eight tonne breakout shear pins.

He said these were made as replaceable shear pin cheek plates for easy maintenance.

"For added stability, there are dual cylinders fitted on the crumble roller," he said.

"This allows for some pretty heavy material to be processed. There are depth stop brackets on all cylinders and the heavy gang bearings on the crumble roller are designed to withstand extreme pressure.

"This means less downtime."

The Wombat Ripper is fitted with 265/70R 19.5 18 ply tyres, and runs at a working rate of 7.2 tonnes.

To meet the engineering challenges facing Australian farmers grappling with subsoil constraints, Mr Carr looked at ways to incorporate the addition of ameliorants, such as gypsum, to depth during the ripping process.

"To this end, our Wombat rippers can be fitted with a drawbar to add fertiliser tubes and inclusion plates," he said.

"This especially helps to tackle compaction and sodic and/or dispersive soils.

"The air seeder can be towed behind the ripper to make soil amelioration and seeding a single task, which saves broadacre croppers time and money.

"It is a true amelioration ripper."

Before developing its rippers, Countrywide Industries already had strong credentials for manufacturing special, customised solutions for ground-breaking agricultural machinery.

It has a strong reputation for its sturdy, reliable and functional offset disc ploughs that are used by farmers right across Australia.

Mr Carr said he produced tandem disc ploughs (or disc harrows), offset disc ploughs, straightline go-devils (or triple disc hillers) for rows or beds.

He said he also supplied cultipackers, rotobucks, rubber and steel rollers, grader sloper blades, bandseeders for sowing pasture, sheep feeders and sheep troughs.

"I also do general engineering and fabrication jobs for clients," he said.

"A profile cutting machine and 300-tonne press with a six metre long bed is used for machinery manufacture and general engineering tasks."

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