Guidelines for Deep Ripping Soils


Colour photograph of farm machine ripper.
Colour photograph of deep ripping machine in action.

What the Farmers Say

Deep Ripping is a very common practice. Farmers highlight many benefits from deep ripping the soils they crop

The Drainage Benefits

'Deep ripping increases soil drainage by opening up the soil and allowing water to infiltrate at a faster rate. This helps reduce erosion by getting the water away quicker.'

Jim Gofton - Penguin

Deep Ripping and Crop Production

'Deep ripping before a root crop is essential. A root crop performs best in a paddock that has been deep ripped. Carrots and potatoes need that deeper surface working, but with other crops like poppies and onions it is not so critical.'

Malcolm Brown - Sassafras

The Low Down on Wings

Rex says: 'The winged ripper gives much more lift than the standard tined ripper. It also gives a better end result with more shatter and soil disturbance.' and Nathan adds that: 'a fair bit more draft is needed to pull the winged tines, but it's worth it because only one pass is needed.'
Rex & Nathan Richardson - Thirlstane

Preserving Top Soil

'Ripping shallow allows me to prepare ground without inverting the highly fertile top soil.'

Alan Wilson

Soil Aeration

'Soil aeration helps break down organic matter and also provides plant roots with plenty of oxygen.'
Shane Radford

What the Experts Say

Graph with depth and resistance figures illustrating that continuously cropped soils are similar to soils under low input pasture where compaction is usually minimal.Getting Maximum Benefits

According to Bill Cotching (Land Management Consultant), to ensure that a deep ripping operation is effective, farmers need to consider a number of factors:
is soil moisture appropriate for deep ripping.
is the whole paddock compacted or is it only gateways and headlands where compaction exists.
how deep is the compaction.
are the tines correctly spaced on your ripper.
on investigation is the operation effective.

Compacted or Not?

According to most farmers compaction is a problem. Farmers continually highlight that they deep rip to reduce the effects of compaction. Research by Sparrow et al 1998 on Krasnozems soils has highlighted little compaction as a result of continuous cropping.

If continuously cropped soils were compacted, the resistance (Kpa) would be much greater at the depth of the compacted layer. The graph illustrates that continuously cropped soils are similar to soils under low input pasture where compaction is usually minimal.