‘Look before you leap’ into deep tillage

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 15 Oct 2015

On-farm trials in Western Australia’s South Coast region have highlighted the importance of growers testing deep tillage treatments on small areas before deciding whether to apply them to larger areas.

Deep ripping trials initiated by the Esperance port zone’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) examined results from different soil disturbance methods.

The aim of the trials, conducted in the West River area near Ravensthorpe by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network (RAIN), included providing local growers with a better understanding of subsoil constraints and management tools.

Trials were undertaken at three sites using various types of rippers and configurations for depth and spacing, including machinery depths to 20cm, 30cm and 40cm and tyne spacings of 30cm and 60cm.

GRDC RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill said that despite two of the three sites being located in adjacent paddocks, the results of the treatments varied significantly, with only one site being economically viable.

“The results reinforce the importance of doing small plot trials before applying invasive treatments across paddocks, as well as knowing the characteristics of the subsoil and using an experienced machinery operator – to minimise the risks of negative impacts such as bringing too much clay or rock to the surface,” she said.

Full results from the project are available by contacting Ms Hill on email.

The GRDC RCSN trial results will feed into the GRDC’s longer-term $36 million collaborative research effort Soil Constraints – West, funded by the GRDC, DAFWA, CSIRO and Murdoch University.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Julianne Hill, GRDC RCSN coordinator
08 9726 1307, 0447 261 607

Elisa Spengler, RAIN
08 9838 1018


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code RAI00004

Region West