Deep ripping trials on agenda for Open Forums

Author: | Date: 04 Jul 2018

Initial observations from trials comparing deep ripping treatments will be among the information presented at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Open Forums in the Esperance port zone.

South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) project officer Aidan Sinnott will discuss local GRDC ‘Ripper Gauge’ trials at GRDC Open Forums at Dunn Rock on July 23 and Munglinup and Condingup on July 24.

Image of deep ripping
The aim of a new GRDC project in WA is to increase grower knowledge about tools used for and implications of deep ripping to help alleviate non-wetting soils, compaction and waterlogging on various soil types and in different farming systems. Photo by Evan Collis Photography.

These events, coordinated through the GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) initiative, are among 15 Open Forums being held in July and August throughout the Western Australian grainbelt.

Growers attending them can express their ideas, hear where GRDC investment is occurring, talk with researchers leading local RCSN projects and speak with GRDC Western Regional Panel members and RCSN representatives.

GRDC grower relations manager Jo Wheeler said the Esperance Ripper Gauge trials were among several being conducted over three years across all WA port zones, starting from 2018.

“The aim of this short-term, WA-focused investment is to increase grower knowledge about tools used for and implications of deep ripping to help alleviate non-wetting soils, compaction and waterlogging on various soil types and in different farming systems,” she said.

“The West Midlands Group is coordinating the Ripper Gauge project in WA and is also conducting trials in the Kwinana and Geraldton port zones. SEPWA is carrying out trials in the Esperance port zone and Stirlings to Coast Farmers is doing research in the Albany port zone.

“Sites are located on common soil types within each port zone, and the work is investigating options to ameliorate multiple soil constraints such as compaction, subsurface acidity and surface non-wetting.

“Some of the treatments include ‘deep working seeding points’; deep ripping; inversion ploughing; rotary spading; delving; and grower practice.”

Mr Sinnott said SEPWA had five demonstration sites in the Esperance port zone. The Mount Madden and Coomalbidgup sites built on previously established grower trial work, and the Cascade and Neridup sites built on previously established trials conducted with Council of Grain Grower Organisations funding. In addition, SEPWA had established a new trial site at Salmon Gums.

Mr Sinnott said the very dry and windy start to the 2018 cropping season in the Esperance region had resulted in poor germination and establishment of cereals and canola in most deep ripped trial plots when compared with the undisturbed control treatments.

“Conditions were detrimental to achieving a good germination rate on most of the ripped plots, due to evaporation caused by soil disturbance,” he said.

“However, the Coomalbidgup trial site received more rain than the other locations and there was good crop germination at this site on all plots, including the ameliorated treatments.”

The GRDC Ripper Gauge project is being conducted in conjunction with the longer-term western region GRDC investment ‘Subsoil constraints understanding and management’ and is one of 23 new short-term western region ‘development and extension’ investments that commenced in 2018.

GRDC Open Forums are being held in the following locations:

  • Albany zone
    • Cranbrook Sporting Club, 2-6pm, July 16
    • Jerramungup Community Resource Centre, 8-11am, July 17
    • Kukerin Hotel, 2-6pm, July 17
  • Esperance zone
    • Dunn Rock Tennis Club, 2-6pm, July 23
    • Munglinup Sports Pavilion, 8-11am, July 24
    • Condingup Tavern, 2-6pm, July 24
  • Kwinana West zone
    • Goomalling Sport and Community Centre, 2-6pm, July 31
    • Bedford Arms Hotel, Brookton, 8-11am, August 1
    • Kondinin Aquatic Centre, 2-6pm, August 1
  • Kwinana East zone
    • Bruce Rock Shire Council building, 2-6pm, August 6
    • Westonia Bowling Club, 8-11am, August 7
    • Bencubbin Recreation Complex, 2-6pm, August 7
  • Geraldton zone
    • Eneabba Recreation and Sporting Club, 2-6pm, August 22
    • WA College of Agriculture Morawa, 8-11am, August 23
    • Lavender Valley Farm, Chapman Valley Road, Yetna, 2-6pm, August 23.

For more information about the GRDC Open Forums and to register, visit the RCSN webiste or contact GRDC RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill on 0447 261 607 or

Contact Details

For Interviews

Jo Wheeler, GRDC
0438 292 167

Aidan Sinnott, SEPWA
0427 188 854


Natalie Lee, GRDC
0427 189 827

GRDC Project code: HIL0002, WMG1803-002SAX, SCF1802-003SAX, SEP1802-004SAX