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RIPPER GAUGE DEMONSTRATION

DEMONSTRATING THE BENEFITS OF SOIL AMELIORATION AND CONTROLLED TRAFFIC PRACTICES ACROSS A BROAD RANGE OF SOIL TYPES IN wa

Commencement date

April 2021

Completion date

March 2023

Aim

Four new farm scale trial sites will be established in the 2021 season to evaluate different timings of post seeding deep ripping, against a non-ripped control and a traditional pre-seeding rip timing. Soil and crop measurements will be undertaken at each site to highlight the efficacy of each treatment undertaken and measure impact on crop production.          

Funding Provider

GRDC

Project lead organisation

Liebe Group

Collaborators

WMG, Liebe Group, Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, Mingenew Irwin Group

Project background

Soil amelioration is a key part of farming systems in Western Australia to overcome soil limitations to crop production. The removal of soil constraints such as compaction and water repellence through strategic tillage practices generally leads to increases in crop production in successive years. One of the limitations that threatens the longevity of these benefits is that the soil can re-compact over time following amelioration, often leading to levels higher than before amelioration.

Currently, the solution is to repeat the deep ripping process every few years, with the period between deep ripping dependant on the soil type and amount of wheeled traffic on the paddock. This is a costly repetitive process that may become unsustainable in the long term as soils become compacted to greater depths with successive tillage treatments and larger/heavier machinery.

While there is a good network of demonstration sites established across the port zones of WA, there are a number of soil types where the benefit and longevity of soil amelioration practices are unknown. The adoption of controlled traffic practices by growers is one tool that can potentially increase the longevity of soil ameliorative practices, by reducing soil compaction from wheel traffic by confining this to permanent wheel tracks across the paddock.

However, the potential of controlled traffic practices to increase the longevity of amelioration treatments has only been evaluated on a narrow range of soil types. This project aims to evaluate and demonstrate the benefit of soil amelioration across a wider range of soil types that are common to the WA grain growing region.

Demonstration sites will be established across the Kwinana East, Kwinana West, and Albany port zones that will fill the gaps in current knowledge of the grain yield and economic return from the amelioration of soil constraints. This project will add value to the existing demonstration site network that has been established by DAW00242, DAW00243, and DAW00244 projects that focus on ameliorating soil constraints. As a result of the increased number of demonstration sites, growers will have an increased awareness of the grain yield benefit and longevity of soil amelioration and controlled traffic practices for the major soil types for the selected port zones in WA.”

A variation to this project will set up four trial sites throughout the central and northern wheatbelt, particularly in regions recently hit by wind erosion events, to evaluate the impact of ripping after seeding on crop productivity.

Various post seeding ripping timings (x3) and crop types will be evaluated in the trials against a control (nil rip) and a traditional pre-seeding ripping timing. Crop measurements and yield data will be collected to inform a gross margin analysis to aid growers in their decision making.

Results and Reports

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