Eyre Peninsula cropper Tim Larwood has found great yield returns after trialing deep ripping in randomly selected paddocks of barley, wheat, peas and canola.
Mr Larwood trading as TJ,DL Larwood & Co crops 3500 hectares with vetch, peas, canola, barley, and wheat in rotation across his Buckleboo farm with father Jack.
He found when harvesting his barley crop in a paddock that had been deep ripped, he was recording 0.5 tonne/ha better results than previous years when he had not deep ripped.
"It must just bust the hard pan and the roots can get down to really grow the crop well," he said.
"Crunching the prices this year with our grading at H2, meant deep ripping added $220/ha - it's a fair gain.
"The machine I used for the job was Lienert Engineering's, Tilco deep ripping straight tine with shear pins and it was a good ripper.
"It would pay for itself in a couple years just in the gains on the crops, depending how much you want to deep rip."
Mr Larwood said his crop is about three times as good once he deep ripped but he did encounter some issues in certain areas.
"The trafficability was shocking after all the rain on some areas I deep ripped," he said.
"The water would run into all the gullies and we nearly got bogged plenty of times.
"The header was sliding so I made sure we emptied the header out into the chaser bin just before we got to the gullies so I didn't have all the weight.
The canola was too green to harvest and I had to get the neighbour to spray it because my sprayer has turned to ash- Tim Larwood
"We had to get a bit strategic about it."
Mr Larwood said next year he would definitely stick to only deep ripping the hills instead of whole paddocks.
"Another thing we are going to do differently is stone roll it straight after to hopefully make it a bit more header friendly," he said.
"What we deep ripped this year, Dad will stone roll straight after harvest and then we will stone roll the newly-ripped stuff next year as well."
Mr Larwood uses the AgWorld application on his phone to map out his farm and breakdown locations for each variety he plants.
"I have scheduled to plant 1000ha of wheat, 700ha of barley, 250ha of canola, 500ha of vetch, and 300ha of peas," he said.
"The strongest crop we planted this year was the wheat but the early barley was really good too.
"The wheat we averaged over 2t/ha, some areas averaged over 3t/ha but the last paddock of wheat dropped the total farm average as it only averaged 1.7t/ha because it's harsher country.
"The homeplace is a loamier soil type where the leased paddock was real heavy red soil so with no rain in September, it died pretty quick.
Mr Larwood said the protein levels in their wheat crop had been good before they had 100 millilitres of rain in November, which downgraded the quality to SFW1.
"It meant profits went from about $440/t to $350/t," he said.
"I worked out the rain cost us between $350,000 and $400,000 but it is hard to curse the rain because that is what grew the crops in the first place. We were grading pretty well with it all H2 before the rain."
TWO years of hay production, alongside machinery, were lost at Buckleboo, after a shed fire caused $1 million in damage in early November.
"The hay obviously got hot so we lost about 120 tonne of last years hay and 150t of new seasons, which had only just gone into the shed," Tim Larwood said.
"We start seeding off by planting 700 hectares of vetch first, which we mainly use as ground cover.
"The 350ha of the vetch is sprayed out and left for ground cover and the other half is baled as hay to cover costs of planting it or reaped for seed to use the following year."
Mr Larwood was in Adelaide at the time of the fire and his father Jack, did not make the trip to the farm that day, due to 70 millilitres of rain received that night.
"In some paddocks we would sew hay and cut hay but we lost all that this year, and machinery," he said.
"By the time we got there it was too far gone, and basically all charcoal.
"The machinery we lost in the fire was our Miller Nitro boomspray, air seeder and bar, caterpillar tractor and Case windrower."
The shed fire meant Mr Larwood had to rely on neighbours to lend him machines he lost in the fire to assist with harvest production.
"The canola was too green to harvest and I had to get the neighbour to spray it because my sprayer has turned to ash," he said.
"We are not the only ones though, there have been a few go up this year."
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