Authors: Michael Moodie1, Lynne Macdonald2, Ray Correll3
Research Team: Mick Brady1, Todd McDonald1, Chris Davies1, Jack Desbiolles4, Therese McBeath2
1Frontier Farming systems, Mildura; 2CSIRO, Waite Campus; 3Rho Environmetrics, 4University South Australia, Mawson Lakes
Funded By: GRDC project CSP00203
Project Title: Increasing production on sandy soils in the low-medium rainfall areas of the southern region
Peer Review: Therese McBeath (CSIRO)
Key Words: Deep ripping, spading, organic matter inputs, nitrogen
- The primary constraints to crop water-use in deep sandy soils of the Victorian Mallee include physical barriers to root growth, which restrict uptake of water and nutrients from the subsoil layers.
- Acidity, strong repellence, and subsoil toxicity were not primary constraints at the focus research sites in this project.
- Provided there is reliable subsoil moisture, ripping to a depth beneath hard compacted layers provides a good starting place for growers aiming to improve under-performance.
- Deep ripping alone provided more consistent yield responses compared to combined approaches, looking to physically ameliorate compaction and boost profile fertility.
- Before undertaking a deep ripping program, growers should assess the type and depth of the constraint, and choose a ripper which can work into, and under, the compacted and consolidated layers.