Steven Muscat Trial Progress

Region: Mackay

Who: Steven Muscat

Location: Homebush

To assess the impact of deep ripping in ratoons after harvesting in wet conditions, causing compaction

Traditionally paddocks were ‘worked’ to alleviate compaction issues. As machinery becomes heavier and better equipped to handle wet conditions, compaction issues have the potential to become more severe. Currently, the advice given to farmers is to minimise the amount of tillage operations that are carried out in the paddock to minimise disturbance to soil biology as well as decrease the likelihood of impacting soil structure.

It is thought that where severe compaction has occurred (i.e. harvesting in wet conditions), ripping will alleviate this and improve water infiltration, in turn improving crop growth.

In this situation, the grower tried to minimise compaction at harvest by only half filling the track transporter, however once irrigation was required, run off occurred. This led to the decision to centre rip half of the paddock once all herbicide and nutrient applications were made.