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04.
August
2014

Brownrigg Agriculture – compaction destroyed

Brownrigg Agriculture is a large-scale intensive farming operation, based at Poukawa, south of Hastings in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Along with many hectares of squash grown and exported to Japan, and a variety of other crops,  they grow 1000 hectares of maize grain.  Cropping operations Manager Sam Lindstrom said "after extensive tests and digging to examine the soil profile in many different fields, we determined that compaction at various levels could be hindering the root development in our maize crops and ultimately the yield"  We needed a machine that could loosen the full soil profile down to 55cm deep, and also be strong enough to handle the 360Hp tractors we would be using to pull it at that depth"

The 3.0mtr Terraland ripper, is built to handle this high horsepower, with each leg protected by hydraulic trip protection.  Ripping deeper than we have before, means we find the odd buried object from time to time Lindstrom says, so the non-stop trip leg trip protection is an important part of the machine.  As added security, each of the 7 legs is also protected by a traction shearbolt as well.  In the busiest part of Autumn, the 3.0mtr Terraland is double-shifted and works 24 hours a day when the weather permits, "so reliability is a big thing for our operation, when we are under this sort of pressure".   So what difference has the ripping made to crop yields?  Coincidentally, we have just had our highest average maize yields ever, says Sam.  Admittedly we have had very good growing conditions this year for maize, but we can’t help thinking that the ripping last Autumn has something to do with it?  We certainly found the groundwork in Spring a lot easier, and drainage has improved in our wetter fields.