CASE IH is set to re-enter the Australian tillage machinery market after vacating the field for many years.
The company has a suite of ‘red’ tillage equipment ready to filter into the Australian market over coming months, including offset discs, disc rippers and speed tillers.
Case IH marketing manager Australia/New Zealand, Pete McCann, said the move was in response to a growing need for producers to combat soil compaction and weed resistance.
“The main reason is that we are seeing farmers after 10 to 13 years of no-till needing to regenerate the soil,” he said.
“Regardless of how much no-till they have done, there is still a compaction layer under there. There might be a couple of inches of nice soft soil, but below that you get into the hard pan.
“What we are trying to promote is better root growth for the wheat or cotton plants and get moisture into the ground.”
Ecolo-Tiger disc ripper
One of the machines to make an appearance on Australian soils will be the Ecolo-Tiger disc ripper manufactured in the US at Case IH’s tillage centre at Goodfield, Illinois.
Mr McCann said the machine, which features sets of discs, tynes, closing discs and crumblers, performs three actions in the one pass.
“The whole idea with the adjustable, tandem, in-line discs at the front is to break the surface and start to incorporate the stubble into the soil,” he said.
“Then there are wing-tipped tynes that are designed to fracture and turn the compaction layer, but what we don’t want to do is bring the ‘nasty’ subsoil up. So it is very important that the depth is set correctly.
“There are discs at the back to close up where the tyne furrow has gone. The crumbler is to knock the clods down and get the seedbed ready.”
Despite the unit’s capacity for deep ripping, Mr McCann said it was critical to set the depth of the tynes no deeper than just below the compaction layer.
“Farmers love deep-ripping and pushing the tynes down as far as they can go, but you don’t necessarily want to do that,” he said.
“They should dig a hole first and check where the compressed layer is and set the tyne depth just under that. You don’t want to go too deep because you could pull up (unwanted) soils.
“We just want to renovate the natural compaction layer. We are just trying to break that up a bit and assist with moisture absorption.”
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Mr McCann said the disc ripper was a machine producers would use periodically to renovate their farms over the long term.
“The best way to do it is slowly work across your farm over several years, maybe doing a quarter of the farm this year and then working your way through the farm every year from then,” he said.
Visiting Case IH crop production products specialist for the US West Coast, Dave Marten, said the Ecolo-Tiger was a machine that was sold on ‘return on investment’.
“It has to pay for itself. This tool in most of my markets saves two to three tillage passes which, in our country is about US$20/acre/pass. We always get better water infiltration, so we always have better subsoil moisture, and we always increase yields,” he said.