Deep ripping, deeper deep ripping and water use efficiency


Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details


Growers and advisers have a better understanding of the benefits of deep ripping and in particular depth of deep ripping required to optimise crop yield & profit. They also better understand where the cost is worthwhile (rainfall zones, soil types) and very importantly how long the benefit lasts for in a CTF system.

Growers and advisers will be able to assess the likely cost-benefit to them/their clients of deep ripping.

Key messages

Deep ripping to 500-600mm in coarse textured sandy soils increased yield by 21-66% compared to 6-24% with ripping to 300mm in wheat and canola in 2016 and 2017 in the Geraldton port zone. There was only a small yield response to ripping the red loam in 2016 and no difference in 2017.

Soil moisture measurements and visual observations of plant root growth indicated deeper ripping allowed the plant roots to access more water from deeper down the soil profile. This is particularly beneficial in sandy soils that have a low plant available water capacity(PAWC) per 10cm down the profile therefore roots need access deeper into the soil profile to gain the same amount of water as heavier textured soils that have a higher PAWC per 10cm.

Economic analysis found the higher cost of deeper ripping gave a positive return on investment up to $5/ha for every dollar invested at 3 sandy sites but not on the red loam where the return on investment was negative with a return of $0.63/Ha for every dollar invested. On the sand at Ogilvie there was a yield penalty in lupins in 2016, resulting in a negative return on investment which could not be recouped in the following dry season of 2017.

If ripping below 400mm, consideration must be given to crop selection in year one (lupins are higher risk); leaving an even seed bed post ripping to reduce bogging and plant establishment issues; and managing weeds as due to poor competition and better access to water and nutrients can increase the weed burden as these factors can have a negative impact on yield reducing the return on investment.


Lead research organisation Grains Research and Development Corporation
Host research organisation Agrarian Management
Trial funding source GRDC GER9
Related program Regional Cropping Solutions Network

Thank you very much to the host farmers Ben Cripps, Paul Messina, Spring Park Farms, Matt Freeman and Braden Bagley.

Thank you to DAFWA GRDC funded project DAW00243 for providing advice on trial setup, assistance with soil compaction assessments and result interpretation.


Other trial partners Precision Agriculture
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Soil: Compaction
  • Soil amelioration
Trial type Demonstration
Trial design Unknown

Arrino 2017

Sow rate or Target density wheat
Sowing machinery

controlled traffic farming system  40ft header, 60ft seeder, 120ft sprayer, 12m ripper

Sow date 15 April 2016
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified
Soil amelioration


  • Ripped 550mm (control)
  • Ripped 300mm
Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Download results

Trial results Table 1

# Variety
Treatment 1
Treatment 2
Grain yield (t/ha)
1 Wheat Yellow sand Ogilvie No rip 2.05
2 Wheat Yellow sand Ogilvie Shallow 2.14
3 Wheat Yellow sand Ogilvie Deep 2.28
4 Wheat Yellow sand Ogilvie Deep + N/A
5 Wheat Yellow loam Arrino No rip 2.08
6 Wheat Yellow loam Arrino Shallow 2.29
7 Wheat Yellow loam Arrino Deep 2.58
8 Wheat Yellow loam Arrino Deep + N/A
9 Lupins Pale sand Walkaway No rip 0.92
10 Lupins Pale sand Walkaway Shallow 1.23
11 Lupins Pale sand Walkaway Deep 1.34
12 Lupins Pale sand Walkaway Deep + 1.38
13 Lupins Yellow sand plain Eradu No rip N/A
14 Lupins Yellow sand plain Eradu Shallow 2.38
15 Lupins Yellow sand plain Eradu Deep 2.55
16 Lupins Yellow sand plain Eradu Deep + 2.3
17 Canola Red Loam Mullewa No rip 0.85
18 Canola Red Loam Mullewa Shallow 0.87
19 Canola Red Loam Mullewa Deep 0.84
20 Canola Red Loam Mullewa Deep + N/A

Grain yield t/ha

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Site Depth Type pH EC P K N A OC CAT
Arrino, WA 0 - 10cm Sand 6.20 0.05 4.00 2.00
Arrino, WA 10 - 20cm Sand 5.80 0.02 1.00 2.00
Arrino, WA 20 - 30cm Loamy sand 5.10 0.02 0.00 1.00
Arrino, WA 30 - 40cm Sand 5.30 0.01 1.00 0.00
Arrino, WA 40 - 50cm Loamy sand 5.70 0.01 0.00 0.00
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Arrino, WA Not specified
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Arrino, WA Sodosol
National soil grid Source
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Arrino WA 2017

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 406mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 351mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 172mm

Derived climate information

Arrino WA


Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.

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Trial last modified: 23-07-2019 13:44pm AEST