Queensland, Australia grain grower, Peter Howlett, uses an Orthman 1tRIPr pre-plant tillage tool, which combines strip till and nutrient placement at two depths in the one pass, prior to planting maize on his farm at Kumbia, west of Kingaroy.
Strip-tiller Peter Howlett is using the Orthman 1tRIPr to place nutrients in the seed bed two months prior to planting saved him 30pc on wasted fertilizer costs.
Howlett has been cropping maize for four seasons and plans to continue his traditional 50/50 maize and bean rotation this summer in light of the current high prices.
“We had planned to swing towards all beans this season as prices were looking good but once we saw maize hit $240 per metric ton — well up on last year’s price of $200 per metric ton — we decided to stick with the traditional program,” he said.
Howlett said using the Orthman 1tRIPr to place nutrients in the seed bed two months prior to planting saved him 30pc on wasted fertilizer costs.
“Having the fertilizer there ready and waiting also delivers higher yields,” he said.
“On average, our yields are 20pc higher than neighboring growers who have sown crops using a different system.
“Given that the growing conditions are the same, our yield benefit can only be due to equipment choice.”
Howlett said the system also allowed him to make additional savings on fuel costs.
“If I was using a conventional tillage system, it would take me four to five passes to do the work the Orthman 1tRIPr performs in one pass, saving up to 50pc on fuel,” he said.
Howlett’s 1tRIPr is set on a six-row strip, with fertilizer placed at depths of 100 millimeters (3.93 inches) and 200mm (7.87 inches).
With its ability to cut the soil surface and subsurface residue, the machine can handle heavy stubble whilst maintaining consistent depth due to its parallel linkages.
“We sow into stubble 125mm (5 inches) thick and I’ve never had the machine plug up,” he said.
Once the heavy stubble has passed through the front of the machine, a row cleaner assembly removes the residue, while four adjustable down pressure springs per row apply pressure to assist with soil penetration and row unit preparation.