Reefinator hopes to crush trial results

Reefinator hopes to crush trial results

Corrigin Farm Improvement Group executive officer Veronika Crouch said she hoped for some rain to get the trial site ready for seeding as the reefinating made the ground quite fluffy.

Rachel Clarke, Farm Weekly, 23 May 2019

THE Corrigin Farm Improvement Group (CFIG) has this year taken on a Reefinator trial after identifying it was something that growers in the area wanted to know more about.

CFIG executive officer Veronika Crouch said the money spent already in the Corrigin area on reefinating had been huge.

"We are hosting two Reefinator trial sites in the Corrigin region this season, at Bullaring and Gorge Rock," Ms Crouch said.

"We know we can't answer all the questions with these trials, however this is a great starting point as one of the first Reefinator trials.

"CFIG and Rocks Gone are very glad that we were able to team up and make something happen this season as it's been something growers in the region have been wanting for some time now."

The trial is set to measure yield performance and productivity from different depths of reefinating using the new Rocks Gone Reefinator which can rip down to 400 millimetres.

The seven hectare trial will look at the two different depths and responses to different fertiliser inputs.

Ms Crouch said in an ideal world they would have liked to have done a small plot trial, which they were still working towards.

"We are looking at where the most economical point is for your nutrition inputs," she said.

Across the two trial sites CFIG will include non-reefinated, reefinated at 200mm, reefinated at 400mm, high rates of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulphur (NPKS) fertiliser at 200mm and 400mm, low rates of NPKS fertiliser at 200mm and 400mm and P only fertiliser at 200mm and 400mm.

The trials, which will be sown in the next two weeks after being reefinated in April, will be replicated three times across the large trial site.

Prior to reefinating, both trial sites also had two tonnes of lime per hectare applied.

Ms Crouch said their group sponsors, Summit Fertilizer and CSBP, were supportive of the trials.

This year's trial will be sown to either wheat or barley, with a hope that canola will be seeded over the three-year trial.

Ms Crouch said throughout the trial CFIG would do establishment counts, in-season biomass, maybe some tissue testing, yield and grain quality.

"We will also do some yield mapping because of the large area that we have and to account for some of the spatial variability that you might see given it's a large trial area," she said.

"It will be over a few years to get some solid results so watch this space."

Alan Manton, who is hosting the trial site on a block he has a Bullaring, said 25 per cent of their home farm was affected by shallow iron stone rock.

"We aren't necessarily trying to get rid of the shallow rock but trying to make it productive, whether it's pasture or crop," Mr Manton said.

"We have trialled a few different ripping depths on that country, both 200mm and 400mm, so now we will wait and see."

Mr Manton said he was excited to see what the trial results would deliver when analysing the best gross margin with the fertiliser inputs.

"It's not necessarily the most productive or higher yielding but the one which gives us the best return from our investments and inputs," Mr Manton said.

"For example if we are ripping at 400mm, we are spending a lot more time, effort and money on the Reefinators.

"If we don't get that money back is there any point going to that depth and the same with the fertiliser.

"We are trying to get the country back into productivity."

This year Mr Manton was happy to host the trials because he said not all the cost was worn by one person.

"It allows a number of people to spread the risk off the farmer," he said.

"Yes it's my land but the Reefinator has been donated and the fertiliser donated.

"We are all trying to get the same result, but helping each other to do it."

Mr Manton also touched on the price of land and how reefinating allowed growers to reclaim land that wasn't very productive.

"If you can convert something that's only worth $200-$300 a hectare to something that may be worth $1500/ha by spending $400/ha, the capital gain is worth while in itself," he said.

"Let alone the productivity gain as well."

Ms Crouch said Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell was supportive of the trials.

Mr Pannell said he took on the trials because he wanted to demonstrate the importance of depth in soil.

"From our experience there is a large amount of the Wheatbelt which is shallow soil," Mr Pannell said.

"So we believe the potential for yield gain and production is large and worth pursuing trial work."

Mr Pannell said in the past there has been no machine able to get into the worst of the rock country around the State.

The current machine being used at the trials is still in the development phase and holds the capability to rip to 400mm.

Mr Pannell said Rocks Gone wanted to be involved with the farmers and "what's good for our growers is good for us," he said.

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