Reefinator increases crop yield on previously unproductive land

Reefinator increases crop yield on previously unproductive land

"There’s nothing on the market to compare with this machine"

Colin Taylor, Crop Gear, Aug 2020

FRUSTRATED with looking at ground that’s useless for farming because of rocks, hard pans, stumps or soil stratification?

Meet the new Reefinator H4, a machine capable of transforming un-arable land into crop seedbed.

Manufactured at Manjimup, in Western Australia, the Reefinator’s worth lies in its potential to increase crop yield on previously unproductive land, create soil depth, improve water retention, reduce machine wear and downtime, improve pasture growth and so lift livestock carrying capacity.

That all adds up to higher land values in dollar terms.

The Reefinator was designed, built and refined by Tim Pannell, who farmed at Yuna for more than 30 years before starting a contracting business using a rotary rock crusher to improve farming land throughout WA.

That experience sparked the development of his own concept, the Reefinator, now produced by Tim’s company, Rocks Gone, and marketed exclusively in South Australia and Victoria by WSB Distributors.

Sales in WA are direct from the manufacturer, with 175 units sold so far since the machine’s initial release in 2014.

The Reefinator is a multi-pass, high-speed machine that can work through heavy trash at a 3m width while crushing and ripping at depths of up to 450mm.

It has four leading tynes and five at the rear, spaced at 335mm, with a new cable-suspended levelling blade that levels the soil and crushed rock as you go.

WSB Karoonda branch manager Luke Hocking says Tim’s first design was labelled the RGV-100, but later versions progressed through 200, then 300, 300H (Heavy), H4 and H4 Contractor.

“The latest models — introduced in South Australia last September — are the RG-H4 and H4C, with full hydraulic systems,” Luke says.

“Those are the only versions being manufactured now, but, with 115 serial numbers still out there for the RGV series, parts supply for maintenance is continuing.

“The H4 we see today follows on from 130 adjustments made to four prototypes and around 2000 hours of trials under Tim’s watch.

“At the moment, we have 12 machines operating in South Australia and 10 slated for delivery in December.”

The H4 weighs 28 tonnes with 6000 litres of water ballast aboard and can crush most rock types with minimal, if any, damage to wear parts or machine.

“The optimum tractor power requirement is around 500hp (367kW) and we haven’t yet come across any type of rock that can withstand it,” Luke says.

“The only variable is how many passes are required to achieve the required result.”

Tim Pannell has described the Reefinator’s action as “like a giant cheese grater”, by ripping the rock a layer at a time and able to cover about 10-20ha per day, depending on rock profile.

“Some of the rock the Reefinator H4 is crushing is around the 70mpa hardness mark – for context, good concrete is around 30mpa,” he says.

“The hydraulic breakout makes it an easier, smoother machine to pull, with the hydraulic tyne allowing some give when that’s needed.

If you hit a blue granite rock, for example, the tynes just float over it as long as you haven’t set the pressure too high.”

Rocks Gone has won plenty of recognition, including the prize of WA Innovator of the Year in 2017 and multiple awards at the Yorke Peninsula and Newdegate field days.

“There’s nothing on the market to compare with this machine,” Luke says.

“We’ve got customers who haven’t sown ever who are now seeing fantastic returns on their investment.”

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