Tillage Talk: Does Deep Ripping Fit Your Farm?


Duane Paton is considered one of the founding fathers of deep ripping in Ontario.

The Mount Elgin based farmer purchased his first deep ripper – a Case IH ecolo-tiger 730B – back in 1998 and still uses the same unit today. In the latest instalment of our Tillage Talk video series Real Agriculture agronomist Peter Johnson and Maizex agronomist Greg Stewart catch up with Paton and ask him why he uses a deep ripper and how it works on his farm.

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Paton says more tillage is needed on his farm because of his crop rotation, which includes vegetable crops. Areas of the farm are also prone to flooding, which creates compaction as bad as any heavy tractor. Paton notes that the Case IH unit runs on 15-inch centres, which allows him to run deep or shallow depending on the depth of the hard pan he needs to lift and shatter.


Fall ripping is usually followed by two passes with the field cultivator in spring. That still leaves about 30% residue on the field and Paton is ready to plant. The 16-foot wide unit require serious horsepower. Patton uses a 440HP Caterpillar tractor, “but you can get away with less than that,” he notes.

Johnson, a committed no-tiller, is confounded by the need for deep ripping, but he understands how it fits on Paton’s farm. “As much as I hate deep ripping, it works for Duane. I can’t argue with success,” he confesses.

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