If it’s done right, deep ripping can help address a compaction problem in the field, but if you’re not careful, it can also make it worse.
As with any kind of tillage, you have the potential of breaking up soil aggregates with a deep ripper or subsoiler, but that’s not all, notes Aaron Daigh, soil physicist at North Dakota State University, in the video below.
If the shanks aren’t at the right depth, a deep ripper can add to the plow pan or compacted layer, he explains.
“When that shank and ripper goes through, it’s moving soil in all directions around it. So if you go too shallow, you can actually compact soil on top of the compaction layer and make it thicker. The same way on the other side, if you aim below it…you’re lifting soil up into it,” says Daigh.
So where should you aim the shanks? And how do you determine that depth?
Check out the video below for more on deep ripping (filmed at the 2016 Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks, ND):