Paxton SR7 soil renovator debuts in WA

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The Dickins family in Western Australia treated themselves to a brand new Paxton plough to mark more than 100 years of farming.

Paxton SR7 soil renovator debuts in WA
Australian-made Paxton SR7 soil renovator is the brainchild of agricultural engineer Wade Smith.

The very first of a new Australian-engineered heavy duty Soil Renovator designed to be "simple, strong and reliable" has gone to work in Western Australia.

Nigel Dickins, who has continued the family enterprise for the past 20 years growing wheat, barley and canola, recently took delivery of the latest Paxton Plow Co SR7 Series Soil Renovator.

The Dickins family made the purchase to celebrate over a century of farming in the Dalwallinu region.

The super heavy duty deep ripper has already worked more than 500 hectares of the Dickins’ 2,700h of arable country.

At a demonstration day held on the family farm the Paxton plough machine was put into "a pretty ugly situation".

"We turned up a few rocks but, rather than making a bit of work for myself the machine handled it with no problems at all," Dickins says.

Developed by agricultural engineer Wade Smith the Paxton plough’s frame is 150 x 150 x 9mm RHS [rectangular hollow sections].

Smith believes the implement is the only one of its type to boast a demonstrably heavy duty 400 x 400 x 16mm RHS main beam-drawbar.

He also points out "more meat around the heel" and a unique design incorporating a full face shin guard and inbuilt adjustment for working depth by varying shank length as evidence of the unit’s working credentials.

"This is an innovation in hard pan or subsoil renovation," Smith says.

"Every farm’s hard pan is at a different depth and every hard pan is of a different thickness.

"That’s why our SR7 Series has tine shanks adjustable to suit working depths from 200mm up to 535mm."

Dickins says over the past couple of years he became aware he had a "bit of a hard pan problem" between 300 and 400mm.

"Previously we’d not really been ‘deep’ ripping — we’d been using a lighter two-row machine and not working deep enough," Dickins says.

"We also tried a big offset disc but the problem was worse than we’d thought."

Dickins’ local dealer Boekeman Machinery showed him plans for the new Paxton plough machine and it looked like what he was looking for — a much heavier design that could help him get a bit deeper.

"The adjustable hydraulic breakout — up to 2,000 lbf [pounds force] — also appealed greatly with very few options that I’ve found on the market that can do that," he says.

Dickins adds some local farmers are trying to ‘deep rip’ down to 500mm and believes the Paxton plough would definitely be capable of it.

"We’re probably getting down to 425 to 450mm where the depth of soil is available, but only pulling 19 tines of the implement’s 23 with our 440hp [328kW] Case Quadtrac.

"We need a bit more horsepower per tine than we first thought — we probably need 600hp [447kW] I think."

The Dickins’ SR7 is a three-row implement with tines at 450mm spacings.

Dickins has gone through more points than he expected but he did start off in very dry conditions — he’s had "minimal" rain this season.

"We had to stop at 40C some mornings — it was too hot for the tractor, the ground was very hard. But we had to put it in the ground under ‘worst case scenario’ and see where we’re at," he says.

Rain is expected before planting by the end of May, start of June. While areas north of Dalwallinu have received up to 100mm in recent weeks, Dickins’ farm has only seen about 30mm.

"We have to rip no matter what, whether the moisture is there or not," he says.

"We continuously crop everything so we don’t get much opportunity other than December through to April and whether it’s wet or dry we try and get a machine into the ground to crack it up."

Dickins adds his agronomist, who also farms, had had some "fairly spectacular results" from deep ripping further west.

"He brought the hard pan issue to my attention so we’re hoping for a minimum 300kg/ha extra in this area, 500 or 600kg extra on top of our usual 2.0 tonnes-plus would be nicer."

Dickins bought the Paxton plough SR7 on specifications, sight unseen.

"We don’t normally do business that way but on this one it paid off," he says.

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