Gessner Big Buck ripping in

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In a time where no till practices reign supreme, one QLD farmer is bucking the trend with his Gessner Big Buck.

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The Gessner Big Buck ripper
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A return to traditional tillage practices is producing results for Queensland farmer Lance Wise.

Wise and his family run a large cropping operation in Bowenville, 45 minutes west of Toowoomba in Queensland’s Darling Downs region.

It is one of the state’s largest farming regions, and also one of the driest.

Growing everything from barley and wheat to chickpeas and mung beans on their 1,650-hectare property, Wise and his family turned back to a traditional tillage method for 12 months in order to retain soil moisture.

And the change has paid dividends – with Wise linking the moisture levels to his Gessner Big Buck.

"Basically we had a compaction issue," Wise says. "After using zero till and not really seeing the advantages of it and seeing a few different weed issues as a result of using zero till, you tend to start having to change your chemicals, so I ended up buying some Kelly chains."

Wise began running his Kelly chains over the land twice a year to help with his weed problems. They worked somewhat, but Wise wasn’t 100 per cent happy.

"After using the Kelly chains and a combination of a few things, we were noticing that things just weren’t performing as they should be," he says. "Then we were getting storms and most of the rain was starting to run off instead of soaking into the paddock.

"So, we ended up re-thinking everything, and decided to rip a couple of areas with an old ripper," he adds.

This decision turned out to be a success, with Wise then sourcing a brand-new Gessner ripper last year to work the farm.

 Wise says that unlike normal rippers that make a mess when busting up soils, the Gessner Big Buck creates a slot for the tine to go through, which gives the soil on either side of the tine a direction to go.

"When trying to keep as much moisture and control traffic and compaction, we needed a ripper that could match our rows (40 feet [12m] with 3m tram tracks), so we went for a 12.2m-wide machine with 30-inch (76cm) tine spacings," he says.

"All it is doing is lifting the soil and letting it go back down again – so you’re basically artificially cracking it."

It’s a simple process that has delivered results.

"Not many of our neighbours planted," he says. "Some irrigation places around here have used their bore water to irrigate crops up, and maybe two or three farms north of us may have scratched something in, but the rest has been irrigated," he says.

"But nothing for us, ours is all grown on stored moisture."

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