New ripper point designed with crop roots in mind

New ripper point designed with crop roots in mind

Editors' Choice: New concept in soil rippers should improve root penetration.

The theory behind ripping when it’s dry is to help break up soil compaction layers. The thought is that if you can break up horizontal layers, roots can penetrate deeper.

The only catch, says Gregg Sauder, the Illinois farmer who started 360 Yield Center, is that traditional ripper points don’t really fracture layers across the width of the machine. Instead, he says, they create berms of tight soil between areas where ripper points run.

LIFT AND FRACTURE: Gregg Sauder explains how the 360 Bullet ripper point from 360 Yield Center lifts and fractures soil across the width of the coverage area.

He and his team came up with a solution. It’s the 360 Bullet point, featuring a streamlined shape and wide wings. The goal, Sauder says, is to create a mini-earthquake under the soil surface that fractures from point to point and loosens the soil. That sets the stage for the roots of the next crop to penetrate to deeper depths.

What 360 Yield Center staff call “soil-on-soil turbulence” eliminates undisturbed berms of soil left by traditional rippers.

In a series of half-acre trials across various soil types, 360 Yield Center staff say that using the same tractor and a ripper equipped with 360 Bullet points took only 1.5% longer to finish ripping than a traditional ripper. The tractor maintained the same speed. Horsepower and fuel requirements were similar.

Learn more about 360 Bullet at 360yieldcenter.com.

A team of Farm Progress editors took a closer look. They are Tom J. Bechman, Indiana Prairie Farmer; Lon Tonneson, Dakota Farmer; and Mindy Ward, Missouri Ruralist. Here are their comments.

Tom’s observations
Seeing is believing. In static displays and videos, the concept of lifting and fracturing soil comes to life. It appears that this aerodynamic point does what it was designed to do.

If something as simple and cost-effective as switching points really helps, it seems like a no-brainer to try it.

Lon’s views
Knocks against ripping have been how much it costs and whether it really makes a difference in the soil or not.

Bullet points were designed to address both. If you’re going to rip, I guess you would want to use the latest and greatest. I would check out a demo and ask some people who really know your soils what they think.

Mindy’s thoughts
From the looks of it, farmers could say goodbye to the ripple effect that comes with traditional rippers. It makes sense that the expanded wing size of the point tip will break up more ground, but it is the leveling that is impressive.

Photos show how these new tips all but eliminate the berms under the surface. It seems so simple, yet so effective.

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