Over The Fence West: Modified Chamberlain one-way plough for deep soil inversion

A farming innovation by the name of ‘The
Plozza Plow’ could offer Western Australian grain growers a new way to alleviate severe
non-wetting soil issues. Developed by Eneabba brothers Ben and Sean
Plozza, it’s made up of a one-way disc Chamberlain plough with market garden-style discs to invert
the top non-wetting sandy and gravel layer of the soil, while also incorporating lime
at depth. We got lucky and found the secret that made
it work, which was basically pulling out every second disc and rejigging the plough to suit
and we got a big surprise when all of a sudden we could invert soil far deeper, far more
emphatically, than we could previously in any ways. Will Browne the owner of this property, he
realised the value and got the local grower groups involved, or the grower group that
we’re involved with, and trials were organised and then that gave us incentive to try significantly
harder, so I put quite a bit of time into developing discs. Mr Browne, who crops 2000 hectares of wheat,
barley, canola and lupins at Warradarge Hill on the property next door to the Plozzas’,
believes the plough has the potential to pay yield dividends. It’s very tangible, the benefits of the
Plozza ploughing. I guess this paddock that we’re standing
in, when it was first cropped 20 years ago was growing good nice high yielding, maybe
3 tonne wheat crop and 2 tonne lupin crop, which as the non-wetting got worse petered
out to one to half or half that, so I’d be hoping that we’ll return to those 3 tonne
wheat, 2 tonne white lupin yields. The plough has been tested along with other
soil amelioration techniques as part of a jointly funded Department of Agriculture and
Food, Western Australia and Grains Research and Development Corporation trial, assessing
options for managing water repellent gravel soils. According to Mr Plozza the low cost modified
plough is similar to other machines designed to alleviate non-wetting, with an advantage
of its greater ability to handle more paddock impediments, including rocks, loose tree roots
and stumps. The discs in my mind sit largely in the middle
between a rotary spader and mouldboard in effect. So a mouldboard definitely does the nicest
prettiest job, and a rotary spader no doubt mixes probably better than the others but
this sort of sits in the middle and if you put a shovel through it and look where your
topsoil has gone, it’s pretty good, so you get a pretty even distribution from top to
bottom, and quite adequate levels of subsoil brought up and spread out over the top. The following year the soil condition of the
paddock is completely different. You go from complete non-wetting to complete
sponge wetting, and it’s very emphatic and very good. Germination is really good, straight away. I guess it doesn’t really do anything special
that the other two processors do, but it can handle pretty ugly conditions if you are sensible
and give it a chance.

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Reader Comments

  1. Stephen Bradbury

    why dont you guys put some fine carbon particles into your acrage and see the difference after 2 maybe 3 years as the enzimes start to reboost the soil, it can be spread with a spreader and plough it in leave rest for 2 years increase crop residules per hectre

  2. Steve Owen

    We've gone back to the old chamberlain 24 disc plough bout ten years ago. When set up correctly they do do a beaut job at burying trash and grasses. Even with the standard 24 discs, if you sink her in to its full depth, you will get a good mix of clay into your top soil. That's the case on our place anyway. They need bugger alll hp to pull when set properly, get it wrong and they are hard to pull. They will fight the tractor the whole time, ride out the dirt and take off sideways in a flash. Set right and they will follow like a puppy and ya tractor won't know it's there. We pull ours with a 2290 Case. Powerwise it would easily pull two of them, but they just ain't heavy enough in the back end even when all four tyres are filled with water. Not to mention that model Case is weak as piss from the motor back. The 504 is a great motor, just the strength of the back end is low. We pull a round pipe with chains on an angle behind ours and it leaves the soil very very smooth. Seedbed smooth. Like the one in this vid we have a half ton weight bolted to the back of ours to help keep her in the furrow, but ours has the duel wheel set up, which in my opinion is not as good as a single. There are so many adjustments on one way ploughs, infinite in fact, depth, width,disc castor. What may work perfectly in a sandy paddock may not work in the gravely paddock next to it. But with a little logic thinking that can be solved.
    How many discs does this old girl have now, what size discs are they and how deep can you sink them in. Great video mate, good to see someone thinking outside of the square for once and having a go and getting results. Thirty years ago the one way plough was a dirty word that caused every problem under the sun. People were giving them away. Not many of today's farmers would know how to set one up. It's sort of like an art form that's been lost.

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