Probe into ironstone gravel soils

Grains Research & Development Corporation

Cutting-edge tools and adapted standard soil analysis protocols are being used to learn more about nutrient use efficiency of ironstone gravel soils to better inform their management. https://groundcover.grdc.com.au/agronomy/soil-and-nutrition/probe-into-ironstone-gravel-soils

It’s World Soil Day

See a #Reefinator create 1000’s of years worth of #soil out of degraded rocky land in minutes at one of our demo days starting this Thursday up at Binnu. #WorldSoilDay #WorldSoilDay2020 #RocksGone #H4Reefinator The H4 Reefinator is capable of renovating land where the topsoil has been eroded away exposing the bedrock. The Reefinator crushes and […]

Reefinator a rock star

Rocks Gone Reefinator turns unusable rocky land into profitable crops As a third-generation farmer from Chapman Valley WA, Rocks Gone founder and inventor Tim Pannell knew all too well the problems that rocky land poses for farmers The hydraulic Reefinator H4 can crush rock layers while it deep rips and prepares once useless ground for crop growing with access to deeper soil moisture and nutrients When Rocks Gone debuted its Reefinator rock crusher in 2015 it was an instant hit with Western Australian farmers looking to renovate rock-encrusted land that could not be used for cropping. “Farmers now have the very real option of increasing soil depth, which has a range of agronomic benefits including greater water and nutrient holding capacity, and greater rooting depth which also then helps with crop and pasture resilience in times of crop stress,” Tim Pannell said. The latest Reefinator has been dubbed the H4 with the H designating that it’s a hydraulically operated machine and as such, there are no shear pins on the tines.

Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell with the new Reefinator H4. Credit: Angie Roe Cally Dupe, Countryman, 23 Aug 2019 Four years after releasing his groundbreaking product the Reefinator, Rocks Gone owner Tim Pannell is readying to release an upgraded version. The WA company launched its first rock-crushing machine to free up crop and pasture potential […]

Reefinator a cut above for growth

Reefinator a cut above for growth Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell (right) and Ballidu farmer Phil Mincherton stand with a Reefinator. Credit: Lauren Calvin The burgeoning company behind the rock-crushing Reefinator machine has won the growth category of the WA Innovator of the Year Awards. Judges assessed Mr Pannell’s flagstone Reefinator machine, a hybrid design between a rock ripper and a rock roller released in 2014, and has been designed to be towed behind a tractor. After travelling to look at the existing machines, Mr Pannell eventually purchased a rotary rock crusher and started a contracting business crushing rocks on farms and gravel roads for local councils. But he found the rotary crusher had its problems, so decided to develop his own concept — the Reefinator. Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly congratulated Mr Pannell on his achievement. The innovation award was another feather in the cap for Mr Pannell, whose business also scooped best new release at Newdegate Farm Machinery Field Days.

Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell (right) and Ballidu farmer Phil Mincherton stand with a Reefinator. Credit: Lauren Calvin Cally Dupe, The West Australian, 9 Nov 2017 The burgeoning company behind the rock-crushing Reefinator machine has won the growth category of the WA Innovator of the Year Awards. Rocks Gone, founded by former Chapman Valley farmer Tim Pannell, […]

Machine breaks ground

Machine breaks ground Tim Pannell’s business is a family affair, with his daughters Joanne and Amy chipping in. Credit: Picture: Sharon Smith There is not much Tim Pannell does not know about crushing rocks. The former Chapman Valley farmer has built his success on the need to adapt farming equipment to handle hard, lateritic rock found throughout the Wheatbelt. The family sold out of farming and Mr Pannell set about trying to design a machine for rock crushing, initially using an imported rotary machine for contract work. “We needed a machine that farmers could hook behind a big tractor,” he said. After three years, he developed the Reefinator. “In most cases farmers are already farming on the paddock and its poor, shallow country. “They run a few sheep on it and sometimes run a crop on it to try and clean it up but they don’t believe it (the land) can be fully utilised, but it can.” The Reefinator was named best Australian made machine at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days and best new release at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days in 2015.

Tim Pannell’s business is a family affair, with his daughters Joanne and Amy chipping in. Credit: Picture: Sharon Smith Cally Dupe, Countryman, 8 Feb 2017 There is not much Tim Pannell does not know about crushing rocks. The former Chapman Valley farmer has built his success on the need to adapt farming equipment to handle hard, lateritic […]

Rocks Gone Reefinator wins Mitsubishi Innovation Growth Award

Rocks Gone Reefinator wins Mitsubishi Innovation Growth Award Ballidu farmer Phil Mincherton and Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell discussing the size of the rocks the Reefinator crushed. Photo: Lauren Calvin GROWTH category winner at the Western Australian innovator of the year awards went to the Rocks Gone Reefinator. Sponsored by Mitsubishi Corporation the annual award is facilitated by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. Mr Pannell said rocky land in Australia is often regarded as unproductive or too costly to turn into productive soil. Mr Pannell said the multi pass machine crushes rock more efficiently and faster than any other machine on the market. “Farmers now have the very real option of increasing soil depth,” he said. Previous awards received by the Reefinator include “Best Australian Made Machine” at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days in 2015 and the “2015 New Release” at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days

Ballidu farmer Phil Mincherton and Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell discussing the size of the rocks the Reefinator crushed. Photo: Lauren Calvin Sharon O’Keeffe, Farmonline National, 9 Nov 2017 GROWTH category winner at the Western Australian innovator of the year awards went to the Rocks Gone Reefinator. Sponsored by Mitsubishi Corporation the annual award is […]

Rock crusher lets you grow more crop

Modern farming techniques of soil amelioration are now commonplace in agriculture to make land more productive, which in turn drives its value up. The Reefinator (pictured) is a soil amelioration method that rehabilitates rocky country, that would have previously been left untouched and turns it into highly productive farmland. One soil amelioration method that has prompted a great deal of interest in recent years is the Reefinator, by Rocks Gone, which debuted in 2014. The Reefinator is designed to dig up common laterite rock or limestone and crush it, to create topsoil which can be sown to crop, effectively converting unarable land into arable land. Mr Lefroy said the Reefinator was "a bit unique because it increases the arable area and therefore the value of the land due to the amount of total tonnes that can be produced from that farm". "The benefits of a Reefinator can be greater than just opening up more land because it can increase the farm's ability, whereas farms that have, for example with pH or water holding capacity, the lowest hanging fruit for the farmer is going to be removing the biggest constraint on yield. Dual role for new hydraulic Reefinator Rocks Gone's new H4 hydraulically-operated Reefinator is involved in an extensive 10-location demonstration program throughout the Wheatbelt. According to Mr Pannell, the Reefinator is being pitched at farmers and contractors and its presence on the market has opened up a big opportunity to renovate thousands of hectares of croppable land that has always been designated as 'non-rippable'. "There's a lot of rock just under the soil that conventional rippers are not designed to handle," Mr Pannell said. "We can reefinate and deep rip which will open up compacted soils to moisture infiltration and aeration. The new Reefinator is fitted with four leading tynes and five at the rear with a new cable-suspended levelling blade that, in operation, levels the soil and crushed rock as you go. Rocks Gone sales manager Darren Smith said the new Reefinator was ideal for soil renovation work with the ability to deep rip in heavy soils while handling constraints like rocks and stumps.   Getting a limestone rip out of Reefinator Hopetoun farmer Stott Redman with his Rocks Gone Reefinator H4 a novel but profitable way to create higher yield-producing country. Which is why Hopetoun farmer Stott Redman decided to try his Rocks Gone H4 Reefinator on a limestone ridge he discovered on his property. The H4 is the hydraulic version of the original Reefinator and as it turned out he became the owner of the first model made by Cutts Engineering, Manjimup. Mr Redman bought the Reefinator primarily to deep rip and destroy laterite ridges in the process, so he could then use a Nufab ripper to go deeper into the soil profile to access and bring up clay. On the economics side, the Reefinator is costing between $120 and $140 a hectare per pass which is weighed against reducing future rock picking and rolling costs and potential yield increases of 1 tonne a hectare for cereals and 500 kilograms a hectare for canola. The other bonus is that the Reefinator in the lime pit will be devoid of dozer push-up piles and will be a more efficient process with less aggregate produced. WA-built Reefinator a ripping success This is becoming a more common sight in Australian agriculture as farmers turn to the WA-made Reefinator to rehabilitate rocky country that is usually left untouched. "Last year, for example, some of the reefinated country produced exceptional yields where good rainfall was recorded. "I've seen land go from nothing to three or four tonnes a hectare after it has been reefinated but overall, most feedback I get from owners is at least a tonne better than their average yield. "From a return-on-investment viewpoint, the Reefinator is a popular pick with many bank managers. "We have a wealth of stories from owners and farmers who have used the machine in areas of their farms they never touched before. "They would just go around rocky outcrops and forget about that land for cropping. "Now owners are saying to me they are getting amazing yields and are somewhat gob-smacked that the land is so productive. "We generally find that's the case because these rocky outcrops mainly occur on hill slopes where farmers discover they've got really good soil."   Reefinator goes hydraulic Cutts Engineering general manager Kyle Cutts (left), Rocks Gone chief mechanical design engineer Shane Long and Rocks Gone managing director Tim Pannell check out the prototype H4 Reefinator which will be unveiled at next week's Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days. More than two years of research and development went into developing the new model. It is the result of more than two years of research and development, involving more than 2500 hours of testing in a range of rocky soil types from granite, hematite to magnetite and sheet ironstone. Designed by former Yuna farmer and Rocks Gone managing director Tim Pannell, it has been manufactured by Cutts Engineering, Manjimup and is considered the answer to working deeper in a wider range of rock types and hardpans, expanding applications unable to be achieved by the original Reefinator. It also has been designed to work through stubble, with tynes set at 335 millimetre spacings and opens up a whole new way of renovating paddocks for pasture and cropping. Ballidu farmer Phil Mincherton (left) and Rocks Gone founder Tim Pannell discuss the size of the rocks the Reefinator crushed into pea gravel, turning rocky outcrops into a seed bed. Mr Mincherton has seen a 1.1-2.6 tonnes a hectare wheat yield increase and a 2.3t/ha increase in barley yields. Photo: Lauren Calvin. He trialled deep ripping and rock crushing, using the Reefinator, in strips and on parts which had never grown a crop. The result was favourable with the untreated run growing 1.2-1.4 tonnes a hectare, while the Reefinated plot yielded 2.3-4t/ha of wheat, a 1.1-2.6t/ha increase. Mr Mincherton also grew crops on land that had never been able to establish growth before. In a good year his barley yielded 2.5-3t/ha, but his rocky country was lucky if it reached 1t/ha. After Reefinating, the laterite sections on his hills yielded 5t/ha while the rest of his barley in the valley yielded 2.7t/ha, due to frost. A huge percentage of the State’s farming country is covered in rocky outcrops which are often uncroppable or very low yielding, Pannell said. The Reefinator can get through those rocks, and after a few passes crush them up, incorporate the topsoil and leave a level finish   Reefinator hopes to crush trial results Corrigin Farm Improvement Group executive officer Veronika Crouch said she hoped for some rain to get the trial site ready for seeding as the reefinating made the ground quite fluffy. THE Corrigin Farm Improvement Group (CFIG) has this year taken on a Reefinator trial after identifying it was something that growers in the area wanted to know more about. CFIG executive officer Veronika Crouch said the money spent already in the Corrigin area on reefinating had been huge. "CFIG and Rocks Gone are very glad that we were able to team up and make something happen this season as it's been something growers in the region have been wanting for some time now." The trial is set to measure yield performance and productivity from different depths of reefinating using the new Rocks Gone Reefinator which can rip down to 400 millimetres. Mr Manton also touched on the price of land and how reefinating allowed growers to reclaim land that wasn't very productive. "If you can convert something that's only worth $200-$300 a hectare to something that may be worth $1500/ha by spending $400/ha, the capital gain is worth while in itself," he said. Reefinate is a word you can bank on Kulin farmer Brendon Savage standing in a healthy crop of wheat growing on a ridge of typical ironstone country in a paddock characterised by under-performing crops. THERE is a new word you can add to your farming dictionary. It's 'reefinate' and I predict it will be in common use within the next three years. The word simply explains the act of crushing stones with an aptly-named Reefinator, made by Cutts Engineering, Manjimup under licence from its inventor, former Yuna farmer Tim Pannell. The Reefinator is designed to dig up common laterite rock and crush it, to create topsoil which can be sown to crop. My prediction is that even bank managers will know exactly what you are talking about when you explain to them the benefits of reefinating your unproductive country. "I told the bank manager I also wanted to buy a Reefinator because the property I wanted to buy had a lot of paddocks of ironstone ridges," Brendon said. "I told him I could bring that land back into production using the Reefinator. "So factoring in the cost of the Reefinator, the numbers stacked up for the bank.   A crushing start to the year at Yathroo Carl Moltoni has spent the past few weeks towing his Rocks Gone Reefinator across his Yathroo property. PREPARING for the 2019 season has meant crushing rocks with a Reefinator for Yathroo farmer Carl Moltoni. "Getting into some reefinating is our next big job," Mr Moltoni said. "We purchased a reefinating machine last year after we dry hired one for a year." Mr Moltoni has since sold his spader with the proceeds going into purchasing the Reefinator. Unarable land that had surface rocks is not an issue anymore. Mr Moltoni said he had a lot of rock heaps that were piled up over the years and now they are spreading them out and crushing them into the soil. "Some ridges you have to go over eight or nine times to get them crushed," he said. "It can be very time consuming. "I tend to take as minimal rock as possible each time otherwise it's too hard on the tractor." Rocks Gone Reefinator turns unusable rocky land into profitable crops As a third-generation farmer from Chapman Valley WA, Rocks Gone founder and inventor Tim Pannell knew all too well the problems that rocky land poses for farmers The hydraulic Reefinator H4 can crush rock layers while it deep rips and prepares once useless ground for crop growing with access to deeper soil moisture and nutrients When Rocks Gone debuted its Reefinator rock crusher in 2015 it was an instant hit with Western Australian farmers looking to renovate rock-encrusted land that could not be used for cropping. “Farmers now have the very real option of increasing soil depth, which has a range of agronomic benefits including greater water and nutrient holding capacity, and greater rooting depth which also then helps with crop and pasture resilience in times of crop stress,” Tim Pannell said. The latest Reefinator has been dubbed the H4 with the H designating that it’s a hydraulically operated machine and as such, there are no shear pins on the tines.   Reefinator increases crop yield on previously unproductive land "There’s nothing on the market to compare with this machine" FRUSTRATED with looking at ground that’s useless for farming because of rocks, hard pans, stumps or soil stratification? Meet the new Reefinator H4, a machine capable of transforming un-arable land into crop seedbed. Manufactured at Manjimup, in Western Australia, the Reefinator’s worth lies in its potential to increase crop yield on previously unproductive land, create soil depth, improve water retention, reduce machine wear and downtime, improve pasture growth and so lift livestock carrying capacity. That all adds up to higher land values in dollar terms. The Reefinator was designed, built and refined by Tim Pannell, who farmed at Yuna for more than 30 years before starting a contracting business using a rotary rock crusher to improve farming land throughout WA. That experience sparked the development of his own concept, the Reefinator, now produced by Tim’s company, Rocks Gone, and marketed exclusively in South Australia and Victoria by WSB Distributors. John and Shane Rathjen with a hunk of limestone rock, one of the few of its size left in the paddock at Cambrai after being reefinated. A HEALTHY barley crop is standing on a previously non-arable paddock near Cambrai thanks to a bold management decision by Millendella father and son John and Shane Rathjen. The paddocks were littered with limestone rock, some patches worse than others, which caused major headaches in their initial seeding and ploughing attempts. After a couple of years of frustration and not being able to crop the new block, the Rathjens opted to try a Reefinator - a sled with hardened tines mounted in front of a cylindrical ribbed roller that is pulled behind a tractor and designed to rip and shatter surface rock. "We had seen the Reefinator on the internet, went to a field day and spoke to a couple of guys - one who makes them over in WA and another who said we wouldn't look back," Shane said. "It has turned land into productive land because we wouldn't have been able to sow it otherwise. "If you have a wind on the harder ground, the crop blows over, whereas on this, the reefinating has allowed the root systems to go downwards and create a stronger network."   Mighty new Reefinator unleashed on the world With its new design the H4 Reefinator can pulverise harder rocks like basalt and it works to a depth of 450 mm. Those in the know might have been wondering how Tim Pannell could possibly improve the Reefinator, while those who have been living under a rock might just find that rock about to be crushed. Tim found a rotary rock crusher made overseas to deal with the laterites, but it was very costly to run. So, in the spirit of all good pioneers, he thought, ‘There has to be a better way’ and built his own. The Reefinator has heavy-duty tines that rip into rock, and they are followed by a ribbed roller that smashes up the pieces. Smashing rocks in situ creates more soil and ultimately it converts shallow, difficult soils into deep, crop-friendly ones. Rock crusher lets you grow more crop Rocks Gone founder and former WA northern wheatbelt farmer, Tim Pannell, developed the Reefinator range. A primary ripper designed to help growers renovate difficult soils characterised by stratification, extreme hard pans, rocks or stumps is paying dividends across the nation's agricultural areas. The Rocks Gone hydraulic Reefinator H4 was developed in Western Australia specifically to help ameliorate these soil constraints to depth and lift crop and pasture productivity. Company founder and former Yuna farmer, Tim Pannell, said many growers grappled with the economics of how to best tackle the rocky paddocks they may have been ignoring. "These are areas where water sheets-off the ground surface and causes problems for other paddocks or the landscape," he said. "It is hard to get a seeder through and returns are continually below average." Mr Pannell said he developed the Reefinator H4 to transform these areas and economically boost whole farm productivity by crushing rocks and deep ripping. "The machine is capable of rapidly and permanently transforming rocky outcrops into crop seedbeds," he said.

Rocks Gone founder and former WA northern wheatbelt farmer, Tim Pannell, developed the Reefinator range. The Land, 29 Oct 2020 A primary ripper designed to help growers renovate difficult soils characterised by stratification, extreme hard pans, rocks or stumps is paying dividends across the nation’s agricultural areas. The Rocks Gone hydraulic Reefinator H4 was developed […]