What Is Deep Seedbed Conditioning?

Deep Seedbed Conditioning is an Australian-developed, world-first breakthrough in the tillage of agricultural soils.

Background

The Deep Seedbed Conditoning machine (DSc) was specifically developed to avoid the now well-known adverse soil health consequences of cultivation, the soil churning that destroys the stability of soil structure, by:
• tearing apart root systems
• destroying macro-pores created by roots and soil organisms;
• shattering chemically cemented soil particles;
• killing soil organisms and plant roots; and
• increasing the breakdown of organic matter,
all of which result in reductions in the supply of water, air and nutrients to plants.


It was also designed to avoid the less desirable consequences of the no-tillage practice, the:
• consolidation of soil between sown rows and the whole seedbed, generally;
• cooler soil temperature at seeding, which slows establishment and early-season growth;
• shallow accumulation of organic matter and plant nutrients; and
• the need for strategic (i.e., occasional) cultivation, chisel ploughing, or deep ripping to restore looseness to and deepen the rooting zone of crops.

DSC Rationale

The worldwide patented Deep BSeedbed Conditioner (DSC) is not a primary tillage machine.

It was designed to remove any consolidation that may have occurred during a growing season in a DSC-created seedbed and restore a deep, loose seedbed prior to seeding the next crop.

The deepened seedbed is first created by a chisel ploughing to 250 – 300 mm depth.

The DSC is used after the chisel ploughing. Its purpose at this time is to create a flat base to the rooting zone at about 250 – 300 mm depth. Thereafter it is used prior to seeding subsequent crops, to refresh any looseness lost through consolidation, which may have occurred during the growing season.

The design of the DSC allows it to slice through the roots of the previous crop at 250 – 300 mm depth, lifting, opening and dropping the soil and roots without any inversion or horizontal displacement. At this depth, very nearly 100 per cent of the root systems of previous crops are retained in a near-undisturbed state. These conserved root systems act as reinforcing mesh to minimise or prevent consolidation of the deep, loose tilth.

Benefits of Using DSC

Importantly, undisturbed root systems and their associated soil biology are conserved, close to preserved, and soil organic matter and the soil biological population increase. In consequence, soil carbon and soil nitrogen contents increase, as does the stability of soil structure.

The conservation and build-up of roots and soil biology stabilise a deep, aggregated soil structure, which enhances deeper and wider root growth and improves fertility, aeration, water holding capacity and plant extractable water content of root zone soil.

The loose and stable tilth created by DSC soil management also increases infiltration of rain and irrigation water and reduces runoff, making the soil more drought resilient and productive. The greater root growth and soil carbon increase will probably make CARBON and REGENERATIVE farming easy and profitable.

On What Farming Systems Can the DSC Used?

The DSC machine can be used on the broad-scale, flat seedbeds of rainfed cropping, and on the bed-and-furrow cropping systems used for irrigation and/or waterlogging prevention. For the latter purposes, furrowers are fitted to the frame of the DSC.

The design of the DSC machine, with its wide, horizontal blades and a small number of narrow tines/shanks has a very little draft and this allows it to be operated at relatively fast speeds, e.g., equivalent to those used for seeding. In fact, the draft forces are so small the machine is capable of being used in tandem with a seeding machine.

Details of recommended manufacturers and field-scale research data supporting all the claims of improved soil conditions and productivity can be found by visiting the website of Maximum Soil and Water Productivity Pty Ltd at https://maxswp.com.au

deep blade loosening
Deep Seedbed Conditioner renovating the flat seedbed of a rainfed crop
Deep Seedbed Conditioner renovating beds and furrows on a field prone to winter waterlogging.

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