Ripping Depths and Implements

Deep Ripping Implements

The depth of a ripping operation depends on the depth of the compacted zone or pan. It also depends on soil behaviour and tine relationships (critical depth).

Deep Ripping

Ripping to a depth greater than 300mm is considered in most cases to be non beneficial. Deep tillage operations are only beneficial in deep sandy soils where wheel traffic has caused noticeable compaction. Soils high in clay tend to form compacted pans at a much shallower depth.

Shallow Ripping

Ripping at a shallower depth is a more effective process as soils with a high clay content, like the krasnozem soils (red ferrosols), tend to compact at much shallower depths. Ripping between 200mm and 250mm also reduces the likelihood of further compaction and smearing of soils due to below critical depth tillage.

Critical Depth

Critical depth is constantly changing - its depth is controlled largely by moisture content and soil type. Its depth can be determined by assessing the effectiveness of the tillage operation by digging a hole and investigating what the implement is doing to the soil. For deep ripping to be effective the operation needs to be above the point of critical depth so the soil is shattering as the ripping tine moves through it. If the soil is being compacted and smeared by the tine, the operation is below critical depth. The tine needs to be lifted to achieve the main objective of deep ripping - shatter.Illustration showing effective tillage operation by digging above critical depth.Illustration showing depth for ripping operations and consequences of ripping below.

Deep Ripping Implements


Your implement will also effect the ripping operation

Recommended Tine Spacing
Conventional Narrow Tines1-1.5 times working depth
Winged Tines1.5-2 times working depth
Winged Tines with Shallow leading Tines2-2.5 times working depth


As a result of poor tine spacing and inappropriate soil moisture these undisturbed ridges have been left. This operation has not achieved its objectives.

Photograph showing a person demonstrating tine spacing which has resulted in undisturbed ridges.











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