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The Howard Paraplow

I.D. Crook

Victorian Sales Manager, Crop Protection ICI Australia Operations Pty Ltd
Bayswater, Vic. 3153


The ICI Paraplow resulted from the joint work of a team of agronomists, soil scientists and engineers. The Paraplow ameliorates soil physical problems limiting crop growth and is totally compatible with direct drilling and reduced tillage techniques.

From the point of view of sound agronomic practice, a soil loosening implement must have the following features;

(i) the ability to recreate desirable soil porosity to allow uninterrupted movement of oxygen, water and plant roots. Concurrently the implement should not destroy existing pore continuity;

(ii) be adjustable to suit soil moisture conditions so that (i) can be achieved with the second objective of maintaining soil bearing strength - excessive loosening is not required;

(iii) leave crop residues on the soil surface with the consequent advantage of reduced wind and water erosion, increased infiltration, increased organic matter levels;

(iv) crack the soil under tension along natural planes of weakness, thus minimising the specific energy requirement. Fracture under tension does not bring subsoil to the surface;

(v) leave the soil surface in a level condition, so that a crop can be sown without the need for further cultivation, which rapidly leads to recompaction;

(vi) be operationally attractive in terms of work rate wear factors, reliability and suitability to commonly available tractors.

The Howard Paraplow when used as instructed satisfies the above criteria due to the unique design feature of its slanted leg. It is available in 2-12 leg models to suit the requirements of all farmers.

A word of warning - deep loosening is not a magic cure-all - first of all there has to be an identified physical soil problem - other soil factors like acidity, waterlogging and chemical instability can negate any ripping response.

Why The Paraplow Is The Best Soil Loosener



The soil surface is left in a level condition.

(i) Direct Drilling is possible.
No further cultivation required.
Recompaction is avoided.

Crop residues are left on soil surface.

(i) Water infiltration improved.
Wind and water erosion reduced.
Subsoil not brought up to the surface.
Surface layer of organic matter and nutrient not buried.

The degree of loosening is optimised across complete profile.

(i) Minimum use of fuel.
Trafficability is maintained.
No undisturbed strips.

Soil is loosened along natural patterns of weakness.

(i) Lower energy requirements.
No inversion of soil profile.

The Paraplow tyne is adjustable.

(i) Effective loosening is possible over a range of soil types and moisture conditions.
Flexibility in time of use.

The Paraplow is operationally attractive.

(i) Minimum maintenance requirement.
Spare wearing parts supplied with machine.
Ease of setting up and in-field adjustment.

When And Where Responses Can Be Expected

Growth and yield responses to Paraplowing can normally be expected if the following conditions have been satisfied:

(i) The existence of a compacted layer has been confirmed by observation using the techniques described.

(ii) Problems of waterlogging caused by poor drainage have been overcome.

(iii) The presence of acid subsoils has been detected and corrective action taken.

(iv) Physical soil instability has been overcome, i.e. the use of gypsum.

Seasonal conditions are also likely to affect responses. Benefits are most likely to be seen in normal” years. Where crop establishment has been severely affected by excessively wet or dry seasons responses are less likely.


Paraplowing produces the best results under the following conditions:

(i) When the operation is conducted during the Spring before cropping. This provides maximum opportunity for the collection and storage of summer rainfall.

(ii) When the moisture content of the surface soil is such that traction is not reduced but adequate to prevent large clod formation - dry surface soil conditions should be avoided.

(iii) Paraplowing of pasture land under dry conditions can result in reduced growth from the pasture immediately after the operation.

Correct Set Up And Use Of The Paraplow

Machine Setting

(i) Select representative part of the field.

(ii) Set adjustable shatter plates at minimum setting.

(iii) Lower the Paraplow into the soil as tractor moves forward (depth-wheel fully raised) until required operating depth is attained.

(iv) Adjust top link and lower links so that frame is parallel to the ground.

(v) Recheck operating depth and that frame is parallel to the ground. Set Draught control to maintain this depth at operating speed 6-8 km/h (4-5mph). Adjust depth control wheel so that it just touches the soil surface.

(vi) Check disc alignment with the legs.

(vii) Check discs are cutting trash adequately. Adjust cutting depth if necessary.

(viii) Check amount of loosening. Increase shatter plate setting if necessary aiming to maintain a level surface.

Field Operation

(i) Mark out an adequate headland.

(ii) Work field in ‘Lands’ which are parallel to each other.

(iii) Work in a clockwise direction, i.e. turning right at the headlands.

(iv) At the headlands lift and turn to the right simultaneously so the legs slide cleanly out of the soil.

(v) Finish field by loosening the headlands with the Paraplow -this is the most important part.


The new Howard Paraplow is a soil loosener that reconciles the conflicting needs of modern high-output farming. No other implement alleviates soil compaction problems so efficiently, or satisfies the need for a level, clod free soil surface so efficiently.

Unlike conventional ploughs or other soil loosening equipment which disrupt or invert soil, the Paraplow actually assists natural structure forming processes. Its unique 45 degree slant-leg design allows soil to be lifted and fractured along natural fissures. There is little surface disturbance so that the top soil remains where it should be.

Soil compaction could be damaging your crop and financial health. Start the cure after the harvest don’t delay - see your local Howard agent now.

Howard Rotavator Pty Ltd a member of the Howard Group

P.O. Box 82 Parramatta NSW 2l5O

Tel. (02) 630 1231 Telex 21328

P.O. Box 358 Mackay Qld 4740

Tel. (07) 55 1600 Telex 48614

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