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The Lely "Vee" Subsoiler-Ripper

A.J. McCurry

Lely Australia Pty Ltd, 33 Mackay Street Rochester, Vic. 3301

This discussion is on the Lely “Vee” Subsoiler-Ripper, its advantages and disadvantages. This has been divided into three sections:

(1) The Lely “Vee” - the machine itself.

(2) The reasons or necessity for ripping.

(3) The results and advantages of ripping.

(1) Lely Australia has been marketing the “Vee” subsoiler since 1975. The original machines were imported from Lely companies in the USA and New Zealand.

By 1980 it was realised that this type of machine was being accepted and sought after for almost all types of soil and crop conditions.

As there appeared to be a market to suit the large four wheel drive tractors of 300 and 400 h.p., it was decided to manufacture a heavier and stronger machine in Australia yet still retain the Lely patents and designs which had proved so successful here and overseas. Over 10 years of design and experimental work had gone into the North American built subsoiler and with few modifications it still remains one of the most successful rippers on the market.

In 1980 a special model was adapted with disc coulters so that for a pasture renovation application the coulters would slice the turf or pasture in front of the tynes and therefore not leave clods on the surface.

Other Australian adaptions have been a trailing version with an hydraulic ram on the trailing hitch also an hydraulic top link on the linkage models. Both these adaptions have been designed to “fine tune” the horizontal plane of the machine thus regulating the size of clods -mainly in dry land ripping.

Early American trials indicated that the distance between the tynes should be as wide as possible as long as a total "breakout" is achieved. Because of this it was decided on a spacing of 22". However, different soil types and moisture levels can alter the breakout so various spacings can be ordered and specially built.

The clearance of 30" to the frame was designed firstly to achieve maximum depth where required, but as normal ripping is from 12” to 18” ample clearance remains to work in stubble or trash without blocking the machine.

(2) The reasons and necessities for ripping

Two main reasons for ripping can be summed up in two headings:

(a) Moisture conservation and retention.

(b) Breaking or removing a compacted “hard pan”.

We all know that most roots will go down over three feet seeking moisture if there are no obstructions in their way. However, over the last 80 years we have cultivated our ground at a constant depth of from 4” to 8”.

Over the last 20 years we have compacted this topsoil with very heavy tractors and machinery to the extent that we have caused a hard pan to develop that neither moisture nor roots can penetrate. Deep ripping will alleviate this problem, allow the precious moisture to penetrate and allow the roots to travel down to seek this required moisture.

(3) The results and advantages of ripping:

Many tests and trials have been organised in conjunction with farmers and departmental and research organisations and on nearly every occasion the results and yields have proved to be very successful compared to crops grown in soil that has not been subsoiled or ripped.

Some areas and crops where these tests have proved most successful are as follows:

  • Cotton, summer crops and cereals in the Emerald-Central Queensland region.
  • Rice growing Griffith-Coleambally-Deniliquin regions.
  • Tomato growing - Rochester-Goulburn Valley region.
  • Cereal growing - dry land Mallee areas such as Sea Lake-Swan Hill areas of Victoria.

At the first “Mallee Field Days” in 1980 approximately 5 acres were ripped at 18”-20”. An earlier strike was recorded and between 2-3 bags per acre extra were harvested from an average 10 bag crop. This result was over 25% higher production from Mallee soil. Prior to this it was believed that ripping would not have any effect on Mallee soils.

Another area where the Lely “Vee” has been successful has been for pasture renovation in most Victorian irrigation areas.


No sweat

The Lely Vee Subsoiler is built for tough demanding conditions, built from massive steel box section incorporating steel reinforced top plates and anti-twist lugs. It’s the tool for farmers who want to rip up the hard pan, without ripping up their equipment. The lead tyne shatters the soil so the. following tynes can dig deep, up to 32”.
Staggered tynes give 30" through clearance and a 32” ground clearance makes the subsoiler virtually un-blockable.
The unique pivot system makes sheer bolt replacement quick and easy when required. Depth control is by a ratchet. Precise depth can be selected in seconds.

Lely Australia
Pty Ltd.

38 MacKay Street, P.O. Box 179,
Rochester, 3561.

Ph. (054) 841055.
A.H. (054) 84 1918.

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