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|Date added||19 July, 2018|
|Category||Biodiversity, Sustainable Agriculture|
|Tags||Boyup Brook, deep ripping, erosion, Farming, hillslope, Keyline, King, Nix, paddock, pasture, root, soil, water|
Keyline Farming is a holistic approach partly aimed at capturing water on-farm and improving soil. Developed by PA Yeomans, the approach includes deep ripping at increasing depth to improve water infiltration and root penetration.
In 2015, Boyup Brook farmers Veronica Nix and Darren King began a demonstration of Keyline ploughing on a sloping, annual pasture paddock. Their motivation was to limit runoff and erosion caused by summer and break-of-season rainfall.
Veronica thinks that deep ripping has reduced run-off, but the practice is time-consuming and can have some negative outcomes.
Other potential benefits such as increased production and soil carbon were not seen in this demonstration. Increased production is likely required to increase soil carbon, but other constraints have likely limited any increase in production. This suggests that to get the full benefit of deep ripping all keyline ploughing, all soil constraints must be addressed.
Retaining groundcover and growing perennial plants can also control erosion, and are discussed as a complementary part of the approach, especially if paddocks are rolled after ploughing to reduce paddock roughness.