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Orthman strip cultivation: The way to go for a bright, profitable future

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“The Orthman 1tRIPr strip cultivator is not a machine – it’s a mind shift in cultivation.” Henk and Riana migrated two years ago from the Springbok Flats in Limpopo to Reitz in the Freestate Riemland to embrace a completely new life and farming style on the farm Vredefind (Finding Peace).

Henk says he’s had the principle of strip cultivation on his mind for a long time and the relocation to Reitz presented an opportunity to apply it in practice. Crop-wise he is still baffled by sugar beans: It yields a good income but is not fond of growing in loose material on the land as it is leads to leaf diseases.

“I still have to calculate carefully if the savings on diesel and wear and tear will justify forgetting about sugar beans and concentrating on mealies and soybeans only,” says Henk. “The saving is phenomenal as your implements move only once against three or four times.”

The Orthman 1tRIPr in action

Strip cultivation does exactly what the name says. Only the planting strip is cultivated and the rest of the land remains untouched with the plant rests of the previous crop on it.

A cutting disc first cuts up the harvest rests and also into the soil to enable the ripping tine to perform more even and not push out sods. Directly behind the cutting disc is a row of row openers which can be removed when there is not much waste on a land.

The tine can work up to a depth of 350 mm. It breaks up compacted soil layers and prepares the way for proper, even placing of fertilizer. Henk normally only works to 250 mm, but where the soil is compacted it might be necessary to rip deeper.

Every tine unit has an adjustable breakaway action to prevent damage with super quick automatic restore action. In deep soils, where there is no chance of hitting a rock, the tine can be bolted in a fixed position.

Two corrugated coulters finish the seedbed vertically, a roller breaks up the sods and ensures a firm the seedbed. Row units are mounted to the bar with parallel shackles to ensure that the correct depth is maintained.

The 8-row Orthman 1tRIPr and the John Deere 1750 planter are ideal partners enabling the farmer to cultivate and plant in one operation. The bars of the two machines are not on an even height and it is important that the angle at which they link, is exact to give even cultivation and depth control.

Orthman also manufactures coupling links to clamp the two machines together and ensure an even working height. The Orthman three point linkage, and the support of planter wheels at the rear, controls the working depth and the combination can be lifted high enough to turn freely in the windrow.

The implement requires approximately 20 kW in tractor power per row. Henk says he will not easily consider working with lower power than his 180 kW tractor. There are many contours on his farm and ample horsepower ensures that the machine runs neatly in its precision track.

To cultivate, fertilise and plant in one move at 9 k/ph means farming at a loping pace where every yard counts for profit.

Henk fitted liquid fertiliser containers on the planter to enable easy filling. The fertiliser is placed directly behind the tine below the kernels where the young roots can utilise the nutrient immediately.

Henk and Riana Michau of the farm Vredevind in the Freestate practice innovative farming with precision strip cultivation.

Why the system works

Henk says the main purpose of the cultivation system is to keep the layer of mulch intact to maintain moisture in the soil and in the end ensure an improved soil structure. Strip cultivation is the solution for lands with a mass of loose material, and even for untilled lands.

“Last year I really tested the nerves of friends, neighbours and the family when I was in no hurry to work the lands but quietly waited for the rain to come before I started up my robust Orthman and tackled the grassland where pioneer grasses were thriving at almost shoulder height. I must admit – the positive outcome even surprised me!”

Even with a very short planting window, Henk now intends tackling more lands. His second Orthman planter combination is being assembled to be ready to make an even greater impact on the coming season.

“In the first year on the farm I did conventional cultivation, and those lands looked very disheartening after the January drought compared with the present strip-cultivated lands. It is astounding that, after only a year of precision tillage with the Orthman, we find earthworms already breeding in abundance!”

Contact Brian Nieuwoudt for your precision strip tillage solutions on 076-283-0766; landline 012-940-2155; or email You can also visit the website and view a video on

Amidst all the material the Orthman 1tRIPr leaves a spoor that will gladden the heart of every mealie plant.


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