The H4 Reefinator turns rocky land into profitable crops.
The world’s most unique deep ripper and rock crusher, the Reefinator, has been upgraded to a hydraulic tine machine the release of the RG-H4. This new model is able to work at depth through difficult rocky soil, extreme hard pans and paddocks full of stumps.
When Rocks Gone first debuted its Reefinator rock crusher in 2015 it was an instant hit with Western Australian farmers dealing with rock encrusted land.
And it went onto win the New Release Award at Newdegate Machiney Field Days, and the Best Australian Made Machine Award at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days.
Not resting on its laurels, two years later it was the Growth Category winner at the WA Innovator of the Year awards.
Invented by Rocks Gone founder and farmer, Tim Pannell, the Reefinator is a multi-pass machine that digs up and crushes rock fast and efficiently.
A towed implement, the Reefinator has a grate, much like a cheese grater, that holds down the rock and rips up manageable lumps that can be crushed by the following roller.
After several passes, the biggest lumps of rock you’ll find are only the size of a fist.
The Reefinator has been a huge success with WA growers, improving soil quality and capacity around the state, and over 130 machines have been sold across the country to date.
A good part of the success of the Reefinator has been its high-quality manufacture at Cutts Engineering of Manjimup in WA’s South West.
Already a substantial and long-established transport company, Cutts acquired the business of Bunnings Engineering Works in 1999. The plant is located in the Light Industrial Area of Manjimup and services a community with a diverse range of commercial and industrial operations.
Its comprehensive range of professional services includes manufacture, construction and maintenance services for plant, equipment and machinery.
Because many of the soils farmed in Australia can be classed as just a thin layer of dirt that in many cases covers a rock base. This poses a myriad of problems for farmers as the rocky land is often regarded as unproductive or too costly to turn into productive soil.
The Reefinator is designed to be simple, durable, and low cost to operate. The designated wear parts and weak points are quick and easy to replace, while the rest of the implement is tough and ready to withstand thousands of hours of work.
“Farmers now have the very real option of increasing soil depth, which has a range of agronomic benefits including greater water and nutrient holding capacity, and greater rooting depth which also then helps with crop and pasture resilience in times of crop stress”, Tim Pannell said.
Tim estimates some $210 million could be added to the West Australian farming economy if 350,000ha of shallow land is converted into productive land.
West Australian farmers who have lateritic soils are singing the praises of the Reefinator right across the wheatbelt and also into South Australia, as they watch once unproductive land yielding profitable crops and boosting farm values.
Reefinator bulks up
Tim Pannell has not been sitting on his hands since the release of his first machine and now two years of research and development has led to the debut of the hydraulically assisted heavy-duty Reefinator with a 3m working width. The 2019 Reefinator is able to work deeper in a wider range of rock types and hardpans.
Designed and developed in conjunction with the staff at Cutts Engineering, the 2019 release Reefinator has endured some 2500 hours of testing in a range of rocky soil types from granite and hematite to magnetite and sheet ironstone.
It can also work through stubble, with tines set at 335mm (13-inch) spacings, opening up a way of renovating previously poor performing paddocks for pasture and cropping.
“Initially we were aiming to design something specific to deal with the very tough basalt throughout Victoria and New South Wales.
But over the two years of testing around different parts of Western Australia we realised it was going to have a much wider application and was going to be perfect for the areas in WA that needed something with a bit more grunt and could dig deeper,” Tim said.
“Eastern States farmers have shown they want a machine that can get deep into tough basalt rock which forms part of a lot of cropped and pasture country as opposed to mainly laterite country in WA and the limestone in South Australia.
“It has been designed to rip soil that has never been ripped at depth before, not like a deep ripper as such, but a primary ripper, the first ripper across untouched land.”
The 2019 Reefinator has been dubbed the H4 with the H designating it’s hydraulically operated and as such, there are no shear pins on the tines.
There are four leading tines and five at the rear coupled with a cable-suspended levelling blade that levels out already crushed soil and rock before the tines get to it.
The hydraulic system on the Reefinator incorporates a 32-litre accumulator designed to handle a 3000psi pressure, while prescribed working pressure is between 1000 to 1500psi.
Hoses running off the cylinders are 25mm (1-inch) in diameter to accommodate high speed flow out of the cylinders on impact.
All rams and pivot points are on spherical, mostly greasable, bearings, specifically designed to be maintenance-free working so close to the ground.
The H4 Reefinator will dig to a depth of 450mm (18-inches), as opposed to the 200mm (8-inches) maximum depth for the original Reefinator, with the ability to raise the leading rank of tines out of work to go deeper and quicker.
You’ll need a four-wheel drive tractor with a power rating in excess of 336kW (450hp) to tow the H4, or you can get away with about 298kW (400hp) with a track machine.
According to Tim, wheels are better on rocky country, with working speeds between 8 and 12kph, depending on conditions.
Tyre pressure varies between 8 and 13psi while a big advantage is the heavy duty “industrial” cushion hitch, designed to absorb harsh forces.
Force dissipation is inherent in most components.
According to Tim, the H4 will drag over anything because of the hydraulics and operators won’t usually need to ease pressure.
Tree roots are easily smashed and even if you hit a blue granite rock, for example, the tines will just float over it as long as the pressure isn’t set too high.
“This makes a big difference in productivity because it’s less jerky with almost no catching or dragging,” Tim said.
The original release Reefinator will also stay in production to cater for increasing demand in WA and South Australia for this type of machine.
To talk to inventor Tim Pannell about opening up cleaner cropping ground, call on tel: 08 9288 2993 or mobile 0429 203 039, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or view the H4 Reefinator video at: https://www.rocksgone.com.au/reefinator-h4
Behind the success of the Reefinator
As a third-generation farmer from Chapman Valley WA, Rocks Gone founder and inventor Tim Pannell knew all too well the problems that rocky land poses for farmers. Pannell established a contracting business using a rotary rock crusher to crush the rock on farming land.
“It proved to be an expensive business with too many moving parts and high wear rates,” Tim said.
“I thought there had to be a more cost-effective option.”
After testing up to five different prototypes, Tim found success with his Reefinator.
The machine became an instant hit on release in 2015 and has sold more than 130 units around the country.