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Ditch digging with a T-Rex

On-farm machine development creates another option for dealing with drainage

The T-Rex rotary ditcher uses an eight-foot rotary cutter to quickly create drainage runs.

Anyone visiting machinery shows over the past year in Saskatchewan or Manitoba has probably noticed the T-Rex rotary ditcher on display. Niverville, Manitoba, farmer Grant Dyck created the T-Rex Ditcher to solve his own on-farm drainage and ditching needs, and last summer he began commercially producing them.

“T-Rex stands for the terra excavator,” he said, when displaying a machine at last summer’s Ag in Motion farm show near Saskatoon. “We’ve got 10 years and 3,000 hours on the concept of an eight-foot rotary ditcher. The prototype actually had a self-contained motor. Essentially what took this to market is the parts are now readily available to have a driveline system on it.”

So the availability of those heavy-duty components now allows Dyck’s commercial model to be driven by a tractor PTO instead of its own powerplant.

Dyck says he has used the T-Rex to do drainage work for local municipalities as well as on his own farm and that has allowed him to prove the machine in a variety of jobs and conditions. Its main advantage is it gets the job done much faster than other equipment types.

“Depending on soil type, we’re doing anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 yards per hour,” he said. “We run this on our own farm and it will do three to four times what a scraper would do and nine to 10 what a backhoe would do. The range of cut is about six inches to a foot at three to five miles per hour, depending on conditions.”

Heavy duty cutting teeth are protected by bolts that will fail first to prevent serious damage.
Heavy duty cutting teeth are protected by bolts that will fail first to prevent serious damage. photo: Scott Garvey

A T-Rex Ditcher has also made the rounds to a variety of prairie locations over the summer to demonstrate to farmers that it can even operate in relatively stoney ground. The driveline uses a slip clutch to prevent damage, and the teeth are protected by bolts that are designed to fail before allowing component damage if the T-Rex hits a very large rock.

“It can throw 20 to 85 pound stones anywhere from 100 to 150 feet,” he added. “There’s a two dollar bolt and a three minute fix if it was to ever hit what we call a backhoe stone.”

The T-Rex drive components are engineered to stand up to 500 horsepower, but Dyck says a tractor in the 300 to 400 horsepower range would be ideal to run it.

Because the dirt is thrown over a wide distance, there is no levelling work required after creating a ditch, like there may be when using a backhoe. That, says Dyck, saves even more time.

The T-Rex retails for about $57,500. For more information, visit the company’s website at

About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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