Thursday, 3 November 2011
Testing Our Fertiliser Spreader
Last week we had our annual testing session for the two fertiliser spreaders that we use on the farm. The main spreader that applies the Phosphate, Kieserite and Potash fertiliser is a KRM Bredal. We bought it in 2006 and it applies about 200 tonnes of fertiliser a year. This fertiliser has a value of about £66,000 per year so for a very small testing fee (£150) it means that our investment is being evenly and accurately applied to the field.The first task is to set up the catching trays, these are placed every meter.
Then with each different type of fertiliser being tested, even same brand types vary in their granule size every year, the tractor drives across the field and the fertiliser being spread is caught and viewed in the test tubes as shown below.
Correct fertiliser application is so important, not just for the economics of not wanting to waste money but for environmental reasons. Using things called boarder discs on the headland (first time around the field) the spread pattern is cut in half to avoid spreading into the field margin or worse still into the ditch or stream.
The correct speed of the spinning disc's is also important, too fast and the granules could be thrown off the field, or even break up the granules with the impact, leading to uneven application. Too slow and the fertiliser won't spread far enough to cover the width of the machine again resulting in uneven application.
So we are now ready to go, weather permitting to start applying the Phosphate fertiliser, evenly and accurately. We will be applying the fertiliser again this year using variable rate GPS technology using the SOYL sampling technique. I will be updating the blog when we get going!