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Agriculture Kangaroo Island hosted a spreader calibration workshop, where three different types of spreaders were tested. All three spreaders were found to have a narrower spread than the owners realised, and require investment to increase their spread to the desired width. Growers at the field day also learnt the effect of product quality on spread width and pattern.

BACKGROUND

Most spreaders deliver a high level of variation in spread pattern which can compromise pasture or crop profitability due to some areas of the paddock receiving too much fertiliser and some areas too little. A new machine is no guarantee that an acceptable spread pattern will be achieved.

Event Date:

7 April 2017

Project participants

Agriculture Kangaroo Island: Jenny Stanton.

The problem

Many spreaders do not give an even spread pattern, resulting in increased costs and poor crop growth.

The research

A calibration workshop was held at Parndana.

More information

Judith McArthur
Agriculture Kangaroo Island
0491 307 008
[email protected]

Research aims

The objective of the project was to hold a calibration workshop demonstrating to Kangaroo Island growers the importance of understanding and calibrating spreaders to obtain an optimal spread pattern.

In the field

Twenty producers attended a Spreader Calibration Workshop held at the Parndana Showgrounds led by Accu-Spread Testing Officer Russell Nichol. The three spreaders tested were a three-point-linkage Accord, a truck-mounted Southern Spreader and a tow-behind Marshall.

Results

All owners discovered that their spreaders were not spreading as wide as they thought and require additional investment to increase their spread width.  The owners are now aware of what distance to drive between passes to produce an ideal spread pattern.

Product quality also has an influence on the spread pattern with inferior products such as those that have a lot of fines (smaller than 2mm) reduce the spreader bout width. Urea was reported as the most troublesome product to spread, especially over large distances.

Value for growers

Key findings in this project have been:

  • The field day demonstrated that growers should be checking the calibration of their spreaders as all three spreaders tested had a narrower spread-width than the owners expected.
  • Growers should also be aware of the effect of produce size on spread pattern, with products that have a lot of fines below 2mm reducing the spread width.
  • The outcomes from the field day were published in The Islander newspaper.