The majority of fertilizer spreaders deliver substantial variation in their spread pattern. Some areas of the paddock receive too much fertilizer and others too little.
Recent improvements to the Accu-Spread program now allow yield and gross return outcomes from varying nitrogen fertilizer spread patterns to be assessed in wheat and dairy pastures.
Independent agricultural economist and modeller, Chris Lightfoot said, “my analysis indicates uneven urea spreading on wheat can easily result in $25 – $40/ha reduction in wheat gross return for southern Australia.”
Uneven urea spreading on WA dairy pasture can result in $15 – 40/ha reduction in the value of dry matter for a single urea application, based on a similar evaluation undertaken with funding from South West Catchment Council. Multiple applications of urea over a growing season are common in dairy pasture systems. The cumulative effect of poor urea spread patterns over a growing season is likely to be much larger, particularly if the same tracks are followed.
Farmers looking for a professional spreading contractor should consider one of the 82 Accu-Spread certified machine operators listed at www.fertcare.com.au. Accu-Spread machines have been tested, and the operators trained, to ensure that they can deliver a uniform spread.
“Paying a few extra dollars for an Accu-Spread certified contractor is likely to be insignificant compared to the real cost of an uneven fertilizer spread job,” said Mr Lightfoot.
- eXtensionAUS article on how AccuSpread measures spread patterns How even is your spread?
- Chris Lightfoot talks about his review of the economics of spread patterns.
Jeff Kraak, Fertilizer Australia