Dorset contractor Mike Simpson reports that more and more of his customers are recognising the value of muck as a nutrient source.

“Because of the astronomical cost of artificial fertilisers, muck and slurry are no longer seen as waste products,” he says.

“In fact both liquid and solids are becoming viewed as valuable commodities.

Poultry producers in this area have no shortage of takers for their muck.”

And applying manure to growing crops is now viewed as one of the most efficient ways of supplying the plant.

Previously most would have been spread before cultivations and drilling.

But to apply these nutrient-rich organic fertilisers accurately it is important the spreader is up to the task and can create an even spread pattern.

To achieve this Mr Simpson has invested in an 14t Rolland TCE rear-discharge spreader.

At its business end, twin pto-powered discs – much like beefed up fertiliser spreader discs – rotate to fling material up to 24m.

These are fed by a hydraulically-driven chain-and-slat walking floor.

Horizontal beaters break up the lumps at the rear of the machine just before the muck drops onto the discs.

By adjusting oil-flow from the 180hp Fendt 818 that pulls the spreader, the driver is able to change bed speed and thus alter application rates.

Spread with is varied by altering pto speed.

“The TCE is capable of spreading to just about 24m but in reality it begins to loose accuracy beyond 20m,” points out Mr Simpson.

“Generally on 24m tramlines we’ll try to spread at 12m.

This spring on our chalky brash you could barely see where the spreader had run.”

The customer gives his target application rate and the operator then records what has actually been spread.

The farmer is then supplied with full nutrient records when the job is finished – crucial for Soil and Nutrient Management Plans.

fwmachinery@rbi.co.uk