30 October 1998

Spreaders not up to it

FARMERS are wasting money by applying fertiliser through incorrectly set or badly maintained spreaders, insists Ted Crooks of Lincs-based SCS.

Mr Crooks observation arises from the results of 500 fertiliser spreaders recently tray tested on farm by the company, where only 75 machines – 15% – were found to be in good condition and accurately set.

"Of the remainder, 125 spreaders were deemed to need new wearing parts; a further 25 were found to be unfit to be tested – with the recommendation that they were scrapped. And these were machines still in use," comments Mr Crooks.

He also reports incorrect tractor pto speeds are frequently responsible for spreader problems. "Quite often the indicated shaft speed on many older tractors in nowhere near 540 or 1000rpm – which only compounds the problem of poor spreading," he says.

Machines can also be accidentally damaged without the operator realising how inaccurate the spread pattern has become.

Total accuracy

"To stand a chance of spreading both SP5 rated and imported fertilisers efficiently, the spreader must be 100% accurate.

Many spreaders need only minor adjustments to bring them back to accurate status and, surprisingly, even brand new machines can sometimes need some amount of correction."