The idea of applying nutrients in a band rather than as a blanket application has a lot in its favour.
Targeted application allows plants to make the best use of the nutrients supplied, reduced fertiliser usage means lower costs and nitrogen starvation between the bands should give lower herbicide costs. Not to mention better crop establishment rates.
Little wonder, then, that one of the highlights of the Cereals Event was when equipment makers unveiled kits and integral systems for both solid and liquid fertilisers.
Many were spurred into action as a result of last year’s dire establishment conditions, which left some growers with big bills for seed and other inputs but little to show for it. Available for liquid, conventional and micro-granular fertilisers, this new crop of band application systems focuses the nutrient supply along the seed row where it is needed for efficient uptake. It also allows generous dosing without exceeding field nitrogen levels under NVZ controls.
Opico’s Ferticast handles granular or prilled fertiliser with individual metering wheels for each outlet for consistency and accuracy at low application rates. Two metering rollers are supplied to feed the eight outlets – blanking off is possible when fewer than that are needed – and a further two are available.
A control box receiving speed input signals from the standard spoke wheel or an optional radar sensor regulates the speed of the electric metering roller drive to maintain consistent application rate.
The base and internal workings of the device are made from stainless steel and plastic, with only the upper hopper section made from powder-paint coated steel.
Opico’s Nitro-Jet system for the He-Va subsoiler and Variocast broadcasting system used for low-cost, one-pass “Till-Seeding” of oilseed rape has a 600-litre tank installed on the headstock.
But there is also a skid version for mounting on to other cultivators and a tractor front-linkage package; both come with 600-, 800- or 1000-litre tanks. Like the integrated model, they feature a corrosion-resistant 700-litre/min pump with self-fill plumbing and electronic rate regulation via a Raven SCS330 controller.
The steel narrow band flat fan nozzles used are set into a protective shroud to avoid outlets becoming blocked by mud and other debris.
Techneat’s MicroCast system was adapted from the company’s nematicide applicator specifically to handle micro-granular fertiliser.
The Apcal ceramic metering cartridges that Techneat uses in the device cope with the abrasive nature of this material and adding the electronic rate control system from the Terracast broadcaster provides the necessary accuracy at low rates.
Unlike the separate delivery set-up of the Ferticast, the MicroCast feeds the granules directly into seed tubes positioned to discharge behind subsoiler legs or in front of a cultivator packer.
Techneat’s Placement Pro system is one of three catering for liquid fertilisers. It comes in kit form with brackets and other fittings adaptable to a number of different cultivation implements. Since it uses several proven Techneat spray application components, it is said to be a particularly cost-effective option.
The standard set-up comes with a 600 to 1000-litre front linkage mounted tank, feeding liquid fertiliser via a positive displacement pump with Robydome electronic auto flow rate control for application rate consistency to a choice of either nozzles or dribble bars.
Chafer’s QuickStart range comprises a 1000-, 1500- and 2000-litre tanks in stainless steel or GRP (1000-litre only) for tractor linkage mounting and a 1000-litre tank package for installation on a cultivator.
A tank contents gauge is included in each case, together with a stainless steel sprayline and mounting brackets, plastic nozzles and manual pressure control.
Buyers can opt to add a TeeJet 844 spray controller and GPS speed sensor for greater accuracy with variable working speeds.