Promoting precision: Fertiliser spreading essentials outlined in Gurteen
Maximising fertiliser accuracy – and reaping the associated benefits, both environmentally and financially – was the name of the game at the recent Precise Application of Fertiliser event in Gurteen College.
Held in the Co. Tipperary agricultural college on Wednesday, February 12, a host of fertiliser suppliers and their contract spreader agents attended on the day.
The event was organised by the Fertiliser Association of Ireland in association with Teagasc and the staff at Gurteen College.
The aim of the open day was to upskill people on getting the best out of their fertiliser spreader, according to Teagasc.
Speaking at Gurteen, Mark Plunkett of Teagasc, who is president of the Fertiliser Association of Ireland, said:
“The precise application of fertiliser plays a major role in helping farming systems to reach their production and profitability goals, while also protecting water quality and reducing both greenhouse gas (GHG) and ammonia emissions from agriculture.”
3 spreading essentials
Dermot Forristal, Teagasc researcher, emphasised the three essentials for precise and even spreading: a well-designed spreader; good quality fertiliser of known characteristics; and the correct setting of the machine for the chosen fertiliser and bout width.
Wider bout widths and the anticipated increased use of urea make machine choice, and setting, more important, he added.
Modern spreaders are increasingly complex and are capable of wide spreading, but it is essential that they are supported by good setting information, Forristal said.
Francis Quigley, Teagasc machinery specialist, spoke about the basic setup and calibration of fertiliser spreaders.
He explained the important role of the spreader vanes in getting accurate spread patterns, and encouraged users to check their own spreader vanes and replace them as needed.
He also demonstrated some of the mobile phone apps which are available from the machinery manufacturers, which make the task of correct setup much more user friendly.
John said: “That will help ensure an even spread and good distribution of all the major plant nutrients during the spreading operation.”