Fertilizer Spreading – The Accu-Spread Test
Applying the right fertilizer, at the right time, at the right rate per hectare to maximise crop production and water use efficiency. Accu-Spread is an industry accredited system for measuring the efficiency of fertilizer spreading units. The aim is to achieve a 15% coefficient of variation which results in an even spread of fertilizer across crops. Learn about the Accu-spread system demonstrated at a Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA) field day.
One of the main issues, you know, if it’s to get things right as Accu-Spread. Accu-Spread is where we take trays out in the middle of a paddock and we line them up in a row and we get the driver to drive the trucks across that at a normal spreading width and rate and whatever product they’re using.
Getting an Even Spread of Fertiliser
Now, when we get that, we weigh the individual trays. These trays are spread half a metre apart and in a way, put on this computer program. We’re aiming at a coefficient of variation of 15 percent. Now with all of these information on a spread chart, we can see where the optimum level is for these spreaders to do, and that will give us an efficient spread pattern, and we know that the fertiliser is evenly spread.
That’s what we’re aiming for, to evenly spread across a paddock. Some spreaders, if you don’t have them tested, could be spreading 30 meters but only to 10 percent is getting to 30 meters and 90 percent is getting behind the actual spreading unit. Some spreaders might be spreading 60 percent and some spreaders may only be spreading at 40 percent efficiency. So we’re aiming at a coefficient variation of 15 percent and that will give the growers an even application for fertilizer and if it’s not you can easily see especially in the horticultural crop you can see that there is yellowing and then there’s extra green because some of the area has received deficient amount of fertilizer and some has received more.
So, if later on in the crop’s life, where the extra fertilizer’s been spreading might be okay for a while, but then it’ll burn off. And then that leads to lower yields. So, Australia’s got to try and produce more food for the nations and for the world, so this is where we’re aiming at to get the right fertilizer at the right time and the right rate per hectare.
Certainly in the past we’ve seen a lot of stripping in paddocks with spreaders not capable of spreading the widths we’ve been trying to push them so yeah, you see yellow stripping where the crop hasn’t got enough nitrogen and then some rich green strips. You have seen a lot of over and under applying which causes probably yield loss over the whole paddock.
Correct Fertilizer Usage Will Maximize Production
Maximising water use efficiency, we live in a climate where perhaps water will be limiting in the future so we’ve got to get our spreading right so that we can maximize our production for what the inputs are. I think if we can get an even spread of our fertilizer we can maximize yield and water-use efficiency across our paddocks without under and over-applying in areas, and hopefully keep an even protein across our paddocks as well.