Friday, 07 August 2015 08:12

Team Liquid Fertiliser Applicator Review

Team Liquid Fertiliser Customer Review

Boosting crop establishment with liquid fertiliser

Working with agricultural contractor Richard Lapage from RWL Services Ltd, Team Sprayers have developed a new front mounted liquid fertiliser application system which enables the potato and vegetable grower to place liquid fertiliser while planting or drilling.

Specialised, machine mounted, knives accurately place the solution into the soil at the desired rate, anything from 100 – 1500L/ha, while the high capacity hydraulically driven pump ensures the tank solution is kept agitated while being applied to the crop.

Richard is based near Woodbridge in East Suffolk and has been developing and supplying the fertiliser placement systems for a number of years.

“This is predominantly a very sandy area”, he says, “and there are lots of farmers growing potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips and sugar beet. Many have taken advantage of the placement kit to reduce fertiliser usage, in turn reducing costs and increasing efficiency by putting the fertiliser where it is required.

On Suffolk sands typical soil indices would be Nitrogen (N) 0, Phosphate (P) 3, Potassium (K) 1 and Magnesium (Mg) 1. For a crop of spring drilled, main crop onions, for example, RB209 at these indices recommend N 160Kg/Ha, P 60Kg/Ha, K 225kg/ha and Mg 100kg/ha.

Usually there would be a base dressing either as a compound, suspension or solid straights. Then at drilling the placement fertiliser would be N8 P20 at 300L/Ha delivering 24Kg N and 60Kg P, acting as a starter for the developing crop.

“This would be standard practice for drilled onions, to place all the phosphate and some nitrogen. The aim is to get the crop going early and up to 5 true leaves as quickly as possible, for example by mid June when drilled on the 1st March. The early growth and development is paramount to help the onion crop combat competition from weeds and helps reduce the effects from the constant bombardment of herbicides generally associated with onion growing”.

Richard is unsure whether placing fertiliser at drilling translates into an earlier harvest but says the feedback from his customers would suggest there are numerous benefits.

“Potatoes are slightly different as there are so many different aspects: salads, main crop, bakers, seed and so on. But the fundamental principles are the same. To place the starter fertiliser in close proximity to the seed tubers so there is a readily available supply of the required fertiliser as soon as the roots and shoots start to develop. Typically with a sand land potato crop, placed fertiliser would provide all the required P and a portion of the N, following an overall dressing of base fertiliser.

“In some cases the fertiliser placement kit is then used on a module transplanter or maize drill” comments Richard “and even used on a tractor hoe to accurately place fertiliser inter row, to the onion or sugar beet crop for example. This helps extend the working season of that machine, rather than being used just for drilling onions.

“Economics are a big question. Essentially accurately placed fertiliser means less wastage with subsequent cost savings. Although this growing season has been very good, particularly for the onion crop, where fertiliser has been placed at drilling, growers have seen some record yields”.

The new front mounted fertiliser system features a 1000 or 1500L low line tank, close coupled on a CAT 2 linkage frame for maximum operator forward vision. There is also a choice of the traditional round 600 and 800L tanks. Supplied with a fold-away de-mount leg kit this enables the unit to be quickly mounted or demounted, this is also aided by quick fit couplings on liquid and hydraulic feed hoses.

Planter or drill mounted placement tines and there associated mounting brackets are specific to the different makes and models. Richard comments that this element is one of the most important parts of the machine. He has fitted the knives to an array of planters and drills and says no 2 machines are ever the same.

The standard 460Lpm hydraulically driven, centrifugal pump can deliver up to 12 bar max pressure. Spray control options include the standard manual pressure regulation with in-cab spray on/off switching, or RDS computerised rate controller (GPS radar compatible) and in-cab LED nozzle blockage detection system.

For further details of the system contact Richard Lapage at RWL Services Ltd on 07534 948 361 or richard@rwlservices.co.uk or Danny Hubbard at Team Sprayers Ltd on 01353 661211.