Getting the fertiliser spreader settings right is essential good practice to efficiently spread fertiliser evenly so that your crops receive all the nutrients they need. There are also 3 practices that can help you in the process for more successful spreading.
Nitrogen is one of the main drivers of crop yield, it helps crops grow. But beware: uneven spreading results in too much nitrogen in some areas and too little in others. Excess nitrogen creates tall, skinny stems that are too feeble to hold themselves up; this is known as lodging. Lodged plants are harder to harvest and lead to yield losses, as not all grains can be picked up. Uneven nitrogen fertiliser application creates irregular maturity. All in all, an unnecessary and costly affair you want to avoid.
Striping in the field and lodging are two consequences of inaccurate spreading which are easy to spot. But there are more effects of uneven spreading in the field, and they are not evident until after harvest. One you surely want to avoid is uneven protein levels in the crop. This imbalanced level of protein can end up bringing the average down on your whole harvest, sending it below the quality demands of the industry. Yet another unnecessary and costly affair you want to avoid.
Wasting fertiliser by putting it at the wrong place at the wrong time is costly because of the wasted fertiliser, you also risk consequences on the yield, such as yield loss, uneven maturity, slow harvesting, increased lodging risk, and uneven protein content. The time spent getting the spreading right might end up being your most valuable minutes in crop management.
According to Yara simulation and field trials, there are on average 3.0% yield improvements when comparing a covariance of 10% to a covariance of 34%. Axel Link, Senior Scientist at Yara's Hanninghof research center, has developed a model that illustrates the possible losses per hectare on both N responsive sites and N unresponsive sites.
"Achieving accurate fertiliser spreading can mean an extra £20-100 per hectare from yield improvements alone, depending upon the nitrogen responsiveness of field sites", explains Miles Harriman, Yara's Chief European Agronomist.
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