A large number of farmers will be using Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) equipment such as a dribble bar, or trailing shoe, for the first time this season in place of the traditional splash plate.
When moving over to a new method of application it is important to ensure that you are applying the slurry evenly and at the right rate and of course at the correct time.
To assist farmers and agricultural contractors, Teagasc has created an online calibration calculator which will work with all types of slurry tankers. A key factor that has to be considered is getting the application rate right. In a lot of cases the forward speed of the tractor will need to be increased considerably in order to maintain the same application rate as the splash plate.
However getting the correct forward speed can be a bit of a guessing game.
To make the task of calibration easier, Teagasc has created an online calibration calculator. The calculator is easy to use and will work on your mobile phone. You simply need to adjust a number of sliders on the calculator to input your spreading details and the calculator will give you the forward speed required.
Francis Quigley, Teagasc Farm Machinery Specialist said: “To use the calculator you will need to time how long it takes to empty the first load of slurry. Once you have this information then you can input other information such as the tank size, the working width and the desired application rate. Once you have set the sliders to match your spreading details then you can read off the forward speed needed. Simply set your forward speed to match and you are all good to go. “
The Teagasc Online Slurry Spreader Calibration Calculator can be found on the Teagasc website at http://bit.ly/LESSAPP
Getting the most Value from Slurry
The key factor in getting the most value from your slurry is timing. It is important to try to use as much of the slurry as possible in spring rather than summer months, the benefits can be the equivalent of an extra six units of nitrogen per 1,000 gallons spread. The spreading method is also an important factor and can add three units of nitrogen per 1,000 gallons spread.
This can be achieved by using a trailing shoe or dribble bar in place of the splash plate.
Moving to a LESS system will involve learning a new skill. When spreading slurry with a trailing shoe, or dribble bar, there is quite a bit extra to be considered and operators will need to give themselves the time to become familiar with their new machine and all of the extra controls.
Francis Quigley, Teagasc Farm Machinery Specialist said: “Working width can be more difficult to judge particularly in heavier covers of grass, and a lot more care is needed at headlands and at obstacles like poles or water troughs in the field to ensure that you don’t hit anything.
Some machines have a break back function on the arm which will be a bit more forgiving for operators who may have a lapse in concentration.”