DLG Test Course 2: Solid fertiliser distributors in field use – sensor technology for precision farming

While price plays a significant role in the purchase of new fertiliser spreaders, the cost of the fertiliser itself that is applied using these machines over the years commonly exceeds the implement purchase price many times. Additionally, high agricultural yields and consistent product quality can only be achieved if nutrients are spread evenly across the areas to be fertilised, as uneven fertiliser distribution will at least result in impaired yields. Fertiliser therefore needs to be deposited precisely all the way across fields, right up to field boundaries. Visibly imprecise application of fertiliser not only detracts from farmers’ image and damages the environment, but also causes financial strain.

Currently, solid fertiliser is most commonly spread using broadcasters or, to some extent, pneumatic spreaders, if the product is to be accurately metered and applied where it is intended to go. However, manufacturers are busily developing spreaders further in order to meet ever more stringent demands. The innovations developed by various manufacturers serve to not only increase precision, including at headlands and on wedge-shaped fields, but also to improve the adaptation of implements to the product to be applied. The demonstration of nine implement/tractor combinations – five of which also feature N-sensors – on the DLG test course will show what modern solid fertiliser spreaders are already able to deliver and which sophisticated features they offer to farmers.

The spreaders will be used to demonstrate live spreading at field boundaries and along waterways in a first round, with spread product being captured at two places for both field and waterway boundary spreading to allow visitors to inspect spreading patterns first hand. The spreaders are then turned and return across crops representing different levels of supply and growth densities. In this part of the demonstration, they do not apply fertiliser, but a display on the tractor roof instead indicates the fertiliser application rates suggested by the relevant sensor or map overlay respectively. The results of boundary spreading will be evaluated in the meantime and displayed on a LED panel.

The field of participants includes all of the renowned sensor manufacturers, and the demonstration will therefore provide an excellent overview of the current range of crop cultivation sensors on the market and their particularities. The commentary on the demonstration will be provided by Ulrich Lossie from Deula Nienburg. Prof. Dr. Yves Reckleben from Kiel University of Applied Sciences will introduce the sensors and their mode of operation.

Participating companies in the fertiliser spreader section:

  • AMAZONEN-WERKE H. Dreyer GmbH & Co. KG, Hasbergen-Gaste, Germany
  • BOGBALLE A/S, Uldum, Denmark
  • BREDAL, Gnutz, Germany
  • Kverneland Group Deutschland GmbH, Soest, Germany
  • Rabe, Gregoire Besson GmbH, Bad Essen, Germany
  • RAUCH Landmaschinenfabrik GmbH, Sinzheim, Germany
  • Sulky Burel, Chateaubourg, France

Participating companies in the sensor section:

  • Agri Con GmbH, Ostrau, Germany
  • Claas Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, Harsewinkel, Germany
  • Farm Facts GmbH & Co. KG, Pfarrkirchen, Germany
  • Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik GmbH, Großhelfendorf, Germany
  • Topcon Precision Agriculture Europe, Tres Cantos, Spain

At DLG-Feldtage 2014 ten trailed sprayers and seven self-propelled sprayers will show on the field track how well their automatic boom guidance can follow natural terrain contours at a driving speed of 12 km/h. The spring suspension and shock absorbing properties of the spray booms and chassis will be put to the test at 8 km/h on the bumpy track, a route section with challenging obstacles.