Farm Horizons, May 2009

Liquid fertilizer use is on the rise

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

As with every spring planting season, farm equipment becomes more and more visible on local roads as weather becomes more and more favorable.

One trend that can be observed is the increase in liquid fertilizer use in the area.

“Farmers are using more liquid fertilizer these days because that’s the type of attachment the new planters use,” Agronomist Tyson Kaldenberg of Centra Sota said.

Farmers buying brand new planters are opting for the liquid fertilizer attachment for many reasons.

Those reasons vary from ease of use, to longevity of the type of storage equipment needed for the fertilizer.

“You have to use poly tanks with liquid fertilizer,” said Howard Lake crop farmer Joe Gallus. “Poly tanks don’t corrode, and you don’t have to worry about welds or joints rusting away.

“It’s (liquid fertilizer) just easier to work with,” Gallus added.

Liquid fertilizer is actually more expensive to purchase than dry fertilizer, but the other attributes of use seem to outweigh the actual cost of the product.

“It’s not a cost savings to go with liquid,” Kaldenberg said. “The new planters are what is driving liquid fertilizer use.”

Opinions vary about start of planting season

Mark Dahlman of Munson Lakes Nutrition in Howard Lake said he’s seen very little activity regarding planting as of mid-April in his immediate area.

Kaldenberg said that he thinks planting is a little bit ahead of schedule compared to an average planting season.

“The lack of moisture in the last week has helped,” Kaldenberg said.

Safety first, road rules refresher

The American Society of Agricultural Engineers and other safety organizations suggest the following tips for driving ag vehicles/implements of husbandry on public roads.

• Implements extending more than 33 feet behind the hitch point should have amber reflectors on both sides spaced at least every 16.4 feet, with the rearmost reflector positioned as far back as possible.

• Tractors or other vehicles towing implements should be of adequate size to safely control their towed load. It is unsafe to tow any implement without brakes at any speed, if the implement’s weight exceeds twice that of the towing vehicle.

• Drivers should reduce speed for hills, rough ground, curves and turns, and before approaching intersections or stops.

• If possible, implements of husbandry should pull over on busy or narrow roads to allow traffic to pass.

• Brake pedals on self-propelled implements should be locked together.

• Shift to lower gear before ascending incline.

• Reflectors, lights, and slow moving vehicle emblems should be kept clean and should be replaced when faded.

• Extra riders should never be allowed on implements of husbandry. Runovers by tractors and trailing implements are the leading cause of farm-work related death to children.

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