WINCHESTER — A European manure spreader might be the trick to maximizing manure’s nutrient-packed punch.
“It’s not that sexy or racy — it just allows us to have more options to present manure in a non-dramatic format, dead even, 50 ft. wide, at a good speed,” says Bruce Kelly, the environmental program co-ordinator with Farm & Food Care Ontario, who showed off a Husky manure tanker with a Vogelsang folding dribble bar at Eastern Ontario Crop Diagnostic Day on July 21.
Used and perfected in Europe for a handful of years, the unit is the first in Ontario.
The idea is simple: By applying manure uniformly in the growing crop — wheat, forages, and even corn up to the six- to eight-leaf stage — nutrients are sucked up within a matter of days, reducing the risk of runoff, says Kelly.
Manure is deposited on the ground, not the crop, in a steady stream via hoses spaced nine inches apart, which avoids burning and enables spreading in windy conditions. Compared to injection equipment, it can cover larger acreage more quickly.
The bonus? Placing manure beneath the canopy minimizes the telltale smell.
At $140,000 for the whole shebang from Husky Farm Equipment, north of Guelph, the target market is custom applicators, but Kelly says large dairy farms are also interested.