10 Top Tips for Fertilizer Spreading
Farms are an unforgettable part of America. More than two million farms lie across the United States, covering nearly 900 million acres. They grow all sorts of crops, yet all of them have fertilizer spreading in common.
Fertilizer provides essential nutrients to your crops. But you cannot just throw some compost down on the soil.
Where and when should you put down your fertilizer? What kinds of things can you put down? What are the signs of uneven distribution, and what tools can you get for an even spread?
Answer these questions and you can yield healthier and more substantial crops in no time. Here is your quick guide.
1. Plan Out Your Fertilizer Spreading
You are in no rush to lay out your fertilizer. Walk through your fields and see what the condition of your crops is. Deciding where you will lay your fertilizer is important.
But you should also decide the application rate. Some areas may need a little, while other areas need a lot more. You may need to return to a particular area multiple times in order to cover all plants.
Too much fertilizer can kill a plant. You may need between a few hundred pounds of fertilizer per acre, and you should buy excess so you have some on hand. But scale back your application after you’ve put down a large amount.
2. Find the Right Fertilizer
You can buy several different kinds of fertilizer. Whichever one you buy should supply a significant amount of nitrogen and phosphorous. But you may want to supply nutrients like potassium and zinc.
Biosolids are the most common form. They are processed from domestic sewage and sludge. This means that they must be carefully monitored so they don’t spread germs and pathogens.
You can use manure from farm animals. It helps the soil maintain water and a firm texture, but you must be careful not to spread harmful bacteria. Some states limit the use of manure to plants that humans will not consume.
Commercial fertilizer provides ample amounts of essential nutrients. Yet it can damage groundwater systems, especially through runoff. Be very careful when using it.
3. Time Your Spreading
You should apply your fertilizer so your soil and plants maintain nitrogen for the spring. This means that you should apply it sometime in the fall.
But that doesn’t mean you should dump it across your farm. A spring application will help you maintain your yields as the warm weather goes on. It may be best to do one small application in the spring and one in the fall instead of a big spread in the fall.
4. Invest in Soil and Leaf Testing
Soil and leaf testing will help you make your plans. Conduct tests during July or August. You should take 100 leaves from 20 different trees, and you should then send them to a laboratory.
You can conduct a soil sample simultaneously. Dig a hole a few inches into the ground and take a sample from there. If you have plants that show signs of growth disorders, you can take some soil from them and compare the results.
You will find out about soil acidity and nutrient levels. If the levels are low, you can apply fertilizer soon. If they are high, you should hold off for a few months.
5. Learn How to Spot Uneven Distribution
There are many signs of uneven distribution you can look for. The most obvious sign is dead leaves and patches in your soil.
But you can prevent your plants from dying well in advance. Excess nitrogen levels will cause stems to grow tall and skinny. They may begin to droop or fall out of place in the soil.
6. Get the Right Agricultural Equipment
You can use many tools to distribute your fertilizer. If you prefer to work by hand, you can take a bucket or wheelbarrow and sprinkle the fertilizer out. This may be best if you are maintaining a few small plants near your home.
If you have a massive field, you should invest in farm equipment. Fertilizer trailers can contain large tanks and hoses that can spray fertilizer out.
7. Maintain Your Fertilizer Spreaders
Hoses can get clogged easily. Keep your eye on them as they operate and clear any obstacles out of their way. Rocks and dead plants can form a plug over them.
You should clean each spreader after every use, especially if you use sulfur-heavy products. Use oil-based lubricants and rags to break the sulfur down.
8. Stay Clear of Your Spreaders
Fertilizer spreaders are heavy machinery that can cause injury. You can walk parallel to them to make sure they are functioning, but you should keep a distance away. You should not go near a hose while it is spraying.
One person should be inside the trailer. If they notice anything malfunctioning, they should apply the brakes and turn the engine off.
9. Track Your Progress
Soil nutrients are prone to change due to weather and climate conditions. Keep a schedule of when and where you laid out fertilizer. Take photographs of your soil and plants with timestamps so you know how they are changing.
10. Don’t Forget Other Maintenance Tips
Fertilizing your plants is just one part of growing them. They should get adequate supplies of water and sunlight.
The signs of overwatered plants are similar to the signs of overfertilized ones. Talk to an expert before assuming that your fertilizer amounts are the problem.
What to Do to Spread Your Fertilizer
Fertilizer spreading is an essential skill. You must figure out what, where, when, and how much you should put down.
In general, you can opt for biosolids on all crops. Add some in the spring and some in the summer. Use soil testing to figure out where you need fertilizer.
Buy and maintain equipment for an even spread. Track how things are going with photographs and regular walks through your fields.
Get your plants growing. Ag Solutions Group is one of the Midwest’s leading equipment distributors. Request a quote today.