More and more in today’s farm industry, farmers are purchasing their own fertilizer spreaders rather than hiring them from the local fertilizer dealer. In the past, most farmers would simply hire the big box rig spinner-spreaders to get the job done, but more often than not, farmers that have the acreage to justify it, are buying the spreaders themselves because it gives them more control over when the fertilizer is spread.
The market has shifted over time because farmers that have 3,000 to 5,000 acres have realized that it will pay for itself over time if they buy a unit and apply the fertilizer themselves. Estimates say that sales of these dry boxes have increased 20-50% among farmers over the last 2 years and are still trending up. The most popular are the trailer drawn units that can be pulled behind a tractor or units that can be mounted on truck frames that they already own. Some farmers are even purchasing the floaters, or commercial truck rigs on the used market.
The impetus for this change has been the change in nutrient management practices. In particular, there has been a push in top-dressing corn. These spinners mounted on high clearance frames give farmers another option as opposed to their more traditional side-dress units. The top-dressing trend may have started because farmers began to search for ways to spread N after wet spring times when some of the pre-plant N gets lost.
Spreaders can also be modified with dividers so that multi-product applications can be done with a single trip. This is excellent because of the increased use of micronutrients such as zinc, boron, and manganese, associated with grid soil sampling. The last decade has seen innovations in the ability to compartmentalize dry fertilizer and vary the rate of each within a dry fertilizer spinner. Prior to that, units such as this got kind of a bad rap because of the uneven application and limited spread radius that they had. It would take simply too much time to fertilize the fields. New designs have taken care of those issues and made them a much more viable product. Ten years ago the maximum spread was around 50 feet. Now you can apply fertilizer at about 90-100 feet and cover a lot more acreage per hour.
When looking to buy a spreader, it is important that you buy a good one and there are certain features that you should look for:
There are a number of companies that make spinner spreaders, but here is a short list of some of the betters ones at various price points. Make sure and do your research before buying to find the unit that is right for you:
Once you find the right spreader, give us a call to learn more about the right fertilizer!