Big savings with in-furrow nitrogen use

Big savings with in-furrow nitrogen use

Cropping News
One of the Stacker manifolds on the bars that also incorporates two six-section control units.

One of the Stacker manifolds on the bars that also incorporates two six-section control units.

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A Kalannie continuous cropping family has reduced its urea and ammonium nitrate (UAN) usage by up to 30 per cent thanks to direct injection equipment from Liquid Systems (SA).

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A KALANNIE continuous cropping family has reduced its urea and ammonium nitrate (UAN) usage by up to 30 per cent thanks to direct injection equipment from Liquid Systems (SA). 

It has been achieved with nitrogen delivered directly to the seed bed via two A120 modules, which were installed in January 2017 when the family upgraded to DBS precision seeders. 

“It’s way more efficient to have the nitrogen in the ground, a couple of centimetres below the seed,” said Travis Stanley.

He runs the farm with his wife Carmen and parents Ian and Robin. 

“We’re using 30 per cent less nitrogen because it’s where it needs to be and is more available to the seed,” he said. 

“We used to spray 45L/ha in front of our seeders and now we inject 30L/ha on average with variable rate technology in-furrow.” 

According to Mr Stanley, the accuracy of the system, even delivery of liquid across the bar and section control also contributed to the efficient use of the liquid product they are using.

“We calibrate the machines pre-season and then again during the season if we have to stop because it’s too dry or wet,” he said.

“We found that from manifold to manifold, it’s spot on. 

“We also have section control on both of our bars so that allows us to save as well.” 

The Stanley’s DBS precision seeders are both fitted with Stacker section control kits from Liquid Systems (SA), which automatically shuts off the liquid flow from each manifold when the seeder overlaps parts of the paddock it has already covered or turns at the end of a run. 

“Section control probably saves us 21,000L of UAN, which is about a five to eight per cent cost saving across our entire program,” Mr Stanley said. 

He also varies the rate of UAN across his property using a John Deere rate controller on the farm’s Bourgault air seeder, with the rate ranging up to 60L/ha. 

On specific wheat varieties, like Calingiri and sometimes Mace or Scepter, he also mixes in 200-300ml of Flutriafol, a fungicide that protects against disease outbreaks. 

In an enterprise that has nearly doubled in size in the past two years, growing from 12,000 to 20,500 hectares, injecting the fungicide up front during seeding allows the family time to finish the program before returning with a boom spray. 

“Because of the size of our program, delivering the liquid mix with the seed just gives us that breathing space,” Mr Stanley said. 

“By the time we’ve finished seeding, the early-planted wheat is out of the ground, so it provides protection until we get back with the booms.” 

The family’s decision to invest in Liquid Systems equipment was primarily based on price and customer service. 

“I got quotes from a couple of companies and Liquid Systems’ equipment was substantially cheaper,” he said. 

“I was also impressed by the availability of Liquid Systems’ owner Peter Burgess. 

“He ran through everything I needed to know leading up to purchasing the equipment and he was really good at explaining things and pointing me in the right direction. 

“When it came to installation, the instructions were easy to follow and Peter was there to offer advice. 

“If it wasn’t him, his offsider was on-hand to help, but I could mostly get Peter on the phone. 

“And the system is really simple. 

“It’s pretty much plug-and-play.” 

The Stanleys use 16 on-farm tanks to store UAN, which is delivered to the property in 55 tonne loads and carted to their seeders in 30,000L Flexi-N tanks during seeding. 

They purchase Flutriafol in shuttles and inject it into the Flexi-N stream as it goes into the bins. 

Mr Stanley said he wouldn’t hesitate recommending Liquid Systems’ equipment to other farmers.

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