Proper maintenance of your fertiliser spreader condition is the quick and easy way to make sure it lasts longer and avoid unnecessary and costly repairs. Not only that, but a well-maintained spreader will perform consistently and make a difference when you harvest your crops. Natalie Wood, Arable Agronomist at Yara, provided 3 top tips for effectively maintaining your fertiliser spreader:
1) Check regularly
Wear and tear will negatively affect your spread pattern. Make a habit of regularly checking your spreader and making sure that all the parts are still working to their full effect. Replace or repair where necessary according to the manufacturer’s advice. Also be sure to compare your on-screen PTO to the PTO shaft. If it’s not identical, your spreader is not operating at the PTO speed you think it is.
2) Clean thoroughly
Spreaders can quickly accumulate muck and deteriorate. Always clean your spreader both during and after use, especially the spreader vanes before refilling your hopper. This is especially important when using fertilisers containing sulphur, as these will build up deposits over time that cause blockages and uneven spreading. Oil-based lubricants will dissolve that build-up quickly, and a degreaser spray and rag will help you make sure your vanes stay spotless.
3) Calibrate correctly
Improper calibration will throw off your accuracy and undermine crop potential. Always check your fertiliser information and change the machine settings according to requirements. Manufacturers test their product under ideal conditions to determine the optimum settings. Don’t assume that one fertiliser’s calibration will work for another, even if they seem similar.
Don’t overlook the small steps that make a difference, or you may find yourself paying for it later with machine repairs or harvests that fall below expectations. Maintaining your spreader is like many other positive practices: taking a little time and establishing a routine will ensure your spreader stays robust and performing to its highest potential.