Harvest is in full swing in most parts of the Corn Belt. Hopefully we are able to get into the fields and harvest is successful for everyone. For those of you that apply fall fertilizer, I have some helpful advice that will help you prepare yourself, which will help you be efficient while the clock ticks down to the frozen tundra which winter brings us.
The first thing that we are going to cover is preparing the display. For those of you that use the display for different operations, we will likely be on the 2014 season. Even though we are still in 2014, we are planning ahead for the 2015 crop season when we are applying fall fertilizer. Since we should be logging data to the appropriate year, we should start a new year for 2015 and make that our active season. Also we should make sure that we have our harvest or any other data exported from the display and brought into SMS. This will ensure that your data is in a safe place. It is a good idea to create a backup of your display before you start any season. That way, if we need to use a different display, we can have all of the configuration settings, fields, and other information ready for use. It is also good idea to check the display information. Do we have all of the correct configurations and products that we will use during the fall application process? If this is the first time we have used the display for application, it is likely that we need to add the appropriate information.
Before we start applying product and begin calibrating we should look the system over. If the system has been sitting idle for nearly a year, things can happen. Cabling and connections could have been damaged, valves could become stuck over time, and other factors can affect the performance of the system. We should look the system over and see if we can find anything that looks out of the ordinary. It can be helpful to have valves and flow meters looked over and serviced before the season starts. For operations that use N-Serve, it is important to look over the pump. N-Serve can be hard on seals. If they look worn, we recommend replacing them before the season starts.
When calibrating granular fertilizers we can do static calibrations and/or in-field calibrations. It is very important that we have entered in the correct product densities when we calibrate the system. We can repeat these calibrations until the system is very accurate. These calibrations will require weighing product but don’t take a lot of time and are well worth it.
When working with NH3 we use the flow meter calibration number. Our systems use a pulses/gallon reading. Check the flow meter and if it has pulses/10 gallons, we will need to divide that pulses value by 10 and enter that value in our display. For liquid systems that use injection for operations such as N-serve, we need to make sure that we calibrate the pump. When loading a configuration that is using NH3 as our product, we have the option of what we would like to select controlling product. We can select pounds of anhydrous or pounds of nitrogen. The display will make the conversion to be accurate, but it is important that we let the display know what target rate units we are using, especially when working with prescriptions. The units need line up. It is an easy mistake that people can make.
By getting the system ready beforehand, we can save time and money in the fields. The importance of saving time and money has always been important, but with lower grain prices and winter creeping up, it has never been more crucial. Hopefully everyone has a smooth and productive fall and most importantly, everyone stays safe. When working with fertilizers, such as anhydrous, safety is the number one priority. Make sure that we all follow safety recommendations. If you ever have any questions on safety or any other related issue, you can contact Ag Leader Technical Support at 515-232-5363 and we will be glad to help you!