Recently we started working with a neighboring dairy and are spreading lagoon sludge over our fields. We received our first results after our harvest of millet last year. On average the area where we spread manure consistently doubled yields. So the problems....
First, we are an organic farm and have to use liquid manure since most all solids introduce seed populations...
Second, compaction compaction compaction, The dairy spreads the product over our fields by literally driving a semi up and down in 10 foot widths while the tankers dribbles out the product, rate is simply adjusted by speed. As you can imagine covering every foot of a field with a semi pretty much makes a parking lot and requires extensive chisel work.
Third, we are a dry land farm and have to consider the fact that thousands of acres are being covered and that the application rate is so much lower then on irritation. Ideally I would like to apply 3,000-ish gal/ acre. This introduces approximately 30 pounds of N and still keeps phosphorus and sodium levels well with-in and worry zones.
Fourth, we strictly grow winter wheat and Proso millet
So with all this being said I was hoping that any one out there with experience or thoughts with liquid fertilize application could share. I have been looking at products like James Way, Blazer, Nuhn, Husky, and Houle for direct injection.
It sounds like an idea, but oh clean is it? Does it contain any solids? Their are liquid manure applicators that are basically a tank on wheels with a few shanks. Trying to put 3000 gallons an acre would be difficult to do with normal liquid fertilizer applicators as you would never have enough capacity to keep you going. either way you look at it your going to have some type of compaction. The large applicators are made to float so they would be a better choice then just semi's.
The solid level is < 8%, as far as the rate goes, the companies who make injectors sell a "frac tank" which is basically a portable holding tank that holds 22,500 gal. The semi brings product in and the tank acts as a buffer so that you never have to wait to fill your injector as you come by each pass. I agree that I will still likely have compaction issues but that they will be better then the semi. Thank you for your input!
We use Jamesway 7400 tanks with the big metric tires the big tires make a huge differance on the compaction. Our land in Central Iowa packs way harder than yours out in CO. We use detrich direct injection bars(they are a notill bar). We use these setups to apply hog manure. We run a chopper on the back for soilds by the time the manure gets thru two pumps and the chopper soilds are not a problem. We run flow meters for rate control. We put on 9999 (because are ravens controlers would not go over 10,000) gallons an acre out of the open dirt lagons at my dads site last fall. 3000 per acre is a real low rate for us we usally don't go below 4240 on corn on corn ground. All based on soil and manure samples as for what rate to apply.
Your frac tank idea is great if you can keep up with how fast they will truck it to you. I would look real hard at jamesway we ran houle in past and the jamesway is holdiing up much better and much less compaction. Things i like about jamesway oil filled wheel bearings, Remote grease banks, The pump will swing out completly giving you access to prop, I like the steering on or jamesways over the houles we had.
what you are wanting is an umbilical cord set up. they are pricey though so it might be more affordable to hire someone with the setup. Locally we have a company that makes the equipment for drag hosing if you are interested. Puck Custom Enterprise or PCE.com or google PCE. The family operation has four or five engineers on hand one of them being a classmate of mine. His dad has been doing manure for around 20 years or so. Just check them out. They can pump up to five miles depending on booster pumps and culverts. We have been running umbilical chord now for roughly ten years now and would never go back to what were doing. look into a flow meter to make sure the flow is accurate.
How far are your fields from the dairy?
What is the analysis of the manure?
Any option you choose will cause some compaction.
If they are within 5 or so miles I would pump straight from the lagoon to an applicator in the field. This option will result in the least amount of compaction. (I think this is what Tony is talking about)
Otherwise your only other option is to go with a tank. Instead of getting a tank that has injectors on the back, maybe consider one that spreads the manure in a 20-30' swath-this will create less compaction than driving every 10' with the tanker. The only downside to this is you need to incorporate the manure within 24 hours to prevent a major loss of nutrients. Get a rate/flow controller and monitor so you can be accurate with how much manure you're putting on. It sounds like the way the dairy applied the manure was not very accurate.
The reason we run injector bars in IA is that you have to incorp it within 24hours after it is applyed. If you spread at a rate of 9000 gallons you end up packing the ground worse because it is not dry by the time you disc it in. 24 hours in IA with hog manure is law. Also the injectors give you much better placement and are just cleaner. We can spread high rates and never drag any mud on to the road. I love the idea of a drag hose but we can not run one for what we do. Can't cross a river. We started with Houle we ran tank a long time we still have it. It has small tires on it and compaction is a problem. We have been known to pack the area where we load down into 16" deep trenchs and had very distinct trails where we always ran out to unload. We looked a a Nuhn quad train they pack as bad as the semis. Balzer with the small trailer in the front pack hard. In all the years we have ran tanks the Jamesway with the large metrics packs the least. You can not put these tires on the old houle tanks they are to wide the axles on tank area to narrow and the tires rub. The differance is amazing we run the old houle and the jamesway side by side.
I would love a drag hose system but like I said we have to cross a major river. On a state highway. with one site. We have another site and we contacted our local state shed about running a hose under a major four lane highway so we would not have to cross it. They said no way. So for a couple of days every fall we cross all four lanes about 8 times an hour with our tanks. We have to be very carefull not to drag mud across roadway. (FYI the four lane road was not there till two years ago. The first 18 years pumping that site was a easy one mile drive down a county gravel. cant complain though at least the road still goes thru.}
Yea I cant use drag hose either, first and for most the distance is just to far. Also our soil time is fairly abrasive and I have my doubts on how long a hose would survive while running through the soil. How large of a tractor do you use when pulling your Jamesway?