Western Wisconsin farmers explore cutting-edge manure applicator
BALDWIN, Wis. — More than 110 farmers, agribusiness professionals and community members gathered earlier this month for a live demonstration of a cutting-edge liquid manure application technology.
The Western Wisconsin Conservation Council (WWCC) hosted a field day June 17 at Jon-De Dairy to watch the Agrometer SDS 8000 in action.
“This machine is special because it can apply manure to a growing crop,” said Jakob Thisgaard from Agrometer. “We lay down the hose and pick it up again on a reel, so we don’t damage the crops.”
The Agrometer extends the window for spreading manure from the typical three to six weeks to three to four months. The machine is about 120 feet wide with a cab in the center flanked by two long arms with hoses hanging down. It works continuously in the field as manure is pumped directly to the machine. It is equipped with two macerators to ensure even dosage across the full width of the dribble bar. Manure is spread while driving back and forth with the cabin turning 180 degrees.
Using the machine reduces the number of pieces of equipment needed to haul manure, decreases traffic on the road, applies nutrients when the crop’s demand is heaviest, and applies the nutrients into the crop, so it is less likely to run off or leach.
Technology is one way members of WWCC, a farmer-led watershed conservation group, work to improve soil health and protect water quality.
“It solves a lot of challenges for dairy farmers,” Dean Doornink of Jon-De Dairy in Baldwin said.