We are looking at purchasing a new planter for soybeans for 2011 Crop.  We want to out fit the machine with a liquid fertilizer kit.  It is very consistent that pop up fertilizer on soybeans is not a paying venture. We are more looking to evaluate new biological and chemical products that are hitting the market through this planter attachment.  We are very happy with the performance of our Keaton Seed Firmer’s so we think it is simplest to keep them as our default in furrow delivery system. 

Features we need are:

1.  Accuracy;  this is so we are not guessing if we got the right rate on.  If we can’t get that right we can always second guess our data.

1. Range of Rates;  Some products may need to be diluted more than others.  It is in our advantage to use the lowest volume rates as possible to keep a high acre per re-fill interval.

2.  Tank Size: We don’t want too big a tank because of weight on the toolbar but we want it big enough to allow enough capacity so that we only have to re-fill a minimum of every two seed fills. This of course depends on the range of rates we go with.

3.  Application mapping; we need to be able to make an accurate application map so that we never loose track of exactly what rates are where in the field when we are doing trials.  This is essential for getting confidence in evaluation of our yield data.

4. Parts Commonality;  it is always best with these systems that they use the most popular OEM components so that if we have a failure we can repair as quickly as possible.  My preference is for Banjo Plumbing parts, Raven Flow Control, Sure Flow or Hypro Pumps.

5. Plumbing Simplicity; we need to make sure that the installation can be simple.  I can’t stand repairing a system when an install has extra hoses and manifolds when it can be simpler.

6.  Compatibility with Field Computer;  this is important because it allows us to keep a streamlined operator interface, and reduces cab clutter in planter tractor.

After taking a look at all systems available it has come down to one product that we can check everything off of our list.

Surefire Ag Systems

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These guys have their act together.  They will build a system to whatever spec you want. From what in row placement system you want to what controller you are using.  They even have the ability to do multiple products and VRA application.  Everything with this system is on our checklist and more. 

This system is controlled with a flow meter and a variable speed diaphragm pump and will take a GPS speed from our field computer.  This will give a very accurate rate as we speed up or slow down in the field.  This will also give us the ability to change rates with a push of a button and get accuracy.  This system uses the inside diameter of the hoses to determine the range of rates.  This is a good thing because it eliminates the need for orifices.  Orifices are a cause of plugging and i like that as long as we keep our water clean we should be able to avoid line plugging.  The plumbing is simple because it uses push lock fittings with quick release. 

After speaking with an agronomist is looks like the rate we are going to be shooting for is the 5-6 gallons per acre.  This means that we will not be able to achieve our filling interval of every other seed fill.  I think this will be fine as long as we are organized with our refilling setup.

Looks like i have found the ultimate liquid application kit for our needs just need to see how much it is and if it fits into our budget.