Shop Built Sidedressing Tool Brings In-Season Flexibility

Strip-tiller Larry Tombaugh combined an old cultivator, SpikeWheel units and a CDS-John Blue pump into a unit that dispenses nitrogen with low soil disturbance.

Foreseeing a day when the government will simply forbid fall nitrogen applications, Larry Tombaugh hit the shop last winter to get ahead of the game.

The Streator, Ill., strip-tiller and two part-time farm employees built a homemade sidedress applicator by assembling remanufactured SpikeWheel applicators, an old 12-row Glencoe row-crop cultivator and a CDS-John Blue ground-drive pump.

Tombaugh then added a 1,600-gallon tank mounted on an E-Z Trail quad-steer wagon. Then in May, Tombaugh used the applicator to sidedress 20 gallons per acre of 32% and Soil Biotics XL, a liquid nitrogen stabilizer.

After working through some engineering challenges during construction, Tombaugh says the applicator worked very well.

“We really liked the short turning radius with the wagon, the ‘no-brainer’ application with the ground-driven pump, and the SpikeWheel applicators sealing in the product with low disturbance,” says Tombaugh, who strip-tills both corn and soybeans on his farm.

“You can get 38 gallons an acre maximum and we run at about 5 to 5.5 mph.”

Stripped Down. Tombaugh had been applying 200 pounds per acre of anhydrous ammonia in the fall mixed with N-Serve to fertilize his corn crop, but he says it’s clear trends are moving toward split nitrogen applications.


Since changing planters recently to add 2-by-2-inch fertilizer placement, Tombaugh needed a machine to do sidedress applications. He hasn’t liked using knives or high-pressure nozzles and once saw a farmer with SpikeWheel applicators on his planter.

Tombaugh spent $200 to buy the used cultivator and began by stripping off the shovels…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein was senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings