Using single-disc fertilizer openers instead of shanks to apply expensive fertilizer can help no-tillers save money on labor, fuel and equipment and improve no-till profitability.
The openers also may increase the amount of time growers can apply fertilizer, offering more flexibility and ability to manage risk.
“You have a larger application window, or additional application windows, to apply fertilizer,” says Guy Swanson, co-owner of Exactrix Global Systems, Spokane, Wash.
For example, no-tillers who seeded winter wheat last fall and only applied a third of their fertilizer at seeding time have new options.
“After the winter wheat breaks dormancy, the grower can judge the crop and decide if it should be abandoned,” Swanson says. “The decision to change the rotation is lot easier if there’s an extra $30 to $60 per acre in the bank account and not in the soil.”
Single-disc openers can easily apply fertilizer into growing wheat as the crop breaks dormancy with less than 1% damage, he says.
Single-disc openers offer no-tillers many advantages over shanks. No-tillers can use these openers on 15-inch spacing instead of the 30-inch spacing required for shanks.
Placing twice as much fertilizer in a band on 30-inch spacing requires deeper placement in the soil, which requires more horsepower and more disturbance of the soil.
By using single-disc fertilizer openers on 15-inch spacings, no-tillers can band fertilizer at high speed, and then operate the planter in that same field later that day, Swanson says.
The single-disc openers require less…