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Way To Monitor Anhydrous Application
Loren and Larry Harms, Lexington, Ill., apply strip-till anhydrous ammonia on their corn ground. Last year they checked yields across the rows and found 15 bu. per acre higher yields in four out of each 12 rows of their applicator.
  They blamed the inconsistency on their NH3 applicator and the fact that there was no way to monitor each row during application.
  Now the two men are working with Lauren Kiest, a chemical engineer based in Denver, Colo., who also owns farmland in Illinois. He has developed a new anhydrous monitoring system that makes use of a Red Ball monitor.
  The key to the system is designing it so the NH3 is handled as a liquid right down to the knives. To do that, you have to have back pressure from the nozzles that keeps the NH3 from vaporizing. To do that, they had to control the orifices as close to the knives as possible. They were able to apply ammonia at between 100 and 180 psi.
  With the NH3 in liquid form, Kiest was able to plumb in a Red Ball monitor which consists of clear plastic tubes with balls floating in there. They tell you at a glance how each row is operating.
  Kiest says that after running the system last year, he's convinced it's possible to evenly apply anhydrous across the width of an applicator, boosting yields by preventing over or under application. Now that he has made the basic idea work, he says he needs to develop specific equipment for the system before he can bring it to market. For example, Red Ball monitors are not made to handle high-pressure NH3.
  "We plan to talk to the Red Ball people about making a version geared to ammonia," Kiest says. Another problem to be worked out is developing a way to release ammonia if it gets trapped in the lines going back to the knives. He needs a way to bleed the lines safely. And as the system is currently set up, there are clouds of NH3 that develop when making turns, the result of fluid being held in a liquid state until the applicator is lifted to make turns.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lauren Kiest, Denver, Colo. 80259 (ph 303 331-9696).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2