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Boom System Dribbles Liquid Manure Into Growing Corn
Growing corn consumes a big helping of nitrogen fertilizer just before and after tasseling, and an Ohio dairy operation has found a unique way of supplying it. Van Erk Dairy in Paulding County worked with a custom manure handling products company to design and build a 120-ft. wide nutrient boom. The system dribbles up to 350 gal. of liquid manure a minute through 25 drop tubes into 5 to 6-ft. tall corn. The tubes supply liquid to every other row, extending well below the leaf canopy. The 1 1/2-in. tubes are open at the end and dribble the liquid on top of the ground.
  “Right now this is a one-of-a-kind system,” says Dan Purdy, a representative from Cuff Farm Services, Albany, N.Y., which built the applicator. “This works just like an irrigation system, except it’s supplying a good dose of nutrients when corn needs it the most.” Purdy says the manure doesn’t splash on leaves or stalks because the drop tubes extend almost to the ground in the middle of every other row.
  Manure is pumped to the field applicator from Van Erk’s storage pond through 1 1/2 miles of 4-in. dia. soft hose. The head of the hose is hooked to a distribution manifold on the applicator and pulled with a high boy sprayer to the far end of a 1/4-mile long field. The distributor is then pulled back to its starting point by a hydraulic powered hose reel, applying the liquid manure as it’s retrieved.
  Purdy says they can adjust the application rate from about 9,000 gal. to 11,700 gal. per acre by varying the speed the boom moves through the field. One pass can be done in 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. After a strip is completed, the boom and hose reel are carried with a skid steer or tractor loader 120 ft. to the next starting point.
  Purdy thinks the manure boom can be just as efficient as nitrogen sidedressing done with a tractor and applicator. “Our company will be fine tuning the design this winter and we hope it’s a product that will work for medium to large dairy and hog operations,” Purdy says. The Van Erk trial used liquid from a manure digester, but Glen Arnold of OSU thinks the system could also be adapted for liquid swine or dairy manure direct from a lagoon. Arnold says liquid dairy manure usually has 7 to 10 gal. of nitrogen per 1,000 gal. liquid. With that analysis, just 2 applications totaling 12,000 gal. per acre during the growing season could supply all the nitrogen a corn crop needs to produce excellent yields.
  Purdy says the cost of a 120-ft. boom with the distributor and retriever reel hasn’t been finalized yet. The system’s overall cost will vary depending on the size and number of pumps needed as well as the amount of distribution hose. “We think this concept has excellent potential on other crops such as alfalfa and wheat, too, “ says Purdy.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan Purdy, Cuff Farm Services, 1183 W. Genesee St. Rd., Auburn, N.Y. 13021 (ph 315 374-3020; www.cufffarmservices.com) or Van Erk Dairy, 8789 State Route 114, Haviland, Ohio 45851 (ph 419 263-2358).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1