N Applicator Sized For The Job

Dan Dykstra found it hard to get an ag retailer to apply 32 percent nitrogen on a 20-acre field, so he built his own rig. For less than $900, he can apply N when he wants it with his 400-gal. rig.

“I bought a 3-pt. rotary hoe for $400, bought a couple of planter tanks for $79, and a used 4-roller pump sprayer,” says Dykstra. “I took the hoe wheels off and bought used disc openers from a guy who rebuilds planters for only $20.”


   Dykstra plumbed the applicator with pvc pipes and tees above each opener leading to anhydrous drop tubes. He zip-tied the pvc pipe to the toolbar for flexibility as it moved through the field. His “high-tech” metering device consisted of drilling a 1/64-in. hole in pvc plugs at each tee.


   “The size was a guesstimate,” admits Dykstra. “It was the smallest bit I had, and I knew I could always drill larger holes. I figured I wanted the rate too light rather than too heavy. After some trial and error, I figured that 6 mph was about right with that hole size.”


   Dykstra figured the pvc plug holes were a good alternative to ceramic tips. “The tips would have been too pricey for this system,” he says.


   The only drawback to his $600 system was the size of the tanks. He quickly discovered he could only get about 4 acres with each fill. This past spring, he upgraded his tank and pump.


   “I picked up a tow-behind nitrogen applicator at a consignment auction for only $350,” says Dykstra. “It had a 500-gal. tank with a John Blue pump and 3-pt. connectors for a toolbar, but no toolbar.”


   The conversion was as simple as hooking on to the rotary hoe toolbar and changing a few hoses.


   “I raise sorghum for hay on the field, and I use the applicator to make a half rate pass at planting and another after first cutting,” says Dykstra. “It works great, and I don’t risk burning the sorghum leaves.”


   Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan Dykstra, 18191 Malvern Rd., Morrison, Ill. 61270 (ph 815-590-0331; dykstrafamilycattle@yahoo.com)