Great Plains Planters To Offer New Innovative Fertiliser Application Technology

AccuShot Fertiliser Application Technology from Great Plains
AccuShot Fertiliser Application Technology from Great Plains

AccuShot, a new and unique liquid fertiliser application system soon to be available as an option on selected Great Plains Yield-Pro planters, is being hailed by the manufacturer as a major new advance that will help maize growers around the world to maximise yields, whilst reducing their input costs and minimising fertiliser waste.

The new system was officially launched and unveiled to the public for the first time at Agritechnica, the world’s largest trade fair for agricultural machinery and equipment, held recently in Hannover, Germany.

Unlike conventional starter fertiliser application methods which dribble a continuous line of fertiliser to the side or below the seed over the entire length of the seed trench, AccuShot uses patented technology to dispense a predefined dose of nutrients with the planting of each individual seed. The system is customisable in that users can control application rate and input-to-seed proximity to suit their requirements enabling fertiliser to be applied directly on to the seed or at the specified distance next to it.

Commenting on the new technology, developed in partnership with USA-based Capstan Ag Systems, Daniel Rauchholz, President of Great Plains International, said: “We firmly believe that AccuShot will greatly enhance the planting experience for maize farmers worldwide.

“AccuShot ensures that every single seed receives the nutrients it needs to develop into a healthy plant. The science behind the system helps to make every drop of starter fertiliser applied at planting available to the plant’s feeder root system. The fertiliser is only applied where each seed can most easily access the nutrients it provides. Traditional fertiliser application methods can leave as little as 25% of the applied phosphorous available for the year’s crop and that represents a substantial amount of fertiliser that is going to waste. AccuShot changes all that.”

So, how does it work?

Having entered the desired application rate and input-to-seed proximity in the AccuShot user interface, the application process begins as the seed passes the standard seed tube sensor, triggering the time delay, equal to the time required for the seed to travel to the ground. A second delay is then started to offset the beginning of the liquid application from the seed location, and the valve is opened from a pressurised storage manifold. The length of time the valve is open is calculated from the measured boom pressure, and target volume required per seed. A metered amount of fertiliser is released into the individual, pre-charged metering tube, forcing the check valve open at the seed trench, where the fertiliser is instantly dispensed before the check valve closes again. The result is a customised dose of fertiliser delivered with the seed.

AccuShot places the liquid input so quickly and precisely, that only a high-speed camera can capture the application.

The implications of having a customised dose of fertiliser delivered with each seed are significant, both economically and environmentally as Daniel Rauchholz explained: “AccuShot gives maize growers real control for the first time in maximising their return from high-cost fertiliser inputs and minimising waste. Because the input is only placed exactly where the seed will use it, users can reduce input costs without reducing yield potential, or maintain the same input costs to increase yield potential. Additionally, AccuShot gives crops the best access to nutrients without placing fertiliser where crops will never use it. Ultimately, AccuShot improves a farmer’s economic situation. Furthermore, it offers a genuine environmental benefit by reducing the amount of unused chemical released into the soil.”

The patent-pending AccuShot seed-plus-fertiliser application system has already been extensively and successfully tested over four planting seasons by leading agronomists, growers and Great Plains product development engineers.

Independent field tests performed by Crop-Tech Consulting returned promising results in 2014. The use of AccuShot at 23 litres per hectare resulted in a net income increase of over €51 per hectare for twin rows planted at populations of 79,000 and 99,000 per hectare. Trial plots for 2015 also look to be extremely encouraging.

It is anticipated that the first AccuShot equipped planters will be available in limited numbers from Spring 2016.

Looking further ahead, Great Plains are looking to expand the scope of AccuShot beyond its use with starter fertiliser. “AccuShot principles have potential in many other applications, including growth regulators, seed treatments, dual placement, and insecticide,” said Daniel Rauchholz. “We will be working hard over the next year or two to harness the full potential of AccuShot across as many applications as possible. To that end I am sending out an open invitation to any liquid chemical specialists who may be interested in working with Great Plains to explore new applications for this technology to get in touch with us.”