Though it is still winter, thoughts are starting to turn to springtime and seeding. Soil tests are being analyzed and fertilizer is being bought for acres that are pencilled in. This always brings up the question of how to get the most out of your air cart. If you can reduce your day by one or even half a fill, you can increase your productivity.
Beyond Agronomy has an app out there to help you maximizing your air cart.
The main page is easy to navigate — it asks you to select how many tanks your air cart has. The next page asks for your tank capacities. It also asks your fertilizer and seeding rates in pounds per acre. Once you have entered your information just press “calculate” and it takes you directly to the results page.
On this page, your lbs./ac. requirements are presented in column form. It lists the seed and fertilizer at the top and the tanks down the left side. You will notice that often it breaks down the rates over multiple tanks with a split rate.
If you want, you can do the math and figure out if a split rate is the same as just using those tanks at full rate one by one instead of having them all running at once. At the bottom you can see the maximum acres you can get out of each fill with this set up and rates. There is also a metric conversion button at the bottom to change your maximum area between acres and hectares. As you can see it is a pretty simple in and out app.
From the Canadian Cattlemen website: iCalve
One of the biggest issues with this app it that it only has one spot to input fertilizer. Lots of farmers are using two fertilizer blends at once during seeding for things like double shoot or mid-row banding.
There are a couple of solutions to this problem that do not require too much extra work. The first is to just tell it you are going to use certain tanks for seed and others for fertilizer. Then select the tanks you’re using for fertilizer, enter the information, but instead of seed enter the rate for your second fertilizer.
I prefer using the blend of fertilizer that is going on at the lower rate as the seed entry. This scenario works best for an oilseed, where you know you are using your smallest tank or second smallest tank for seed no matter what because the fertilizer is going to run out multiple times before the seed.
The second way around this problem takes one more step than usual. First, enter in all your information as you usually would, except when you get to the fertilizer section add up the multiple rates and enter it as one. If you were applying two rates at 90 lbs./ac. and 50 lbs./ac., input these as one rate of 140 lbs./ac. This will give you the most efficient placement of your fertilizer. Now all you have to do is go back and input only the fertilizer tanks giving you the most efficient distribution of fertilizer, since your seed tank is known as in the above example. I have done this multiple times with some different rates and I can get it to work out within 10 acres of maximum efficiency.
You might be questioning this because of the density difference between fertilizer and seed. If you like, you can change the rate you are inputting based on the percentage difference between the fertilizer and the seed density, which should give you a slightly more accurate output. Once you get familiar with this app you can quickly play around with these numbers to find a solution that you feel works best for your equipment and your target rates of seed and fertilizer.
This app is available not only for Apple products but Android as well. All in all, it’s a great little app that hopefully will help you with your spring time efficiencies.