With the prices of liquid and dry products, we’re seeing an upswing in the anhydrous equipment market,” says Dick Dalton, president of Dalton Ag Products. He should know, since business for anhydrous (NH3) toolbars has been booming for the past year and a half at his firm.Then too, “anhydrous ammonia is the fertilizer of choice for these massive corn acres,” believes Lauren Kiest with aNH3 Co., manufacturer of Equaply anhydrous ammonia application systems. He says the price tag on anhydrous is making more it attractive than ever. “It costs less than 28% ammonia in water and urea. Dry fertilizers can be competitive but can decompose pretty fast in the soil.”
Dalton makes a variety of toolbars, ranging in size from 21 to 45 feet, with 35-foot and longer units becoming most popular. Dick Dalton says the company puts out a very good, well-built piece of equipment, perhaps a little more economically, and “we do more specialized, different row spacings that other manufacturers won’t do.”
James Fehr is sales director with Jenner Sales, a Case IH distributor that employs a team of account managers, all certified crop advisers. He says spring ’07 was especially hot for anhydrous application. He’s found growers “spoonfeeding” crops to save money, with NH3 applied preplant, then a liquid at planting, then a sidedress. For the job, Case’s best seller has been the NutriPlacr 5310, a multi-benefit bar that manages residue, creates soil tilth, creates a seed bed, and applies nutrients in the ground, says Fehr. “It’s durable and it works, it just works.”
This season, Thurston Manufacturing will be debuting the Blu-Jet AT6010 Commercial Class Fertilizer Injection Applicator. Nick Jensen, vice president, marketing, says the new unit is extremely versatile and can be used for liquid, dry, anhydrous, and dual placement applications. It covers varying terrain, soil conditions, and residue situations, and “eases or eliminates many of the challenges faced by producers applying high rates over a large number of acres.”
Beyond The Bar
Connie Hellbusch of Duo-Lift Manufacturing says it’s also a “wild and crazy” time in anhydrous accessory sales. Her firm builds trailers that go behind the toolbars. Most requested have been low boy wagons that carry double tanks — often 1,450-gallon — emphasizing applicators’ desires to get high volumes of product to larger corn fields.
Keith Vacha, engineering manager, says Dempster Industries Inc. offers anhydrous metering pumps, the largest of which is the Model B-4. It applies 0.124 gallons per stroke, translating into 220-plus pounds per acre of nitrogen on the largest of toolbars, 47 feet and above. Operators like the positive displacement metering because it extends NH3 application into the cold season. The standard ground drive option requires no electronics in the cab.
Kiest of a NH3 says the Equaply pump provides good distribution and more even application from row to row. “They also like the ability to go faster when it’s cold — sometimes at very high rates per acre,” he describes. Another plus: The gauge tree, which shows when a knife is plugged.