Mechanized farming methods were initiated during the agrarian revolution that preceded the industrial era. At this point in history, man realized the need for progressing from substantial to commercial farming as a means of providing food security for the swelling population. One of the most popular implements developed for boosting crop production was the variable rate fertilizer spreader.
As with most tools of the time, the first products utilized manual labor to drag a wheeled contraption along the tilled ground. Some models were needed two workers to push the wheeled hopper while another worker turned the releasing crank. With a little creativity, progressive designer opted to tap the cranking motion from the rotating road wheels. Gears or pulleys coupled with belts were used for transmitting the motion to the disc broadcaster.
The greatest onus to a proliferation of farm implement developers was the abolition of monopolies with the liberalization of the local economies in industrializing nations. Currently, there is a broad variety of broadcasters that can be dragged by motored machines. Popular movers include all terrain vehicles and tractors through the three point hitching method.
Bigger contraptions are mounted on the hitching points and coupled to the PTO shaft to derive rotary motion from the engine. Most spreaders employ the concept of centrifugal forces to broadcast commercial fertilizers from a finned disc rotating about a vertical axis. This disc is usually located across a cylindrical outlet from the hopper.
The biggest shortcoming with centrifugal spreaders is the uneven rate at which the additive is deposited on the soil being worked. To solve this problem, some manufacturers came up with an alternate pendulum spreading mechanism that is popular on medium capacity products. The hopper should be made from a material that will not be affected by corrosion associated with some farm additives.
Broadcasters are a must have tool for lawn owners and individuals investing in pasture grass for fodder. One may also come across them in the garages of outfits that offer high end sports such as polo and golf. They present the most effective way of spreading foliage feed, grass seeds and herbicides on a patch of land.
The most enterprising farmer will take time to select a product with an adjustable spread rate so that he can calibrate it to meet his needs. Most adjustments can be made from the handle bars by pushing a selecting lever to the size of the holes you want. A good calibration must also be coupled with the recommended spread pattern for best results.
For your own reference, keep copies of owner manuals for all equipment on the premises. In some cases, it is not possible to calibrate the flow rate without consulting the manufacturer recommendations. Internet research could also point you in the right direction if you are in a fix about this process. With time, you should master your variable rate fertilizer spreader to set the dragging speed. Rugged terrain should be treated separately because the skipping wheels undo the set calibration.
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