Calibrating Dry Broadcast Fertilizer Applicators

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Proper selection of application equipment along with the calibration and evaluation of its performance are essential for satisfactory results. Even the best equipment requires calibration checks, especially when changing from one type of material or blends to another, when changing application rates, and when altering speeds or other operating conditions.

Calibration checks of bulk fertilizer equipment should show the type of spread pattern, including the degree of uniformity obtained across the swath, the effective swath width, and the rate of application. To be effective, the system used to check calibration should be accurate, easily understood by the operator, and simple to perform.

One practical method of calibrating fertilizer and lime spreaders requires the following items:

  1. Nine to 15 collection trays or pans with a grid baffle placed in the bottom.
  2. Same number of test tubes.
  3. Test tube rack.
  4. Funnel.
  5. Ten feet or more measuring tape. A 100-foot measuring tape works best.
John Fulton
Charles Ogburn
Alabama Cooperative Extension