Calibrating Manure Spreaders

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Land application is the primary means of using livestock wastes in Missouri. Properly spreading manure on cropland is an environmentally acceptable means of managing wastes and, at the same time, realizing a benefit from the manure's fertilizer value.
With the increased environmental concern and the need to closely match the fertilizer needs of the crop, farmers can no longer afford to just "spread manure." The land application operation should be given the same attention as spreading commercial fertilizer.
With knowledge of crop type, yield goal, soil tests and manure analysis, you can determine the needed rate of manure application. However, another critical step in obtaining this rate in the field is the correct spreader setting, operating speed and travel lane spacing.
Determining these factors is called "calibrating" the manure spreader. Calibrating a manure spreader requires measuring the weight of manure spread on a given ground area with a given travel speed, spreader setting, power take-off speed, lane spacing and other factors.

Charles D. Fulhage
University of Missouri Extension