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A Comprehensive Guide to Implementing Liquid Fertilizer Systems with Your Planter

December 15, 2023

Jordan Johnson

Agronomy Coordinator

Jordan Johnson, QLF Agronomy Logistics Coordinator

Implementing liquid fertilizer systems with your planter is pivotal to maximizing the productivity of every acre on your farm. Planter applied fertilizer proves to be cost-effective, time-efficient and a sustainable application that ensures the nutrients you are purchasing will be placed where the corn plant can make the most of them. The success of a liquid starter system hinges on three key components: the tank, pump, and distribution system.

The initial step in establishing a planter system is choosing the right-sized tank. Critical questions to consider include the desired liquid application rate per acre, whether the tank will be planter or tractor-mounted, and the preferred frequency of refilling or the acceptable weight to carry. Among the most common choices are 300–500-gallon poly elliptical tanks mounted on the planter frame. Tractor mounted tanks allow for better weight distribution and can reduce the filling frequency.

Today’s corn planters predominantly use four types of pumps: piston pumps, centrifugal pumps, diagram pumps, and roller pumps. These pumps can be ground-driven, electrically-driven, or hydraulically-driven. Assessing your tractor’s hydraulic or electric capabilities is crucial in selecting the most suitable pump. For instance, diagram pumps can run without liquids, while running a centrifugal pump without liquids would quickly compromise its longevity. Centrifugal pumps have the capacity to handle today’s larger planters and speeds but it cost about 5 times more than an electric diagram pump.

Controlling the flow and placement of fertilizer involves various systems. The orifice system, though one of the oldest, has its limitations. This includes the ability to change rates over a range of planting speeds along the filter size need to protect the small orifice. Micro tubing or metering tubes offer greater flexibility and product application rates across different pressures and speeds. Metering tube allows for a much larger filter mesh to protect the flow. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) systems are among the latest technologies, providing precise control down to each row. These systems enable row-by-row shut-off, turn compensation, and a wide range of applications for today’s high-speed planters.

Major manufacturers like CNH, John Deere, Precision Planting, Sure Point, and Ag Excel offer diverse liquid fertilizer systems for planters. If you are contemplating adding liquid fertilizer to your planter or upgrading your existing system, contact a reputable local dealer to explore and understand the systems they offer and service. QLF liquid Fertilizer is capable of being applied through any planter systems you choose. To learn more how QLF can help maximize your corn yields, Contact your local QLF representative.

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