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• Working with Weldon, N.C., farmer Ellis Taylor, Daniel Fowler has developed a set of GPS-driven, computer generated maps that provide data that allows the North Carolina farmer to put varying rates of fertilizer exactly where it’s needed most.
HIGH TECH on the go is a way of professional life for Weldon, N.C., Crop Consultant Daniel Fowler.
“And, we’re right beside a river, and I like to have nitrogen under the ground, not on it. I’d seen an article in Farm Press where some growers had converted the KBH nitrogen rig over to a variable rate rig. So, I approached Daniel to look into some ways to do something similar on our farm,” Taylor says.
“We went variable rate with the fertilizer spreader truck. Ellis takes his computer out of the spreader truck and puts into his tractor. He has rigged up a pump to allow him to variable rate liquid nitrogen. “We don’t get much triple super(triple super phosphate, analysis, 0-45-0, is highly effective in eliminating phosphorus deficiencies in most crops, under most soil conditions) in our area. The most common fertilizer blend used in the area is DAP,” Fowler explains.
DAP fertilizer is a combination of phosphate rock and sulfuric acid, which is combined to form phosphoric acid, which is then mixed with ammonia to produce DAP, a dry granular product. Typical DAP blends are composed of 46 percent phosphorus and 18 percent nitrogen.
“In areas in which we need phosphorous beyond what the soil gets with a starter fertilizer, we apply DAP. In the past, the nitrogen component has been in excess. Now, we are taking some of that N and putting less in the top-dress in zones that need more nitrogen. If we have a sandy spot in the field, we are able to add some nitrogen to that area.
“Conversely, Mush Island is prone to producing too much growth. In areas of the field in which we are prone to get more rank growth, we can take N away from that zone,” Fowler explains.
All these benefits came about because the grower wanted to put more nitrogen under his pivot than outside his pivot. Technology provided an outlet for him to do that and more.
“I came out here with a hand-held computer and marked the center of the pivot to the outside of the pivot and under the end-row gun. He told me how many feet the end-gun would throw water. So, we are now able to put a target rate of nitrogen for the season under the pivot, a target rate of nitrogen under the end-row gun and a target rate outside the pivot,” Fowler says.
“I’m fortunate to be working with a grower like Ellis. He’s very technology oriented and always wants to try new things that will make his operation run a little smoother. I work with him on all his crops,” he adds.
“Daniel is giving me a prescription file for fertilizer. My family has been in the cotton ginning and fertilizer business for a long time, so I have a fertilizer house.