New Investments Improve Farmer Speed and Profitability
A new dry fertilizer mixer and system is Deerfield Ag Services’ latest investment in improving efficiency and customer service, and it paid dividends this spring when windows for field work were tight for everyone in the area.
“Because of the new mixer and the new Prowler, we’ve been able to get work done in a very small window,” said Luke Wallbrown, Deerfield fertilizer manager. “There was a two-week period where we spread [so much more] than we could have done in the past.”
The timing of these investments – at a cost of about $250,000 – was perfect because of the wettest spring on record. “We would have had to turn away customers without them,” he said. “With this equipment, we were able to do substantially more than we could have done without it.”
Harvey Lutz farms about 2,300 acres on which he contracts Deerfield to custom apply urea and phosphorus. “It’s all about speed in years like this,” Lutz said. “You have to get the job done. In luck of the draw, it worked out that the year we needed it the worst, they had it in place.”
Deerfield began using the new Doyle Mixer and Prowler in March. The mixer can support batches of 20,000 lbs. – more than twice as much as the old system. Everything is automated and run through an iPad application from the cab of the new loader, a Wacker Neuson. With this additional capability, the operator never has to leave the loader. The system also has a conditioner auger, which breaks up large pieces of fertilizer that used to frequently jam the old system. In addition, the process of adding nitrogen stabilizer (Instinct) to the mix is incorporated into the system – a time-consuming process that previously required jugs being added one at a time.
“We have one farmer who gets three batches of about 16,000 lbs. each time he comes in,” said Wallbrown. “Last year, that would have been six batches, so we’ve been able to load him twice as quick.” Another nice change is the ability for Deerfield to begin mixing the next batch while the customer is loading the first. If “time is money,” then the mixer is paying Deerfield and its farmers back already.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2019 edition of Bountiful Magazine.