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Sidedressing solutions

Agriculture.com Staff 04/12/2007 @ 2:29pm

Allen Berry likes narrow rows. For several years the Nauvoo, Illinois, farmer raised corn in 15-inch rows. But he also likes sidedressing.

"It's a more efficient agronomic, economic and environmental use of nitrogen," he says.

The two practices aren't completely compatible, but last year Berry reached a compromise. He planted corn in 20-inch rows with a 24-row (40-foot) planter. Then he built the 24-row sidedress applicator shown here out of a used cultivator.

One of the biggest challenges was getting tractor tires that would fit between rows of corn that are just 20 inches apart. Right after these photos were taken with a different tractor, Berry outfitted an IH 856 tractor with 320/90R46 Titan tires. They're approximately 13 inches wide.

Berry mounted a 1,260-gallon stainless steel tank salvaged from a Big A on a new Pequa running gear. That gear, designed to carry an NH3 tank, runs on 10.00x20 truck tires.

A ground-driven John Blue pump, mounted on the running gear, propels the nitrogen from the tank to Yetter coulters with stainless steel spring tubes and solid stream nozzles. An electric shutoff from a Kinze planter disengages the pump drive.

Berry typically applies 120 pounds of nitrogen (about 35 gallons) with the sidedress rig. But that is the fourth application of the season. In the fall or winter, he applies 12 to 15 pounds in a strip with P&K. He applies another 15 pounds with the planter an inch below the seed and an inch to the side. Plus, he applies 30 pounds as part of a preemergence weed-and-feed application.

Allen Berry likes narrow rows. For several years the Nauvoo, Illinois, farmer raised corn in 15-inch rows. But he also likes sidedressing.

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