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In-furrow Technology

In-furrow Application Opportunities with Liquid Systems (SA)

  • There are a multitude of farming practices that involve the injection of liquid into the furrow that provide operational efficiency, crop protection, soil improvement and yield improvement benefits
  • Row to Row, Second by Second accuracy is critical for effectiveness when applying fungicides, inoculants, trace elements in furrow
  • Going liquid does not necessarily mean switching to liquid fertilizer
  • Implementation of a quality Liquid Injection system will provide excellent return on investment in a short time frame.

Overview

Liquid Systems (SA) has been building Liquid Injection systems for planters and seeders since 1999. In that time the focus of liquid injection has moved from being focussed on N and P fertilizer application to the injection of a wide range of agricultural chemicals and nutrients.

With the maturing of GPS and mapping technology, soil data collection and analysis, tillage and planting equipment, the future of farming is the development of decision making tools and methodologies that allow farmers to intelligently prescribe seeding regimes that optimise the use of inputs, water and the land.

Precision in-furrow technology and liquid injection will be a key enabling technology, providing the means to deliver liquid products to improve soil conditions and optimise the establishment of healthy crops.

In practical terms for farmers and advisers, there is a vast range of different in-furrow liquid applications that can be started this season that will provide improved yield, crop protection, and operational efficiency improvements. Our customers’ stories will tell you that the return on investment in a precision liquid injection system is normally rapid and potentially huge.

Liquid Injection Applications

Currently known in-furrow liquid injection applications that have been implemented by Liquid Systems (SA) customers are summarised in the table below.

Table 1. Liquid Injection Applications & Benefits
Application Benefits
Liquid Fertilizers Variable rate, multiple product fertilizer application. Provides operational efficiencies compared to spreading or in furrow granular. Reduced risk, $$$ savings from not spreading fertilizers pre sowing.
Micronutrients Apply micronutrient solutions in furrow when seeding. Treat deficiencies or lock up of micronutrients in the soil before they impact crop health. Overcome Herbicide Burden in Soils causing lock-up of micronutrients. $$$ savings from reduced spraying requirements during growing season. $$$ crop yield improvement.
Inoculants for Legumes In furrow, with the seed application of inoculants with water when sowing legumes. Much simpler operation than treating seed prior to sowing. Generally more effective than seed treatments in adverse conditions. Better germination rates than seed treatments. $$$ savings through reduced seed rates required. Increased residual soil nitrogen for follow-on crops.
Fungicides In furrow application of fungicides. Protection of crops against a range of fungal diseases in cereals, oilseeds and cotton. $$$ savings through reduced spraying required throughout the season.
Soil Wetters Apply soil wetters in furrow or surface band at seeding. $$$ yield improvements from improved rainfall harvesting and water use efficiency. Non-wetting soils become viable and productive cropping land.
Soil Conditioners Apply a variety of liquid solutions to improve soil characteristics. Improve soil properties such as water harvesting, structural stability, nutrient availability, nutrient retention, pH and EC.
Nitrogen Stabilisers Addition of nitrogen stabilisers to liquid nitrogen fertilizers injected in furrow. Inhibit loss of N through reduced nitrification and volatilisation. $$$ Savings through reduced nitrogen fertilizer requirement throughout the season.
Insecticides, nematicides In furrow application of pesticides. Protect crops from destructive insects and nematodes.
Multiple Liquids, Varying Soil Depths Independent rate control of multiple liquids, delivered at different locations in the soil profile. Optimise placement of different products to get best usage. Independent rate control of separate liquids delivers input usage efficiencies. Avoid seed toxicity issues by appropriate separation of fertilizers from seed.
Section Control Mapping based section control shuts sections of the planter or seeder on and off to maximise use of land and avoid overlaps. Optimise land use on irregularly shaped paddocks. Increase input efficiency by reducing overlaps and gaps. $$$ savings and yield improvements.
Variable Rate Mapping Use historic map based yield, input application and soil analysis data to define optimised input application maps. Use precision ag systems to deliver inputs as mapped. Optimise return on inputs. $$$ savings.
Direct Injection Directly inject neat chemicals into a main stream Avoid chemical wastage from tank mixing. Overcome some incompatibilities by avoiding tank mixing. Independent rate control of injected chemical provides flexibility and input use efficiency.

 

Importance of Accuracy

The effectiveness of nearly all in-furrow liquid applications is very much dependent on the precision and accuracy of the equipment being used. To ensure every seed(ling) gets the required amount of liquid, in furrow liquids need to be delivered in a continuous stream with even distribution across the rows. Without row to row, second by second accuracy, the furrow is not treated uniformly and plants may suffer from over or under application of product. This can impact germination, plant growth and ultimately crop yields. These impacts may be even more pronounced at the very low application rates that farmers want to achieve at the present time. Natural dispersion of liquid products through the soil cannot be relied on to rectify uneven application by the liquid injection system. Farmers have a tendency to seek out cheaper options or build their own systems, but in most cases this is not economically sound. They will fail to get optimal benefit of their liquid injection regimes due to inaccurate or uneven application and operational issues.

Key Features Required of a Liquid Injection System

To provide effective in-furrow injection of liquid products, a liquid injection system must have the following characteristics:

  • accurate rate control
  • integration with mapping based systems for variable rate control
  • accurate/even distribution on a row to row, second by second basis
  • components made from chemical resistant materials
  • provides tank agitation
  • clean water flush function
  • static testing capability
  • section control capability (as an option)