AGCO Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer of agricultural equipment, now offers a drop tube kit for the RoGator AirMax Precision R1/R2 application system to ensure accurate between-row application of in-season dry granular fertilizer and precise seeding of cover crops into standing row crops.

“Now operators can place granular fertilizer between the rows in-season to feed the crop," says David Fickel, tactical marketing manager for application equipment at AGCO. "This allows operators to follow the 4R’s of nutrient stewardship: the right rate, the right source, the right place, and the right time.”

The tubes direct fertilizer granules below the crop canopy so nutrients don’t get caught in the crop whorls and are able to reach the ground, where they can move into the soil and be taken up by the plant. Air delivers the fertilizer to, and down, the drop tubes, distributing the granules slightly on contact with the soil for optimum distribution and more uniform crop uptake.

Convenient cover-crop seeding plus fertilizer at precise rates

The AirMax Precision system has always been well-suited for broadcast seeding oats, grasses and various cover crops. Now, with the addition of drop tubes, combined with the AirMax R2 independently metered twin bins, operators can seed cover crops between the rows of growing crop and top-dress late-season urea at the same time without blending. For example, it’s possible to apply urea at 150 pounds per acre and seed a low rate of 20 pounds per acre of cover crop in the same pass, thanks to the industry-exclusive UltraSpread low-speed, high-torque radial piston hydraulic motors of the AirMax.

The ability of the UltraSpread motors to control high, low and variable rates accurately comes from the control algorithms that are fed by sensors that provide almost 250% more feedback than previous or competitive systems. This advantage allows the AirMax Precision to adjust more frequently, providing greater overall rate control accuracy and enabling the low-rate conveyor speed needed for precise cover-crop seeding rates. Some customers have reported the ability to set and hold application rates even lower than 20 pounds/acre.

Easy to attach

Available to order through AGCO dealers this fall as an aftermarket kit from AGCO Parts, the drop tubes replace the standard nozzles and attach quickly to the AirMax boom with two clamps. The top and mid-sections of these 3-inch-diameter tubes are smooth, long-lasting grade 304 stainless steel to ensure between-row placement. Flexible tubing connects the two steel sections to allow the tubes to always point toward the ground, while an additional hose section at the bottom is gentle on plants. The kit includes tubes for all 28 outlets, which are spaced at 30 inches off-center across the 70-foot boom. Hydraulic tilt switches on the joystick raise and lower the boom tips as needed to adjust the drop tube position as terrain height changes.

Unprecedented application accuracy

Drop tubes are the latest offering from AGCO to provide unprecedented application accuracy, giving growers the greatest return on their investment in late-season crop nutrients. The AirMax Precision R1/R2 can apply from 20 to 850 pounds of material per acre at 10 mph, with less than 5% variation in rate across the entire width of the boom. TurnLogic turn compensation offers an added level of accuracy and precision placement on headlands and contours. Built for reliability and longer machine life, the AirMax Precision features a stainless steel box, boom and hardware, as well as Heresite hydraulic cooler coating that resists rust and prevents corrosion in the harsh dry fertilizer environment.