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XtraBlatt Issue 01-2022

  • Text
  • Xtrablatt
  • Carbon
  • Farmers
  • Machinery
  • Contractors
  • Germany
  • Grassland
  • Slurry
  • Biogas
  • Agricultural
  • Krone

FEATURE 1 2 3 1 The

FEATURE 1 2 3 1 The self-propelled slurry spreader and the tractor-pulled slurry tankers are supplied by the HGV and a tractor fleet. 2 Offering precision, effectiveness and traceability by using advanced technology, contractors offer many advantages for farmers, Patrick Oudehinkel is convinced. 3 The trailing shoe is currently the benchmark in slurry spreading in the region, in particular in grassland and maize stands. wants us to spread slurry right before it starts raining,” says Fritz Oudehinkel whose grassland services also include harrowing and reseeding. Each grassland job is commissioned individually. It is difficult to calculate contracts, Fritz explains. After all, yields differ in every cut so harvesting takes more or less time. Slurry is spread before sowing maize and cereal crops. While traditional slurry tankers with trailing shoe applicators are used on grassland, Oudehinkel use a self-propelled slurry tanker to go into cropland. This is their flagship in the slurry fleet. The threewheeled vehicle is not only efficient, but thanks to its wide tyres and tyre pressure control system it does not put too much pressure on the ground. “This is an important reason why some of our customers book exactly this machine,” Fritz states. The slurry is worked into cropland with the help of 6m compact discs. They also use an 8.7m slurry injector on grassland. SEPARATION ON THE INCREASE To be and remain successful as a contractor for more than half a century, you not only need agricultural expertise, but also entrepreneurial vision. “As a rule, investments are decisions that must be viable for years to come,” Fritz explains. This is especially true for slurry equipment, whereby it’s not just customers’ preferences that have to be considered but also ever stricter legislation. This refers to the precision of application and the timely manner in which the slurry is applied after the cut. In addition, there are the “red zones”, where special conditions apply. “We have a few of these in our service area, too,” Fritz underlines. “So, it’s also on us, the contractors, to support our customers in their efforts of spreading slurry in line with the law.” Among the farmers in Fritz’s service area, the trailing shoe system is currently the measure of all things; however, this has not always been the case. Up until a few years ago, many farmers in the region were sceptical about this technology. The thick sausages of slurry applied to the ground contaminated the forage rather than fertilised the fields. This has fundamentally changed thanks to slurry separation. Fritz explains that the liquid that makes it to the field today is so thin now that the trailing shoe applicator can ensure that the nutrients actually reach the roots. Fritz and his son Patrick have naturally thought long and hard about providing also a slurry separation service, but in the end they decided against it. One reason is that many farmers have meanwhile invested in separation technology themselves, another is the fact that mobile slurry separation is now being offered as a contract service. Given these facts, it would not make sense for us to invest in the technology. At the same time, the widespread use of slurry separation has led to a certain drop in slurry spreading contracts in the region. EFFECTIVE LOGISTICS This said, farmers continue to appreciate the services of professional contractors, especially the efficiency and precision they get from them. “Spreading slurry themselves is only cost effective for farmers if the fields are in close vicinity to the farm,” Fritz explains. By comparison, distances of three, four or more kilometres require logistic concepts that, in Fritz’s opinion, only a contractor can provide. This is what Fritz can indeed provide – the necessary machine fleet and the experience in running the logistics. Alongside the self-propelled slurry tanker, the fleet also boasts two slurry tankers with trailing shoe systems. A transport fleet consisting of four tractor-drawn tankers plus two HGV trailers supply the self-propelled machine and the tankers. Distances of just a few kilometres are covered by the tractor-drawn tankers and the HGVs. “When distances are more than 8km, we find an HGV offers significant advantages in terms of speed,” Patrick Oudehinkel says. For a few years, the contractors also used two containers that were parked up on the edge of the field. “However, we don’t do this anymore,” Fritz explains. The reasons for this were that it was difficult to move the containers whenever they were not completely emptied and the extra effort didn’t really pay off. “Within our business radius, we can set up slurry chains that minimise downtime yet without relying on stores,” Patrick summarises. The Hydro-Trike injects the slurry directly into arable fields. NIR sensors are playing an increasingly important role in slurry spreading. The Oudehinkel contractors have already familiarised themselves with this technology, however they have not yet invested in it. “The cost-benefit ratio is not yet in our favour,” Fritz explains. This, he continues, could change quickly, if for example the measurement results from the sensors are officially recognised by the authorities in the federal state of Lower Saxony. Then they would use NIR technology replacement of manual slurry sampling. “In such a case, the demand would increase and we would promptly invest in the costly technology,” Fritz states. Slurry technology remains a challenge for contractors like Fritz and Patrick Oudehinkel. Challenges that they have up until now mastered with the necessary entrepreneurial vision, and challenges they will continue to master. « 28 29