Fertilisers come in many forms and yet it is often assumed one machine can do it all.
A basic universal spreader can spread all types of fertiliser, but could be costing more.
Jim Jardim, managing director, Inlon, offers advice on buying your next fertiliser spreader.
"A basic universal spreader compromises on spreading widths, consistency, accuracy and metering control," Mr Jardim said.
"This can be an expensive mistake as the International Plant Nutrition Institution said fertilisers are the largest single variable cost for grain producers, making up 15 - 20 per cent of cash costs, or 20-25% of variable costs.
"In fact, the annual expenditure on fertiliser is often more than the value of the spreading machine.
"Consistent spreading leads to efficient fertiliser use, improvement in organic matter and better crop yields, so the machine you choose makes a major contribution to profitability of the crop."
For manure spreading, Mr Jardim recommends a wagon spreader with beaters, discs and a moving floor.
"Beaters break up the clumpy manure into finer pieces, delivering a consistent flow to the dual spreading discs, which are the best method for wide spreading widths," Mrt Jardim said.
"As an example, the Strautmann VS2004 has horizontal beaters and dual discs that spread up to 24 metres.
"It also has an adjustable slurry-door for better metering control.
"It's moving floor has four high tensile chains with the strength to pull through a fully loaded wagon, which saves a lot of travel and reloading time.
"For the contractor, the VS can also be fitted with weigh-scales and ISO Bus controls.
"Strautmann spreaders are made in Germany with a reputation for performance, durability and strength."
Manufactured fertilisers are the most expensive, and Mr Jardim recommends using a machine specifically designed for this application.
"Given that uneven spreading effectively doubles the fertiliser cost because of striping and lost production, it's worth choosing the right spreader," he said.
"Universal spreaders are not good for manufactured fertiliser because high-rpm spreading discs, long-throwing vanes and adjustable drop-points are vital.
"Pick one with a certified spreading consistency.
"Italian-made Agrex has been certified by specialised European testing bodies.
"Adjustable drop-point and vane positions give versatility to spread across a width that matches your traffic lines.
"Buying a spreader that suits your application will save you time and money and increase yields."
Visit: www.strautmann.com.au, www.agrex.com.au or contact: 1800 772 407.