Save time and money while increasing yields – New Amazone fertiliser spreader thrills Mpongwe farmers
The following article was written by Salim Dawood, for ProAgri Zambia Magazine. To read the extract from the magazine in English CLICK HERE.
To read the Afrikaans version published in the ProAfgri South Africa Magazine, CLICK HERE
Besides keeping Zambia abreast of the latest agricultural technological equipment, the new version of the German manufactured Amazone fertiliser spreader has put large smiles on the faces of the farmers using them.
The latest Amazone fertiliser spreader offers high output, precise spreading patterns and consistent application. It is not on the lower end of the price scale, but the farmers do not mind because it pays for itself in no time. Agrivision Zambia, Somawhe Estate in the Mpongwe farming block of the Copperbelt Province was commissioned by former president Dr Kenneth Kaun- da in 1987. The 4 000-hectare farm with a workforce of 170 employees grows soya beans, maize, and wheat. Last December Agrivision Zambia, Somawhe Estate added a second ZG-TS spreader to its fleet and Bruce Robinson, the Crop Protection Manager, does not regret the decision.
“The reason why we have gone with it is its ability to be highly accurate in the field. The more accurate you are with your fertiliser, the less you have to apply and the better your yields are because the more uniform the spread, the better the yield,” he explains.
“The nice thing about these machines is that they are exceptionally reliable; the technology that has gone into it is huge. The working parts have been simplified as well, so lots of technology and work simplification makes breakdowns very minimal. In terms of breakdowns and maintenance on these machines, provided we keep the machines clean and we do not do anything out of their scope, we generally don’t have a problem.”
Robinson says the new machines take under 30 minutes to load, calibrate, and prepare for the field with the push of a few buttons, whereas the older versions took almost three hours. “The older machines never quite get it hundred percent, but with these machines you get it pretty close. If you spread uniformly in the field, you get a uniform grade. And when it is easier to spread, it is easier to manage your crops in general,” he explains. Furthermore, Robinson observes that the technology in the spreaders makes it easier and quicker for the operator to find spreading programmes for various fertilisers.
He believes that despite their cost, the latest Amazone spreaders can pay back their money within a single farming season.”This is our first full season using this. We have not done a cost analysis, but just on the virtue of the uniformity of the crop that has come up compared to the older one, you can see a difference,” he says.
Robinson has some advice for farmers who may not be too keen on getting spreaders: “If they are planning on going for something that suits their pocket in the older range, they are doing themselves an injustice. Find the money and go for something better because in the long run it saves money, it saves time in the field, works more efficiently, and makes them more productive at the end of the day. And this machine will pay for itself within a short time,” he says.
Just next door, Zambeef also has an exciting fleet of its own Amazone spreaders. Like Agrivision Zambia, Somawhe Estate, Zambeef Mpongwe grows soya beans, maize, and wheat on part of its 11 000-hectare farm. Bruno Mweshi, Zambeef’s Mpongwe Arable Farm Manager, says the farm has been using Amazone spreaders since 2016. “The previous machines we used had a lot of parts that needed to be calibrated manually, but with these you simply touch a button to open the gate and change your settings. They are fully computerised and that entails efficiency. It is making our life easier,” Mweshi declares.
“The savings we get on time – the time we save on calibration and applying fertiliser – is a benefit on its own. If we spread our fertilisers at the correct moment, the crop will benefit and at the end of the day the tonnage will improve. Therefore, the cost of the machine cannot be compared to what we are gaining in terms of yield.”
For more information about the ZG-TS 01: