How to Maintain a Manure Spreader
The key to proper maintenance of a manure spreader is in keeping it calibrated. Calibrating a spreader is essentially determining the capacity of your spreader and how much manure is needed to cover a specific area. There are plenty of ways to properly calibrate a manure spreader, depending on how much information you have regarding spreader capacity, however we will take a look at a basic method of calibrating your spreader.
Step 1 – Weigh Sheets And Buckets
Weigh the combined weight of 1 sheet and 1 bucket when empty. If your sheets and buckets aren’t identical, pair up each sheet and bucket, and measure each one. Be sure that the bucket and sheet measured together remain together later.
Step 2 – Lay Out Sheets
Lay your sheets out evenly so that they cover roughly the spread of your manure spreader, making sure that they are flat and even. Secure the edges with stones or some other heavy object.
Step 3 – Spread Manure
Drive your spreader and discharge the manure over the sheets at the same speed and rate you would normally take. Make note of what gear you’re in, engine RPM’s and any spreader settings. Be sure that you mimic all these settings every time you operate your manure spreader, otherwise your calibrations will be off.
Step 4 – Inspect Spread
Check out how your manure was spread out across the plastic sheets. The manure should be evenly spread, just as you would want it in your field.
Step 5 – Weigh The Manure
If you are happy with the spread of your manure, start gathering up your sheets. Start at the corners, folding them in on themselves, and make sure that no manure falls out or is otherwise lost. Place the manure with the sheets into the buckets that you weighed earlier and weigh them on the scale one by one.
Step 6 – Do The Math
First, for each bucket and sheet pair, subtract the weight of the bucket and sheet alone from the total you just measured with the manure. Then, for more accuracy, average together the weight of all your manure. You do this by adding all of their weights together, then dividing by the number of buckets. The number you get should be somewhere between the highest and lowest weight of your manure buckets.
If you want to know how much manure you’ll need to cover an entire acre, multiply by 20, as there are 20 sets of 22 feet in an acre (an acre is about 440 square feet). If you know the exact number acres your field is, multiply by 20 and again by the number of acres.
Other maintenance of your manure spreader includes emptying and cleaning after every use. Failure to empty or clean it may cause your spreader to get clogged up and will only become harder to empty and clean later. If spraying down with water for cleaning, be sure to be thorough as wet clumps remaining can also clog the system up. Regular lubrication of metal moving components is also highly important.