Randy Price, LSU AgCenter engineer, is working on an efficient calibration system for granular applicators.
“We’re trying to create a system that measures dry material spreader systems in real time,” he said.
He said that both an impact plate system and an optical fiber system are in the works, but both need fine-tuning.
“Currently, the optical system works the best but may be harder to move and use,” he said. “The impact plate system is not as accurate but much easier to move around the flight line.”
Both systems have been extensively tested in the laboratory but will now be tested in the field to obtain real-world attributes.
The previous method of measuring the accuracy of spreaders in ground rigs and airplanes relied on capturing the seed or granules of fertilizer with multiple collectors during a pass. The system required several workers and the collection of multiple vials of material, which had to be weighed individually.
The new system uses either metal plates rigged with accelerometers or an optical system to count individual pellets of fertilizer or rice seed.
“These systems will greatly improve the testing of dry spreader systems by allowing multiple passes to be made at a faster rate, allowing quick data collection.
The goal is to get a more uniform, even coverage, much like a shotgun is tested for its pattern, but factors such as the wind gusts and plane aerodynamics can interfere with that. “Things do happen out in the field that we can’t explain,” Price said.
This article was published in the 2015 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture