At this year’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, some of the attention-grabbing innovations included two new autonomous-concept tractors and the Tribine, a harvesting machine with a 1,000-bushel grain tank capacity and capable of unloading at a rate of more than 500 bushels per minute

But there were also several new product releases tied to improving fertilizer application efficiency and placement. Kuhn Krause unveiled a new precision fertilizer spreader, the Axcent 100.1, which allows for application of a variety of dry fertilizers, including urea and lime, on 120-foot widths, along with cover crop seeding capabilities.

According to Ryan Pearcy, product manager for Kuhn Krause, the typical North American spinner spreader measures at about 9-10% inefficiency — which equates to 9-10% misapplication of material. Using a toque sensor system on the Axcent, Pearcy says, they can get to 2% or less misapplication.

John Deere also debuted its new ExactApply intelligent nozzle control system. Available starting in 2018 on the manufacturer’s 4 series sprayers, the system automatically varies application rates and is compatible with all boom sizes equipped with stainless steel plumbing.

An industry exclusive feature is 30-hertz nozzle pulse width modulation, which allows farmers to increase their coverage pattern, which can help combat chemical-resistant weeds, says Elydia Thomas, product manager.

Talking with different strip-till manufacturers at the show, many weren’t surprised by the slew of new products designed to improve fertilizer application efficiencies, especially given the current ag market.

“There are voids in the market and one of those is with efficiency of fertilizer application,” says Andy Thompson with Yetter Mfg. “But right now, with the way our farm economy is, I think the biggest ‘don’t’ is, don’t always do what you’ve always done. Strip-till allows for that flexibility to make changes.”

Whether this involves moving away from fall-applied anhydrous or split-applied nitrogen — two suggestions offered by strip-till manufacturers at the Farm Progress Show — the end goal is to capitalize on the maximum benefit of applied nutrients.

This message was conveyed in nearly every conversation I had with companies and strip-tillers, and one I expect to continue hearing in the future.

What is one fertilizer application technique you hope to incorporate into your strip-till operation in the coming year? Share your insights with me at (262) 777-2441, or send me an email at