Eye-catching ride: Spreader drawing attention

Published 7:41 pm Monday, March 31, 2014

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What in the world is that?
That’s the typical response or something much like it, when people meet the Vector 300 on the roadway.
The Vector 300 is a monster of a truck but not a monster truck that crushes smaller vehicles and not one featured alongside tractor pulls and car-eating robots.
The Vector 300 is commonly called a “spreader” and it’s a huge friend of the farmer and, in turn, a friend to all.
When it’s not out working in the field, the Vector 300 is a traffic stopper at the Goshen Farmers Co-op. And, it’s not just youngsters who find the Vector 300 an amazing machine.
Collin Morris, Goshen Farmers Co-op manager, said the Vector 300 is a quarter million dollar machine that puts fertilizer and lime on the crops that put a jingle in the pockets of the corn, cotton, soybean and peanut farmers who provide food and fiber for the rest of us.
“The Vector 300 does what we call conventional sampling, and it also does variable sampling,” he said. “With conventional sampling, fertilizer is applied to the whole field. Variable sampling puts the fertilizer only where it is needed.
“Some places in the field might not need any fertilizer when another area needs 200 or 300 pounds.”
Morris said a plant can take in only so much fertilizer. When more fertilizer is applied, it’s wasted and so is the farmer’s money.
In the fall, the co-op takes soil samples of a farmer’s field and the samples are analyzed, which provides detailed information about the specific amount of fertilizer or lime that is needed for each section of a field.
Morris said that information is fed into Vector’s computer and the monster machine applies the exact amount needed for each area of the field.
Morris compared the “mind” of the monster machine to a man at a steak and seafood buffet.
“When you’ve eaten all you can eat at a buffet, even if they bring you out a big, ribeye steak, you can’t eat it because you’ve got no place to put it,” he said. “That’s the way the plants are. When they have taken in all the fertilizer they need, there’s no reason to apply more because the plants have nowhere to put it.”
Therefore, the Vector 300 saves farmers money because they aren’t spending money for lime and fertilizer their crops can’t absorb.
The Vector 300 also has the ability to go in the field during the in-crop season.
“Even after we’ve put fertilizer on a field, we can put smaller tires on the spreader during the in-crop season and fertilize again, just where the fertilizer is needed,” Morris said.
Spring is a busy time for the Vector 300 and it’s often seen on the highways. And, it’s good to know that the show-stopping Vector is on its way to do important work for the area farmers who put peanut butter on our sandwiches and boiled peanuts in a bag.