Guelph ON - David and Roger Buurma’s patience and ingenuity in the shop to perfect a low-cost solution for side-dressing nitrogen in corn has won them the 2021 Don Hill Legacy Award.
The Lambton County grain farmers have perfected an easy-to-use rubber hose dropping system that enables efficient, accurate nitrogen delivery into a taller corn canopy using the 120-foot boom on their self-propelled sprayer.
The award is given annually by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to recognize a recipient who has applied on-farm innovation and ingenuity to effectively address an identified environmental risk associated with soil, water, air, or biodiversity on their farm.
“This innovation reflects the spirit of the Don Hill Legacy Award - it’s a simple, low cost and effective solution to an environmental challenge on the farm,” says OSCIA President Chad Anderson. “Don had a passion for the Environmental Farm Plan and its ability to enable on-farm innovation and problemsolving.”
The Buurmas picked up on work their father had started with streaming Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) 28% onto corn using a self-propelled sprayer after having had good results with the technique in his wheat crop. They needed a solution to avoid crop damage from the liquid fertilizer splashing onto the plants and minimize nitrogen loss into the atmosphere through volatilization.
They mounted rubber hosing onto the spray nozzles of their 120-ft boom sprayer and dragging these over the soil into taller corn. The sprayer’s GPS unit ensures accuracy and at a travel speed of five to eight miles per hour, applications can be finished quickly and precisely.
Travelling up and down fewer rows in each field at a faster speed using their sprayer means they’re finishing up their nitrogen application about 75% faster compared to using the standard, pull-type sidedress equipment. The total cost of their sprayer retrofit was approximately $400.
The Don Hill Award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, was established in 2019 in memory of past OSCIA president Don Hill. Hill was passionate about the Environmental Farm Plan and finding simple yet creative solutions to environmental challenges faced on the farm. Source : OSCIA