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Operational characteristics of four metering systems for agricultural fertilizers and amendments

DOI: 10.1590/S0100-69162009000400010

Keywords: fertilizer metering system, agricultural machinery, granular material.

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Abstract:

the use of fertilizers and solid amendments in agriculture generates special interest for their effect on crop productivity, as well as for their environmental impact. the efficient use of these products demands knowing their physical and mechanical properties, the storing conditions effect and the operational characteristics of the metering systems used in the fertilizing equipment. in this context, the present study was developed with the purpose of evaluating the operational characteristics of different fertilizing metering systems and to determine the adequate metering system-product operational parameters, using powder lime, powder gypsum, granular 10-30-10 (n-p-k), and granular urea. operational differences were established among four types of commercial fertilizer metering systems, including wire auger, star-shaped feed wheel, feed screw and ridged traction wheel. the study found that the unloading rate depends directly on the fertilizer metering system's rotating speed and is affected by particle size, repose angle, bulk density and moisture content of the applied product. the wire auger and star-shaped feed wheel metering systems were adequate for the distribution of powder products and the feed screw for granulated fertilizers. furthermore, theoretical and experimental characteristic equations were established, defining curves for calibration and handling of the products plus the rotating speed range in which a better distributing behavior was achieved.

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