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Michael Prestidge | Nevada Effluent Management Specialist

Review - What's The Best Applicator For Slurry Tankers?

Review - What's The Best Applicator For Slurry Tankers?

One of the key components of your slurry tanker is the spreading applicator.  Where traditionally a splash plate was common place, many dairy farmers now recognise the benefits of more modern applicators, such as a RainWave™, Dribble Bar, Trailing Shoe or Disc Injector unit.

Below we've rated these different slurry tanker applicators based on 12 factors. The overall rating at the bottom is based on their average score.
Applicator
Splash Plate
effluent for crops
RainWave™
RainWave Slurry Tanker
Dribble Bar
effluent for crops
Trailing Shoe
Trailing Shoe
Disc Injector
Disc Injector
Spread Accuracy/Control 

Poor

Excellent

Very Good

Excellent

Excellent

Volitisation 

High

Low

Low

Very Low

Very Low

Wind Drift

Poor

Very Good

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Spread Width

Approx. 8m

Approx. 15-20m

Varies depending on model

Varies depending on model

Narrow

Odour Control

Poor

Good

Good

Very Good

Excellent

Speed

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Average

Poor

Tare Weight

Light

Light

Moderate

Heavy

Very Heavy

Capital Outlay

Minimal

Low

Moderate

High

Very High

Ease Of Use/Skill Requirement

Easy/Very Low

Easy/Very Low

Moderate

High

Expert

Maintenance

Low

Low

Moderate

High

Very High

Graizing Withholding Period

3 Weeks +

Approx. 1 Week

Approx. 1 Week

Approx. 1-3 Days

Immediately

Overall Rating
3.0
4.4
3.4
3.25
2.7

#1 Rainwave™

The Rainwave™ is a unique low pressure applicator.  It has all the benefits of a dribble bar as well as being lower cost, lighter tare weight, and requires less maintenance and skill to operate.  Independent tests prove the volitisation rate of a Rainwave™ is the same as a dribble bar.
Rainwave™
Dribble bar on slurry tanker

#2 Dribble Bar

Dribble bars are relatively easy to operate, and provide accurate effluent application with very little volitisation and virtually no wind drift due to their proximity to the ground.  However as the effluent is placed in evenly spaced bands, this can lead to hot spots upon application which is not favoured by councils.  They require hydraulic functionality, moderate maintenance, and are relatively high in capital outlay.

#3 Trailing Shoe

Trailing shoes are recommended for areas close to urban life, where odour control is critical.  They have significantly less odour than other applicators due to effluent being placed below crop foliage.  This means there is virtually no volitisation or wind drift, and no crop spoiling.  However trailing shoes do have a high capital cost as well as requiring high maintenance and operational skills.  With a heavier tare weight and hydraulic operation, there are also specific tractor requirements to operate.
trailing shoe
effluent for crops

#4 Splash Plate

Splash plates are the cheapest, and most traditional slurry tanker applicator. Today, they are largely superceded by other, better methods of spreading.   Although they are low cost, fast and require very little skill to operate, they are also inaccurate in their application, and have high volitisation rates.  In some European countries, splash plate applicators are banned by councils.

#5 Disc Injector

Disc injectors are the best form of odour control due to the effluent being injected directly into the soil.  This also means cows are able to return to graizing almost immeditately, and there is no volitisation or wind drift.  However these benefits come at a cost.  Injecting directly into the soil runs the risk of leeching. They are also by far the most expensive option with a very high capital outlay, significant maintenance & operator skill requirements, and they are slow - so it will take longer to get the job done.
Disc Injector

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We chose a good, flexible system that helps with labour, and we’re really happy. We’re really proud of it.

Bryce Hunger, Taranaki Dairy Farmer
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