Manure spreaders play a vital role in the agricultural industry. They're designed to attach to the back of the tractor and be pulled across the field, evenly distributing the manure fertiliser over crops and land. When crops are your livelihood, it's essential to keep the soil rich with nutrients.

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Although manure spreaders are commonly found on farms in Australia, they don't come without their scepticism. If used incorrectly manure spreaders can impact crop nutrient levels negatively, so it's important you understand how the machine works as it can affect your crop growth and nutrient accumulation in the soil.

Manure spreaders have a drag-chain conveyor on the bottom of the container, where the manure is loaded. It is here that the manure moves from the front of the container to the rear, thanks to vibrations and the sloped design of the spreader. Once at the rear, the manure is shredded by a pair of beaters before it is spread using rotating spiral fins. Older machine models were manufactured with horizontal beaters, while some newer models are manufactured using vertical beaters.

How do horizontal or vertical beaters affect your crop and use of the machine? Basically, the type of beater your manure spreader has may impact the distribution system of the machine. If the distribution system is affected, you could see an uneven spread pattern, causing unevenness in the nutrients your crops receive. Thus potentially causing a lower quality yield.

Manure spreaders beaters are important for breaking apart the manure, but the discharge method is just as vital for ensuring even spread. There are 2 main types of discharge: side and rear. The difference might seem straightforward: one distributes from the side of the machine and the other from the rear, but there are a few other components that differ between the two.

For example, a side discharge machine tends to have a slower unloading and often has a more complicated design. Whereas, the rear discharge has a quicker unload and is usually quite simple in design. The rear discharge is the more popular of the two and can be equipped with either a horizontal or vertical beater.

Of course, each machine is different and in newer machines the technology is more advanced. So things like spread pattern, evenness and speed of distribution is generally not a problem. If you are in the market for a manure spreader, make sure you do your research and contact local dealers for more information on any specific makes and models.