Testing an online spread pattern determination sensor on a broadcast fertilizer spreader

Tony E. Grift, Jan Willem Hofstee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An alternative method for fertilizer spread pattern determination was developed based on predicting where individual fertilizer particles land on the ground, in contrast to the traditional method of collecting the particles in bins (ASAE Standard S341.2). A small broadcast granular fertilizer spreader (Lowery 300) was equipped with an optical sensor designed to measure the velocity and diameter of individual fertilizer particles shortly after they leave the impeller disc. The measured velocity and diameter of individual particles were input into a ballistic model that predicted where particles land on the ground. A total of over 1000 landing spots revealed the spread pattern. The results have shown that the optical sensor is capable of automatically determining the spread pattern of a fertilizer spreader on the fly. The sensor could be a key component in the development of uniformity-controlled fertilizer application systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-567
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • ASAE Standard S 341.2
  • Calibration
  • Granular fertilizer
  • Optical sensor
  • Spread pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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