Researchers at Michigan State University recently completed a study of the productivity of 13 manure-hauling systems used by custom applicators in 10 farms in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.

They found that when hauling from nearby storage, two 7,000-gallon tank spreaders were twice as productive as one 7,000-gallon tank spreader working with two 7,000-gallon nurse trucks. When the hauling distance was three miles or more, the productivity of each system was nearly equal. When the nurse trucks and spreader tank were the same size, the spreader worked at full capacity and had no idle time within 1.7 miles of the pit. The hauling capacity was about 27,600 gallons per hour.

Beyond 1.7 miles, the productivity dropped because the tractor-spreader applied manure faster than the nurse trucks delivered it. Additional nurse trucks, about one per mile of distance hauled in this case, were needed to keep the tank spreader working near full capacity as the hauling distance increased.

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