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A Revolution in Fertiliser Application Practices – The origin of the world’s most versatile sprayer: The Tow and Fert

A Revolution in Fertiliser Application Practices – The origin of the world’s most versatile sprayer: The Tow and Fert

In the early 2000s, Metalform, based in Dannevirke, New Zealand, embarked on a journey to revolutionise fertiliser application technology. Initially focusing on aerial application, the company developed innovative solutions that eventually led to the creation of the Tow and Fert system we see today. This ground-based, foliar/liquid fertiliser application method is now transforming agricultural practices across the globe.

The Early Innovations: Aerial Application

Metalform’s initial breakthrough came with the development of a bucket designed for helicopters, allowing for the efficient application of thick suspension fertiliser mixes from the air. Unlike traditional methods using fixed-wing aircraft, this helicopter-based system did not require Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval because it was not permanently attached to the aircraft. Farmers benefited from a 35-meter swath application rate, covering one hectare in approximately 15 seconds.

The original tow and farm aerial system created for fertiliser application by helicopter.

Transition to Ground-Based Solutions

By the mid-2000s, Metalform recognised the potential to extend their innovative fertiliser application methods to ground-based systems. This realisation led to the creation of the Tow and Fert, a versatile tool designed to make advanced fertiliser application accessible to all farmers. The Tow and Fert system aimed to dissolve soluble fertilisers quickly, handle suspensions without blockages, and allow for the mixing of multiple fertiliser products in a single pass

Design and Development of Tow and Fert

The Tow and Fert system was designed with several key objectives in mind:

  • Ease of Use: A tool-less design philosophy for operation and cleaning.
  • Efficiency: The ability to dissolve soluble fertilisers quickly without needing an additional tank.
  • Versatility: The capability to hold fine particle fertilisers in suspension and mix multiple fertiliser products for one-pass application.
  • Innovation: Utilizing energy produced by pumps and agitation combined with specially designed recirculating booms and tank shapes to eliminate blockages.

These innovations led to the development of numerous patented technologies and flow management systems that are now recognized globally.

Commitment to Sustainable Farming

Tow and Fert’s dedication goes beyond robust engineering and technological advancements. Their real passion lies in helping farmers save money on fertilisers, improving animal health, and supporting sustainable farming initiatives. The Tow and Fert system exemplifies this commitment by offering an efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solution for fertiliser application.

The Tow and Fert system represents a significant advancement in fertiliser application technology, making innovative aerial application methods accessible to ground-based farming. By reducing costs, enhancing efficiency, and promoting sustainable practices, Tow and Fert continues to lead the way in agricultural innovation.