Knowing in advance that I would be attempting something I had never tried, I smartly took a little time off from my regular work schedule and caught a couple of naps during the day. I started churning up the contents of our SlurryStore a few minutes after 6pm and was discharging my first load from the honeywagon by 6:30. Eight hours and twenty loads later, I called it a night at 2:30 am. I actually pulled into my driveway as my father was leaving his to go start milking our cows.
There were several reasons I needed and wanted to spread this way. First of all, one of our recently harvested hay fields needed the fertilizer. Also, our SlurryStore was nearing its storage capacity and needed to be drawn down before we dedicated all of our "non-cow" time and equipment to corn harvest. The only access we have to and from our manure storage involves driving through our loafing barn, so by waiting until evening I gave the cows a chance to clear out and return to the pasture once the temperature had cooled. Finally, I really wanted to test out the demo GPS unit the Alabama Precision Ag team had sent me, and what better way than to use it in the dark?
It worked great! I hit my target of one load (3000-3200 gallons) per acre, and completely covered the area of the field I was attempting to apply on. And, of course, I couldn't have effectively (or safely) applied manure in the dark if not for the unit's lightbar guidance and coverage mapping.
So as of right now, the hay field's bermudagrass is green, the SlurryStore is half-emptied, and I'm buying into the thought that GPS technology is a viable tool for even small dairy farms like mine.