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US4630773: Method and apparatus for spreading fertilizer

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) Earl W. Ortlip ·
Assignee(s) Soil Teq., Inc. ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Merchant, Gould, Smith, Edell, Welter & Schmidt ·
Primary Examiner Andres Kashnikow ·
Assistant Examiner Patrick N. Burkhart ·
Application Number US6827225
Filing date 02/05/1986
Issue date 12/23/1986
Predicted expiration date 11/06/2004
U.S. Classifications 239/1  · 239/11  ·
International Classifications B05B 1700  ·
Kind CodeA
International Classifications 239155;156;656;1;11 ·
Related U.S. Application DataThis is a continaution of application Ser. No. 668,736 filed Nov. 6, 1984, now abandoned.
18 Claims, No Drawings


Abstract

Fertilizer spreading apparatus includes a vehicle carrying a plurality of product bins, each for carrying a fertilizing product. Feeder devices are provided to meter product from the bins which is collected and spread over the field to be fertilized. A computerized control system is provided which holds a digital soil map of the location of various soil types in the field to be fertilized and is responsive to vehicle location means for determining the location of the vehicle in the field, looking up the type of soil the vehicle is currently over based on its location, and adjusting feeder operation in response thereto. The method further includes the steps of acquiring an aerial photograph of the field to provide the digital soil map and for testing the various soil types in the field for fertilizing requirements and inputting the information into the control system whereby product rates may be varied according to the soil type.

Independent Claims | See all claims (18)

  1. 1. Fertilizer blending and spreading apparatus comprising:a vehicle;a plurality of product bins mounted on said vehicle, each of said bins for holding a product to be applied to a field to be fertilized;a plurality of feeder means mounted on said vehicle, each one of said feeder means operative in response to a feeder control signal for dispensing product at a selected dispensing rate from one of said bins;conveying and spreading means mounted on said vehicle for conveying product dispensed from said bins via said feeder means and spreading said product over the ground; andcontrol means operatively connected to said plurality of feeder means for generating said feeder control signals to control the rate of dispensation of each of said products, said control means including:(a) digital soil map means for storing a digital soil map indicating the distribution of different soil types in said field to be fertilized;(b) x-y locator means for indicating the position of said vehicle relative to said field as it moves about said field;(c) speed indicator means for indicating the speed of said vehicle as it moves about said field; and(d) means responsive to said soil map means, said locator means and said speed indicator means for controlling the generation of said feeder control signals by correlating the location of the vehicle in the field to said map and determining the type of soil the vehicle is currently over and adjusting said feeder control signals in response to the determined soil type and the vehicle speed to provide that each of said products can be applied at different rates to different soil types in the field as the vehicle moves about the field.
  2. 12. A fertilizer blending and spreading apparatus comprising:a vehicle;a plurality of product bins mounted on said vehicle, each of said bins for holding a product to be applied, to a field to be fertilized;a plurality of feeder means mounted on said vehicle, each one of said feeder means operative in response to a feeder control signal for dispensing product at a selected dispensing rate from one of said bins;conveying and spreading means mounted on said vehicle for conveying product dispensed from said bins via said feeder means and spreading said product over the ground; andcontrol means operatively connected to said plurality of feeder means for generating said feeder control signals to control the rate of dispensation of each of said products, said control means including:(a) a digital soil map means for holding a soil map indicating the distribution of different soil types in said field to be fertilized;(b) x-y locator means for indicating the position of said vehicle relative to said field as it moves about said field;(c) speed indicator means for indicating the speed of said vehicle as it moves about said field;(d) product location and product rate indicator means for indicating the type of product held in a bin and the desired rate at which each product is to be applied for different soil types in the field; and(e) control means responsive to said soil map means, x-y locator means, speed indicator means and product location and product rate indicator means for controlling the generation of said feeder control signals, said control means including:(i) means for acquiring updated location and speed information from said x-y locator means and said speed indicator means, respectively;(ii) means for determining the type of soil the vehicle is currently over by correlating said vehicle location to said soil map; and(iv) means for repeatedly performing calculations based on the vehicle speed and the desired product rates for the soil type the vehicle is currently over to determine current product dispensing rates for each product being distributed and for producing said feeder control signals in accordance with said determined dispensing rates and the location of said products in said bins so that each of said products is applied to the different soil types in the field at the desired product rate as the vehicle moves about the field.
  3. 14. A method for distributing fertilizer on a field to be fertilized from a distributing vehicle carrying a plurality of products in a plurality of product bins comprising the steps of:(a) providing a digital soil map;(b) determining the x-y location relative to said map of said distributing vehicle in said field;(c) determining the speed of said distributing vehicle;(d) determining from the soil map the type of soil located where said vehicle is located;(e) determining the product rate at which product should be applied to said field based on the type of product and the needs of said soil type determined in step (d); and(f) feeding, conveying and spreadying said products from said product bins at dispensing rates proportionate to said determined product rates and vehicle speed.

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