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production rates

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by crazymike, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 452

    I'm pricing a job out that has about 40 acres of grass. It's for the most part, all manicured.

    Part of the scope requires it to be fertilized at least once per season, then as needed.

    It's a 2 year contract so I plan on pricing in at least two applications.

    I will most likely go with a 30-5-5 as that's what the local sod farm suggests for good growth.

    The contract is also based on two cuts per month during the summer, then as needed (extra $$). So it's in my best interest to have the grass growing at it's best.

    Question is, what's the best way to spread this much and where can I find production rates?

    I was thinking of going with the lesco ride on. However, it's a large investment and only spreads at 100000 sq/ft an hour - That's still 20 man hours.

    I've checked out the earthway electric spreaders and can mount one on a UTV. They also hold 250lbs. But I can't find production info on their website. I have no idea how much they can cover an hour.

    Subbing out might be an option too. A good portion is wide open. A bit of slope work and a bit of a treed area.

    Finally, this is the most I've had to take on. I'm terrified something will go wrong and I burn the grass or something disastrous. What type of things should I watch out for?

    I will get a soil test first unless people suggest different.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,056

    "As needed" is too vague. Who decides if fert is needed? Payer or payee? And you do not have the proper equipment. This is a tractor and Vicon spreader job.

    Possibly you could use the ATV spreader at 6 mph. That would be 528 feet per minute. At 10 feet wide 5280 sqft per minute. About 5.5 hours to cover the footage. If a bag covers 17, 000 sqft. And if it actually held 5 bags (and if your ATV could handle the weight) you would have to fill up after 16 minutes. And drive back to the truck. I estimate 20 refill trips. At 10 minutes each that is about 3 hours and 20 mintes just to refill.

    What happens if spinner motor dies or the batt runs dead? Rain? Allow for problems.
  3. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 452

    The scope says Fertilizer should be used on as-needed basis, but no less than once per year. Maintain a lush green appearance

    The manager I talked to told me it was spring/fall. I will be clarifying this.

    I have access to a small tractor with a 3PH and can get a vicon spreader for about $1400 used. I suppose this is my best option as I can use it on other jobs.

    What about a tow behind ground driven spreader? Can these be calibrated to do a decent job or no?

    Something like this, but in better condition
  4. CircleC

    CircleC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NW
    Messages: 309

    Do you have any expierance doing this kind of application? If not sub it out, you don't have to worry about it. You don't seem to have the proper equipment to do it...sub it out. You could easily buy the fert and have someone put it down.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,056

    Not to be negative--BUT--what happens if you get an uneven application--green streaks? Does that mean you have to reapply the whole job--before you get paid?
    What about irregular starts and stops--be careful of small fert spills. Calibrate Vicon in advance somehow. Tow-behind spreader should work. Calibrate so its even and you do not apply too much. Maybe a salt spreader and truck would work.

    Rent the Vicon or tow-behind spreader if you can. There must be someone who has one that doesn't use it much.

    Ontario...so you cannot use herbicides. What about weeds?

    Is the area irrigated? Or is this most likely doable only during moist periods?

    Do you have to mow the area? Need slow release nitrogen if so. (and a big mower.)
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,137

    OP, your questions lead us to believe this job is beyond your scope.
    I would turn it down for now and focus on smaller customers.
  7. CircleC

    CircleC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NW
    Messages: 309

    No sure if this helps....I have seen JARCO electric spreaders on the front of Walkers, Z-turns, and an old Explorer. I think the hopper is around a 100 pounds. You can cover a lot of ground with it/spread a lot of fert. You just have to calibrate it properly with spread width and ground speed.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 452

    this is what I'm thinking. I don't have experience fertilizing acres of grass. Hay, farm land, yes. Not grass though.
  9. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 452

    The job is not out of my scope. This part of the contract is.

    That is part of doing business. If you come across something out of your scope you learn what it takes to be done and decide whether you try it, or sub it out.

    I build lots of patios, stairs, retaining walls. I'm not a welder. I've yet to turn down a job because it was spec'd to have a railing, I sub that part out.

    If I turned down every bit of work in my life because a small portion of a large contract is something I don't do - I wouldn't have any work at all.

    But if I don't learn the production rates, what equipment is involved, etc... I can't go about hiring the right qualified sub contractor.
  10. Hineline

    Hineline LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    It could be done with an electric spreader but you would have to stage the product in an efficient way so you didn't have to drive back and forth so much. Or if you have some help and a utility vehicle you could work that way. Use trees and landmarks to define areas and slowly work your way through the property. The best fertilizer to use once a year IMHO would be IBDU 31-0-0 90% WIN. You could apply up to a 2 lb rate at one time. It would last 90 days with daily precipitation but if there is a dry spell the product shuts down and waits for more rain. Very low volatility.

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