New manure injector leaves ground smoother Tractor time creates opportunities to think. Mick Zoske used that time to think up a better manure injection method.

Zoske, Hubbard, IA, is the brains behind a new injector that creates minimal disturbance of crop residue and leaves fields smoother than other injectors.

He patented his invention, called the TSS 101, and is co-owner of a company that will build and market it.

Here's how it works: Double coulters in front of the 2"-wide spring-loaded shank cut residue in 8" pieces, allowing the residue to pass by the shank. Rotary hoe wheels beside the shank keep soil inside the trench where the manure is applied, and two trailing residue manager wheels push soil and residue back over the trench.

Zoske, a junior at Iowa State University, helps his father, Paul, farm 1,000 acres and raise 6,000 hogs. They've hired a custom operator to haul and inject their hog manure since 1993. But the injector left fields rough, and broken-up crop residue caused "a "tremendous amount of wind erosion," says Zoske.

Worse, the Zoskes feared the old injection system would result in severe water erosion on their 200 acres of highly erodible land. So they didn't have manure injected on those fields, which were badly in need of added fertility.

Zoske, who has worked for their custom manure hauler for the past three years, thought up the TSS 101 idea while injecting manure for other farmers.

He enlisted the help of Richard Winter, owner of a local trailer business, to build a one-row prototype. In addition to addressing the erosion control and field smoothness issues, Zoske and Winter wanted to build an injector that was easy on equipment. So they added a pivot point.

"One of the complaints a lot of guys had before we started building these was they'd like to see one of these turn. We got it to work," Zoske says. "The guys love it. As soon as they see the pivot, their first comment is `every one of them should be that way.'"

Larry Hindman, Radcliffe, IA, likes the field smoothness feature of the new injector attachment. In previous years, Hindman had to level his fields before applying chemicals. Last fall he had half his injecting done with the TSS 101 and the other half with another injector.

"There's just no comparison," Hindman says. "The new attachment is going to save us a lot of work and give us some erosion control. The soil is virtually undisturbed."

That was verified in field trials headed by Mark Hanna, an Iowa State ag engineer. The tests measured residue count and soil disturbance from the TSS 101 and two other injection systems. The new injector's soil surface height after injection was 2.75" or less while numbers for the other two models ranged from 3.25" to 5".

"I think it went through the field with considerably less disturbance and the numbers show that," Hanna says.

Winske, Inc., Zoske and Winter's company, has already rejected offers to buy the patent on the new injector. Instead, they plan to build and market the injectors themselves. For more details, contact Winske, Inc. at 641-640-0754 or 641 864-3275.