The Spikey® tow-behind fresh urine detection and treatment device has passed all tests with flying colours and discussions are now being held with interested parties regarding getting it commercialised. Spikey® has been developed by Geoff Bates and Dr Bert Quin, co-directors of Pastoral Robotics Ltd. The commercial unit will consist of three 2.7 meter – wide units, the outer two of which will fold up for passing through gates and down races. “Dr Quin said that with this 8m total width, running Spikey® over whatever paddocks have been grazed that day (typically 3-10 ha depending on farm size) will take only 20-40 minutes. “It could be done every second day, but you start to lose a bit of effectiveness if you go more than 3 days because some of the urine-urea has converted to ammonium-N’ he said. “The treatment with the ORUN® solution works best – that is, increases the size of the urine patch the most – if the nbpt and gibb acid in the ORUN® are applied in the first one-two days”.
Dr Quin said farmers could adopt either a policy of just using Spikey® in the months when urine deposition was most likely to lead to nitrate leaching later in the year when soils became saturated, or take advantage of the fact that the treatment, by increasing the size of each and every fresh urine patch, provides an estimated minimum increase of 6% DM annually, easily paying for all costs twice over, and use it all year round. “That’s what I would do” says Quin.