Neil from Messick's here today to talk to you a little bit about cone spreaders, a simple spreader that can go behind your tractor on your three-point hitch that would allow you to do things like spread salt or sand, or in my case here today, fertilizer. We're going to be filling the spreader up with some fertilizer, making some passes back and forth here in my yard today, and talk a little bit about some of the features and functions of these spreaders. Maybe we're going to find that one is right behind your tractor.
The spreader that I'm going to be using today is a Landpride FSP 700. Landpride offers these spreaders in three different models, 500, 700, and 1000. Now interestingly enough, doesn't seem to be directly related to the capacity. These are generally rated in how many pounds of material you can put back here in the cone. The smallest FSP 500 will take 350 pounds, this one, 563, or the larger 1000, 673 pounds. Now, the base spreader here itself, the mounting frame, the PTO shaft, the spinner on the bottom are all the same on all of those models. The only real difference is the size of the cone up here on the top, and you're going to want to keep the size of your tractor in mind. There's no sense in having an enormous cone holding all kinds of weight back here on a really small tractor. You're going to want to size these things appropriately. I do not believe Landpride is actually the manufacturer of this thing if we're completely honest. You're going to see a lot of very similar-looking spreaders across a whole lot of different manufacturers. They come out of some factory somewhere in Italy, not 100% sure where. We're always happy with these guys in terms of their pricing and support. These are going to sell anywhere from about the $800 to $1,100 range, depending on the exact capacity of the spreader itself.
One thing you're always going to want to look for in spreaders like this is the spinner element down here at the bottom. This one's going to be stainless steel. You're going to want to avoid the ones that might be painted down there. Because you're usually dealing with salt or fertilizers, things that are corrosive, they will rot and rust out metal really quickly. Having stainless components down here is preferred. They will last longer. The operation of these things is really simple. Depending on how fast you're running your PTO, it's going to vary the speed of that spinner and vary your spreading width. Then, this handle right here is going to operate the gate. Now, by changing the pin right here, you can set the position of how far that gate's going to open. When I want to open and close it here, I'm just going to turn around in the seat, reach behind me here, and grab this lever. You can find variants of these that are going to be hydraulically operated, but it's going to add to the cost significantly for such an inexpensive implement. You're going to find here in the back there's a spreading chart. It gives you things like the amount of pounds per acre that you're going to put down for different materials. Now, this is going to vary depending on your tractor speed and the spreading width of the spreader itself. Speaking personally, I have a hard time going through and dialing these things in an exact amount.
What I tend to do is cut my spread rate in half and then drive in both directions, trying to overlap my passes and cross-hatch them, if you will, to try to get an even spread across my acreage. Rather than looking at these charts and figuring out my pounds per acre, I simply buy enough fertilizer for two acres and then do my best to spread it evenly.
There are several different types of spreaders that you can find for a small tractor like this. This is going to be the least expensive of them but also say the least precise. If you look at Kubota's product category, there's another spreader, their VS series. It would've been sold by Vicon for decades now. That will be a hopper that has a spout in the back that rotates left to right. Those are going to spread things with far more precision than what this does. Just looking at the back here, as I go back and forth, I can see that it wants to throw stuff a lot more off one side than it does off the other.
It's not the most accurate piece. That's part of why I like to do what I was explaining earlier about driving cross hash back and forth with this to try to get a little bit more of an even spread pattern out of it because if I just simply made passes back and forth, I probably are going to end up with some skippers or some lines as I get more material out one side than I do the other. Running implements like this gives you an appreciation of why farmers exist in precision farming technology. This has a throw right here, probably 20 feet as I'm running it right now. As I make my passes back and forth, it's really challenging to know where I've gone and make sure I don't have a skipper or an over-apply. That's where the investment in technology makes this stuff a lot easier. You can see on a screen where you've been so you're not putting down more product than what you need to.
Now, the first time that I did this spreading job, I actually did it with a push spreader. Doing it with this much acreage is a lot of work. You figured you've got a 40-pound spreader, you had 40, 50, 60 pounds of fertilizer inside of it, and pushing that back and forth in the yard is a lot of work. I picked this up as a used piece out of our rental fleet to be able to come out and do this kind of thing. It's a lot handier. It makes the work a lot easier. It does give you a respect every time I do this stuff for like landscape companies that do this stuff regularly. There's a reason why some of their services can be a little pricey sometimes because they're doing hard work. I'd echo the walking back and forth with the push spreader is an enormous amount of work compared to the ease of driving my tractor back and forth with a spreader like this. Anytime that you're done with an implement that uses any kind of fertilizer, you're going to want to take a moment and rinse it off. You notice all the white powder down here around the bottom, that's all excess fertilizer. If left on the metal down here, it will dramatically shorten the lifespan of this implement. Before putting things away, I'm going to rinse off the fertilizer spreader and the back end of my tractor here at the same time. It is just good practice. It will make your equipment last a lot longer.
That's a few things on the cone spreader. Couple things here to keep in mind. We like this thing because it's affordable. We like it because it's really easy to use. It gets a really significant job done with a lot less effort. The thing that we don't care for so much though is its accuracy. We talked before about how hard I feel it is to dial things in using the rate chart. Today, I definitely notice that as I got to the end of the material that was in the cone, the rate slowed down significantly because there's not as much weight pushing down on it forcing it through the gates at the bottom. The rate itself was really inconsistent. For a job like this for say, fertilizer where you could put the rate down low and cross-hatch it a little bit and close is good enough, totally fine. Though if you're spreading high-value products, say you're putting down things like grass seed, there's much better attachments for getting good seed-to-soil contact, for doing it with precision. When you're spreading materials like that that are so expensive and putting it down right matters, this is not the implement for you. For things like fertilizer and salt, I find it totally acceptable. If you're shopping for a piece of equipment and we could help, if you could use a fertilizer spreader or any parts or needs for your machines, give us a call here at Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at Messick's.com.