Precision right from the start
Interview with Burkhard Verhülsdonk, inventor of dribble bar technology

When Vogelsang invented dribble bar technology in 1980, it became possible for the first time to use liquid manure – which contains valuable nutrients – in a truly economical manner and to spread it in an environmentally friendly way. Precision distribution and spreading played a central role. We talked about this with the inventor of dribble bar technology himself, Burkhard Verhülsdonk.

Think Red!: Mr. Verhülsdonk, why was new spreading technology needed back then?
Burkhard Verhülsdonk: Until the 1980s, liquid manure was usually spread using a splash plate by both vacuum tankers and pump tankers. It was simple and cheap. However, external factors such as wind had a huge impact on the reliability of this spreading technology. A crosswind, for example, reduced distribution accuracy. In addition, the leaves of the plants showed corrosion due to the liquid manure as they continued to grow. I like to remember the saying of Dr. Hoffmann (Oldenburg Chamber  of Agriculture): “We must give the plant the nutrients in its mouth.” Of course, the mouth of the plant is its root. For this reason, the Chambers of Agriculture were looking for better procedures. The idea of the dribble bar system was born.

What role did precision play in the development of the new spreading technology?
Precision and the exact interaction of the individual components were a decisive factor in the development of the near-ground spreading technology. This is why we developed the DosiMat, a precision distributor that distributes the liquid manure evenly to the connected hoses. The built-in cutter made short work of even fibrous materials, making blockages rare. Nevertheless, it was possible to spread liquid manure accurately up to a working width of 12 meters back then. Regular measurements attested to the unsurpassed uniformity of wide distribution. Competitive products, such as manifold bars with several nozzle manifolds, did not come close to our accuracy.

” Precision and the exact interaction of the individual components were a decisive factor in the development of the near-ground spreading technology.”
Burkhard Verhülsdonk, inventor of dribble bar technology

Over time, the requirements for liquid manure spreading technology have become more stringent, also due to environmental pollution. How has this influenced the further development of dribble bar technology?
In the further development of technologies, precision is more important than ever – from both an environmental as well as economic point of view. Thanks to innovative technologies such as the ExaCut series of precision distributors, the liquid manure is now distributed just as precisely and evenly over a working width of 36 meters as it was over 12 meters 40 years ago. Needs-based fertilization is a key concept here. If farmers know the nutrient content of the liquid manure in each barrel used for spreading and the requirements of the respective area to be fertilized (depending on the nutrient requirements of the plants and the soil conditions), today’s systems enable the valuable liquid manure to be used as natural fertilizer, just like inorganic fertilizer.

Many thanks for the interview!