One of the greatest things about summer is yard work. As the heat and humidity rise, so do the plants and flowers. The advent of technology has made seeding and fertilizing, a job that used to take weeks, a job that takes only hours to complete. How can seeding be sped up this way, you say? With an ATV broadcast spreader, of course.
How do you use an ATV spreader? Once the broadcast spreader is attached to the accessory rack of your ATV, fill it with material and begin to drive. The hopper inside rotates, dropping piles of fertilizer or seed onto a platform with fin blades. These blades throw the material as you move forward.
Though it sounds easy, working with an ATV spreader can be daunting for those who have little experience. No worries, keep reading to learn the secrets of broadcast spreading.
How To Operate An ATV Spreader
An ATV spreader can be a bit larger than your old handheld spreader, but the ATV version of the broadcast spreader is straightforward. For earlier models, there would be a hand crank that you would walk down the rows being careful to make an even pattern in seeding. With the ATV versions, the crank is controlled by the wheels’ movement if you have a tow behind. On a mounted ATV spreader, there is a powerful mechanism that churns the material at a set speed.
There are just five steps to do for correct operating of the spreader:
- Check the register
- Do homework
- Speed trials
- Set gate opening
- Trial run
1. Check the register
Ensure that your safety gear is in place before opening any chemicals. Before you can begin with seeding, you must check that the register handle and dump gate are both in sync. With the gate fully closed, the handle must be fully closed as well. This handle control is critical because it will determine how large your spreading area is.
2. Do homework
This one may have sent some cold chills down your spine, but don’t worry about it too much. Doing your homework, when it comes to broadcast spreaders, is just to determine how thick your material is. Spreaders can throw all kinds of content but work best with finely granulated seed and salt.
You wouldn’t think it, but the most important thing to pay attention to is how much the material to be spread weighs. A finer and lighter salt or seed will not be thrown as far. Whereas something to bait a field, like corn, can be set to the largest setting for dispersal.
3. Speed Trials
Another thing that you should make sure of is how fast the ATV will be traveling. The faster it goes, the less coverage you could get. If you don’t have a speedometer on your ATV, see how long it takes you to travel 88 feet.
Speed, combined with the weight of the material, equals how far your coverage area will reach. If you are going 1 mph, you will travel 88 feet in 60 seconds. It isn’t recommended to move faster than 8mph, which means that you cover 88 feet in 8 seconds. The ATV should run fast enough to keep the battery charged, which may mean running at a lower gear.
Once you have the coverage area you want, set that speed and try with all your might to keep it.
4. Set gate opening
Now that all the coverage area problems are ready to go, you need to make sure you aren’t wasting precious seed with an improperly set gate. The main reason for setting the gate opening to a certain level is to see how much material will be used on the job. A great place to start is to pack the feeder with a half bag of fertilizer and see how far it gets you.
5. Trial run
Now that all the levers and gates have been checked for correct operation, it is time to take a test run. Run a couple of passes and see that the:
- Coverage area
- Dump gate
all work well together.
After you have done these steps, it is time to get out there! Maintaining a constant speed and getting the area covered are the most important things. As always, make safety a top priority.
should be used throughout the process.
Best Mounted ATV Spreaders
The ForEverlast spreader is marketed for wildlife feed, but is great for many purposes. It is made from galvanized steel and can be mounted on your ATV or tailgate with little fabrication. There is a hopper restriction that allows for a smaller area to be seeded directly behind the ATV.
When it comes to durability, it is hard to beat a ForEverlast. These things are made of some top-notch galvanized steel that is nearly impervious to the weather and elements. The primary usage for this is as a feeder but can see multipurpose as a salt or fertilizer thrower.
For new users, the Buyers Products All Purpose Spreader is one of our favorites. The 12v motor inside the tank pumps material out at close to 30 feet. That’s a lot! This model is powerful and super easy to connect to the tubular racks on your four-wheeler. It stands vertically and can hold as much as 15 gallons of seed or fertilizer.
The beehive design of this spreader makes it easier to disperse and makes removing obstructions a snap. The ease that this thing attaches to the racks on your ATV will blow your mind. With a couple fly clips, this thing can go in front or back, depending on the job ahead of you.
Another massive galvanized beast of a spreader, the Boss Buck, is made for the long run. It has a wireless controller for the hopper, and all the electricity can be run from the taillights. This one is great for larger areas.
The best thing about this one is the remote control and electrical set up. Though you can’t use both at the same time, there is a lot to be said about a cordless way to dump your material.
The biggest downside of the Boss Buck is its failure to withstand salt. The company suggests that after each use, the hopper should be washed and dried to prevent corrosion. That’s pretty common in the northern states where you get much more snow.
Best ATV Towing Spreaders
When it comes to spreaders, there are two types for the ATV. The mounted kind, typically just called ATV spreaders, and the other king, typically called towing spreaders. Towing Spreaders are much more common with mechanical spreading than the electric ones we know from ATV mounted versions. Below are our favorite towing spreaders.
This is a neat towable model that can haul 7 bushels of material and spread it as quiet as a mouse. This spreader much larger than the mounted units, this one weighs 110lbs before loading. This one also has a more straightforward spreading system that can be repaired easily.
Moving to a large spreader like this one means you can cover tremendous amounts of space, but have a significant offset in price. This spreader is more for the large rancher than the weekend warrior baiting his field for dove season.
If you have seen a tow-behind spreader before, you probably saw the Yard Commander. They have been around for several years and have a distinctive cover that goes over the top of the hopper. They have models that will go behind everything from an average lawn tractor to an industrial combine.
The Yard Commander is powder coated with a thick plastic bucket that will hold around 125lbs of whatever you are working with. That much weight means you can cover over 25,000 square feet with just a single bucket load.