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When should you use an agitator for your spreader?

An even distribution is important when spreading fertilizer, but can be difficult with those powdery fertilizers that tend to clump. The good news is that all you need to fix that is an agitator. 

Michael Connell

3 min read There comes a point in most turf management programs where you need your spreader to distribute powdery/clumpy fertilizers, lime or sand. Sure, no problem – right? It sounds easy enough, but these applications all share the same tendency; clumping and bridging. The end result is often operator frustration and ultimately, uneven distribution, which may go unnoticed until it’s too late.

The good news is all you may need is an agitator. Available for all Lely spreader models, the Lely agitator aids in the dispersion of powdery/clumpy fertilizers, lime or sand by reducing the risk of material bridging. The Lely agitator helps to loosen the fertilizer and aids in material flow, allowing a more consistent output. It is important to note the complete agitator should NOT be used when spreading granular fertilizer as this will pulverize the granules. This in turn, negatively affects the output pattern and rate. An additional benefit of the Lely agitator is the ability to disassemble the agitator and use only the base to help eliminate clumps in granular fertilizer. We do recommend you never run your agitator when the machine is empty as this can damage not only your agitator, but also the machine. 

 

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The Lely agitator is easy to install; you simply place the agitator
base over the 
top of the output shaft and twist clockwise to lock
into 
place. No tools needed. 

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By pulling the pin
 at the top of the shaft you can break down 
the agitator into four  
parts, including the base.

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You can then put the 
base in the machine by itself to offer a
less 
aggressive agitation method for granulated materials.

If you are using an agitator, be sure you are cleaning it at the end of each day by disassembling and cleaning with fresh water. This is also a good time to thoroughly clean your entire spreader to keep it in top working condition. After cleaning the agitator and machine, be sure everything is allowed to air-dry thoroughly before storage. It pays to be particularly vigilant about this, not only when using fertilizer, but also when you are using rock salt and ice melt in the spreader. These materials can lead to severe corrosion and cause future mechanical problems with your spreader.

Maintenance should include moving the agitator assembly by hand and watching for wobbling or uneven movement. Periodically checking for loose screws and bolts is important, particularly if the agitator seems unstable as the motion of the spreader and the movement of the agitator can work those bolts loose over time. Tighten those loose pieces as needed while examining the agitator assembly.

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