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Fertilizer Spreaders for Farms and Homesteads

Fertilizer spreaders distribute fertilizer evenly on fields, lawns, and beds.

There are two main varieties of fertilizer spreaders:

  1. Drop spreaders
  2. Broadcast/rotary spreaders

A spreader can be used for other granular products like grass seeds and herbicides. It’s also a helpful tool if you want to avoid touching fertilizers or chemicals.


Elements of a fertilizer spreader

There are four essential elements in a spreader, namely:

Hopper

This element lowers the fertilizer machine’s center of gravity and assists in releasing the fertilizer.

Distribution

It refers to the rotating discs or oscillating tubes from which the fertilizer falls from the hopper.

The distribution is operated using a hydraulic motor or the tractor’s power take-off (PTO) stub.

Dispenser

The dispenser determines the amount of fertilizer supplied from the hopper to provide the ideal quantity.

Drive

These are driven through a tractor wheel, the two wheels of the machine, or the PTO.


Recommended reading:

Make Your Own Fertilizer


Different types of fertilizer spreaders

There are two kinds of spreaders you can use to distribute fertilizers or grass seeds over your field:

Drop spreader

A drop spreader is used to meter out fertilizer directly on the lawn. It spreads fertilizer at a consistent speed and direction.

A drop spreader is preferred if you have a lawn with MANY obstacles, such as plant beds.

The product distribution with this type also isn’t affected by the wind, so fewer fertilizers end up cluttering roads or driveways.

A drop spreader is best if:

  • You have a small yard or garden (under 5,000 sq. feet)
  • You want accurate coverage

However, there are disadvantages to using this fertilizer spreader. It takes more time to cover an area, and it can be difficult to find spreader tracks.

Broadcast spreader

Also known as a rotary spreader, this spreader distributes products in different directions in a fan-like pattern.

It covers larger areas at a faster distribution rate. It’s great for large yards with lesser obstacles.

Broadcast spreaders also have greater hopper capacity, which means fewer refills per usage. The walking rate is important because it impacts the product’s distribution.

Choose a broadcast spreader if:

  • You have a large lawn
  • You want more efficient distribution
  • You have no garden in the middle of your yard

One drawback is it distributes products in unwanted spaces, which can be a concern if you use chemicals like pesticides.

“Broadcast Spreader vs Drop Spreader – Which is Better?” by Grass Daddy on YouTube.

What size fertilizer spreader do I need?

Getting the right spreader can prevent you from over-fertilizing your soil or crops and ensure that they get the necessary nutrients.

You must look for a spreader with the appropriate spreader width to match the coverage area.

Lot sizeSpreader Width
Small Lawns (1,500 sq. feet or less)Small Lawns – 1 to 7 feet
Medium Lawns (5,000 ft2 or less)Medium Lawns – 8 to 12 feet
Large Lawns (15,000 ft2 or less)Large Lawns – 15 feet to 20 feet
Lawns with lots of landscapingLawns with lots of landscaping – 6 feet
Guide showcasing lot size vs. needed spreader width on your fertilizer spreader.

The 5 Best Fertilizer Spreaders for Smaller Farms and Homesteads

Thankfully, you don’t need heavy machines. Let’s look at the best spreaders for small yards and homesteads.


1. Agri-Fab 45-0463 Tow Behind Spreader

The Agri-fab 45-0563 fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.
The Agri-fab 45-0563 fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.

The Agri-fab 45-0463 fertilizer spreader is a high-capacity tool capable of broadcast spreading a variety of products for smaller yards.

“Introduction: Agri-Fab 130 lb. Tow Spreader (45-0463)” by Agri-Fab on YouTube.

Even weak tractors can tow it while maintaining enough fertilizer without having to refill.

Unlike other products, it’s equipped with pneumatic tires for better cushioning and traction.

Hitch it behind your tractor and watch it cover up your yard fast with its 12 ft. spread width.

What’s great about this fertilizer spreader is the accessible control system you can modulate right from the tractor seat.

It’s the best tow-behind spreader for small farms and yards!

Pros of Agri-Fab 45-0463

  • Great capacity
  • Fast distribution
  • Accessible control settings
  • Durable

Cons of Agri-Fab 45-0463

  • Limited control settings

2. Brinly 175lb BS36BH Tow Behind Spreader

The Brinly 175lb BS36BH fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.
The Brinly 175lb BS36BH fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.

This Brinly 175lb BS36BH is a robust spreader that you can use for spreading fertilizer over one acre of land.

Its 175 lbs. capacity saves you time on refilling, making it the perfect solution for small farms or larger yards.

“How to Assemble the Brinly BS-26BH and BS-36BH Tow-Behind Broadcast Spreaders” by Brinly-Hardy Company on YouTube.

With Autoflow technology, the spreader automatically stops when you stop your tractor, saving on material and gas.

However, this Brinly spreader is disproportionately heavy on top, which can be challenging to maneuver on uneven ground.

Pros of Brinly 175lb BS36BH

  • High-capacity
  • Multipurpose
  • Ideal for large yards

Cons of Brinly 175lb BS36BH

  • Top-heavy

3. Scotts EdgeGuard DLX Spreader

Scotts EdgeGuard DLX fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.
Scotts EdgeGuard DLX fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.

If you want to fertilize an open ground with the precision of a drop spreader, you can check out Scotts EdgeGuard DLX Spreader.

It has an edge-blocking technology that keeps products off places such as sidewalks or driveways, which means less waste to clean up.

“How To Use Scotts® Turf Builder® Edgeguard® DLX Broadcast Spreader” by Scotts Lawn on YouTube.

This unit has a large hopper capacity that can carry up to 15,000 sq. feet of product for a broader working width.

It also has a precision dial system that allows for ACCURATE coverage. It has 15 settings that can work with other products, not just Scotts fertilizer.

Pros of Scotts EdgeGuard DLX

  • Easy storage
  • Edge Guard technology for precise coverage
  • Large capacity

Cons of Scotts EdgeGuard DLX

  • Flimsy wheels

4. Scotts Classic Drop Spreader

Scotts classic drop spreader for fertilization. Image source: Syndigo.
Scotts classic drop spreader for fertilization. Image source: Syndigo.

This Scotts classic may be easy to use, but it can hold up to 10,000 sq. feet of material.

It gives maximum even coverage with a 22″ drop rate. It has a lower weight than other spreaders on this list, so you won’t have any trouble lugging it around.

This manure spreader has a sturdy build that will last you and your small yard several years.

“Scotts® EvenGreen Drop Spreader – How To Use” by LoveTheGarden on YouTube.

Pros of Scotts Classic Drop Spreader

  • Inexpensive manure spreader
  • Easy-to-use
  • Durable

Cons of Scotts Classic Drop Spreader

  • Not for commercial applications

5. Agri-Fab 45-0530 Tow Behind Spreader

The Agrifab 45-0530 fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.
The Agrifab 45-0530 fertilizer spreader. Image source: Syndigo.

If you’re looking for a unit that gives great value for its price, this Agri-Fab 45-0530 might be for you.

It comes with a smaller hopper that’s more suited for LOW-CAPACITY dispersal.

“Tow Broadcast Spreader 45-05303” by Agri-Fab on YouTube.

You can regulate the flow from your seat with its reachable cable flow control. It’s a compact machinery that only weighs around 17 lbs. for easy storage.

Pros of Agri-Fab 45-0530

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to store
  • Long-lasting

Cons of Agri-Fab 45-0530

  • Smaller hopper

Conclusion

When choosing among the array of spreaders on the market, knowing your yard size is essential to finding the right tool for your needs.

Make sure to invest in high-quality spreaders that can give you a beautiful lawn or farm yard for many years.


FAQ – Fertilizer spreader for farm and homestead

Let’s check out some related questions people ask about fertilizer spreaders.

What is the best small farm fertilizer spreader?

The best fertilizer spreader would depend on the size of your farm lot. We recommend the Brinly BS36BH Tow Behind, a high-capacity machine that works with any light agricultural operation.

Can you spread fertilizer with a seed spreader?

Yes, you can use spreaders to spread other products like seeds, ice melt, or rock salt. However, it’s NOT advisable to mix and spread them simultaneously.

What size spreader do I need?

Spreaders have working widths that determine how much area they can reach per usage. If you know the size of the area you’re treating, you can choose the appropriate tool that can reach that scope. Read the size guide in this post to know the size you need!

Which is better: drop or rotary spreader?

A drop spreader is ideal if you have a small yard, while a rotary spreader is better if you have a large lot.

Is a broadcast spreader the same as a rotary spreader?

Yes, they’re the same thing.

What do numbers mean on fertilizer spreader?

The numbers on spreaders are the different application rates over a specific amount of square footage. The calibration depends on the size of the granules you’re spreading.

By Noah Smith

I'm Noah. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to farming. I really enjoy working our land, especially when I get to fight weeds! I also really like my big truck.

I'm so happy I can share my love for farming and our farm animals with Zoe. It's great that we can wake up to fresh eggs and the sound of bees making honey every day!

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