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ALDA – One of the oldest names in Beatrice manufacturing has been on something of a hot streak for the last year, and company officials have no plans to slow down.

Dempsters Manufacturing is starting production on a fall run of spreaders, its third line produced since last year.

Earlier this year the company ramped up promotion of its AlleyCat line of recycling trailers, leading to the full repayment of a $110,000 loan from the city of Beatrice in LB840 economic development funds.

This week during central Nebraska’s annual Husker Harvest Days ag expo, Dempsters unveiled its latest product, aiming to save farmers on fertilizer costs.

“We’re going to have the most technologically advanced spreader there is on the market right now,” said Dempsters owner Ryan Mitchell. “This is a variable-rate spreader, so it’s using the same great existing, proven technology for 50 years and the longest lasting spreader.”

Dempsters’ latest spreader utilizes GPS technology to map a farmer’s fields. This allows areas in need to receive more fertilizer, while less is spread in areas with adequate soil tests.

“You don’t have to spread the same amount of fertilizer on all areas,” Mitchell explained. “By grid plotting maps, if one side needs more, that can make a big difference to be able to save fertilizer in different areas. You can save thousands over a few years.”

Mitchell said a spreader equipped with the technology will cost around $25,000, depending on the desired options.

The equipment consists of a computer box at the front of the spreader mated with a specialized gear box at the back. The setup is compatible with GPS-equipped tractors.

There’s currently not an option to add the equipment to an existing spreader, though Mitchell said a retrofitting kit may be developed.

Jerry Anderson, agricultural and commercial salesperson with Dempsters, was on location at Husker Harvest Days Tuesday to explain how the new equipment can benefit their operation.

“The farmer gets a zip drive that shows them the application rates for the material they’re going to apply,” he explained. “As you make your pass, it meters it out at the correct rate for that section of land, so you cut down a lot on fertilizer usage per acre.

“They can bring the soil to the correct pH and balance for nutrients without waste.”

The new equipment was unveiled Tuesday and went on sale Wednesday, after more than two years of development.

“Everyone said to us, 'you need to do this and you’ll knock out the competition,'” Mitchell said. “We’re very excited about it.”

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Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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