Bourgault Mid Row Bander™ Fertilizer Applicators

MRB®III Fertilizer Application SystemBourgault Fertilizer Applicators


Serving Producers For 25 Years

Since its introduction in 1996, thousands of Bourgault seeding systems equipped with MRB® Fertilizer Applicators have helped Producers realize the best possible start for their crops, both in good and in challenging years.

With the ability to deliver optimal seed-to-fertilizer placement in the widest range of soil conditions, Bourgault Mid Row Bander® Fertilizer Applicators have revolutionized the practice of one-pass seeding in small grain operations.

MRB® Fertilizer Applicators - How They Work

Nitrogen fertilizer is placed between every other seed row.

One-Pass Seeding is Safely Achieved

  • Fertilizer is delivered with a separate distribution system to the Mid Row Bander® Fertilizer Applicators mounted on the front row of the drill.
  • The MRBs® (red arrows) are positioned between every two seed openers (green arrows).
  • Enough fertilizer for the two rows are delivered by each MRB® Fertilizer Applicator.
  • Safe amounts of starter fertilizer can be metered with the seed for immediate access.

If rates of starter fertilizer beyond what can safely be placed with the seed are required, rates can be split to include some starter fertilizer being placed in the mid row band.

This approach takes best advantage of the nitrification process, necessary for making the nutrients accessible to the plants.


The Nitrification Process

All urea based fertilizers (46-0-0 and 28-0-0) begin conversion to plant available forms in the presence of the urease enzyme, which first converts urea to NH3. Bacteria then drive the process of nitrification, which ultimately leads to nitrate; nitrate facilitates plant growth. Mid row placement of the crop’s main nitrogen requirements is the optimum location for eliminating the risks involved with too close seed/fertilizer proximity and facilitating timely access to nitrate for the developing plant.

Nitrification - The first step involves conversion to ammonia.

Step 1 - Ammonia

Ammonia (NH3 shown red) is initially released by ammonia and urea based fertilizer after it is applied. In this form, the fertilizer is dangerous to nearby seeds for two reasons:

  1. Ammonia is very toxic to all living things;
  2. Ammonia has a strong affinity for water, and will outcompete any nearby seeds for moisture.

These effects tend to magnify when available ground moisture is scarce. 

With mid row placement of the bulk of nitrogen fertiliser, each seed has access to adequate nutrients for germination and early seedling growth within its own shell, the surrounding soil, and with started fertilizer placed in the seed row.

Step 2 - Ionic hydrogen transfer from water and clay particles convert ammonia to ammonium (NH4+)

Step 2 - Ammonium

Ionic hydrogen transfer from water and clay particles convert ammonia to ammonium (NH4+ shown orange). Ammonium dissolves in soil water and can be absorbed by roots for plant growth. Ammonium is not very mobile in the soil, as it can be attracted to clay and organic matter. The rate of conversion to plant available nitrogen occurs very quickly, with access from the mid row band to the seedling roots within 2 days.

Step 3 - Certain bacteria in the soil will convert ammonium (NH4+) to nitrate.

Step 3 - Nitrate

Certain bacteria in the soil will convert ammonium (NH4+) to nitrate (NO3- shown green). Nitrate is very mobile in the soil and is also susceptible to denitrification (loss as a nitrous oxide gas) or to leaching losses. Producers want to select fertilizer banding systems that minimize the amount of time that nitrate resides in the soil before the developing crop utilizes it.
With mid row bands, the developing root system accesses the nitrate as it moves away from the surface of the nitrogen band. The plant’s roots detect the nitrate and begin to proliferate its root system towards the source. Research has shown that by the time the plant is in the 1 to 2 leaf stage, roots often extend outwardly 4 to 6 inches in a mid row banding environment.

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MRB® Fertilizer Applicators - Durably Designed

MRBs® are designed and constructed to provide many years of service.

The current Mid Row Bander® Fertilizer Application series is the third generation of a highly successful fertilizer banding implement. Even after 25 years and millions of acres, the design of the Bourgault MRB® is continued to be reviewed and refined.

This dedication to product refinement is one of the reasons why over 80% of Bourgault seeding systems are purchased with the Mid Row Bander® Fertilizer Application option.


Setting & Adjustments

Proper adjustment is key for optimal performance.

Getting the Most from Your MRBs®

Setting the correct operational depth, in relation to the soil surface and the seeding depth is vital. Attention and appropriate action will not only produce a good crop response to the banded fertilizer, but will also minimize losses of your valuable investment.

The key to effective and trouble-free operation is correct depth setting, as well as periodic greasing and scraper adjustment to account for disk wear. Proper setting will greatly reduce troublesome issues such as plugging or bearing failure.

Recommended depth setting for Bourgault Mid Row Banders.

Typical Bander Depth Setting

It is recommended to set the MRBs® 2 to 3 inches below the original soil surface.

  • Too shallow of a depth setting may not provide enough soil cover to prevent nitrogen loss through volatilization.
  • When operating in dry conditions, adjust the working depth to ensure fertilizer is placed into moist soil.
  • For NH3 application, excessive working depths may delay the closing of the furrow, reducing retention of anhydrous ammonia in the soil.
  • Extended operation at excessive depths will increase draft, component wear and the increase the chance of plugging.

Note: Operational depth setting recommendations are similar for Mid Row Shank™ III fertilizer applicators.  The goal is to ensure good soil cover of the fertilizer furrow to minimize loss to the air.  Excessive seeding speeds may cause soil throw by the openers.

Add or remove shims to the cylinder rod to change operating depth.

Depth Adjustment

MRB® Adjust - Add or remove shims to the cylinder rod to change operating depth. Spare shims are stored on upper cylinder pin if needed.

  • 1/4 " thick shim = 5/8" depth adjustment
  • 1/8" thick shim = 5/16" depth adjustment

Video Presentation

The key to trouble-free operation is to check the MRBs® periodically and adjust as needed for changes in seeding depth or disc wear.

This presentation will cover all the key settings and adjustments that will help ensure optimal performance during seeding.

It is important to refer to the Operator's Manual when making any adjustment to your equipment.

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MRB® Coulter Cleaning Options

Bourgault MRB® with Retainer Wheel Option

Closer Tine or Retaining Wheel Options

Choose between the Outside Closer Tine or Retainer Wheel for optimal soil retention in a wide range of soil conditions.

  • The retaining wheel is an ideal match for the ParaLink Coulter Drill™ when minimal soil disturbance is a primary goal.
  • When applying anhydrous ammonia, retainer wheels will direct more soil over the furrow to minimize gassing off.

MRBs offer Closer Tine or Retaining Wheel Options

Excellent Soil Retainment

The Outside Closer Tine Option (A) is designed to keep the outside of the disk clean to ensure an intact furrow is created and help soil flow back into the furrow once the fertilizer is placed. Typically, the closer tine holds some residue against the disk to help keep it clean. The tine position can be adjusted to match operating depth while tension can be adjusted to suit soil conditions.

The Retaining Wheel Option (B) uses a torsion spring to adjust the downforce, as well as shims to set the position relative to the disk. The retaining wheel will keep the outside of the disk clean as it holds down the soil adjacent to the furrow made by the coulter.

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Momentary Isolation Switch

Easy release if straw builds up around Mid Row Shanks.

Get Out of a Sticky Situation

The Momentary Isolation Switch provides a fast and convenient method of reducing draft or releasing trapped residue without disrupting the seeding pass.

  • In wet conditions, if the drill begins to bog down, the Operator can lift the Mid Row Bander® Fertilizer Applicators and broadcast the fertilizer while leaving the seed openers in the ground to temporarily reduce the amount of draft. Once through the wet spot, the MRB® Fertilizer Applicators can be returned to their engaged position.

The Momentary Isolation Switch will help you get out of a sticky situation!

For MRB® & MRS™ Systems

The Momentary Isolation Switch is:

  • optional for Mid Row Bander® equipped 3330SE and 3335QDA PHDs™;
  • standard for PHDs™ equipped with Mid Row Shanks™.

NOTE: The Momentary Isolation Switch feature is recommended for liquid or granular fertilizers only - anhydrous/NH3 are not recommended due to gassing off.

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Designed for Your Drill

Only Bourgault seeding systems are designed to accommodate MRBs® so you can maximize the benefits and reduce the risk of one-pass fertilizer placement, while establishing a high quality seedbed.

Bourgault MRBs® are available on:

  • 3330SE & 3335QDA ParaLink Hoe Drills™;
  • 3420 ParaLink Hoe Drills™;
  • 3720 & 3820 ParaLink Coulter Drills™;
  • CD & HD Frame Mounted Seeders™;
  • 5810 Air Hoe Drills;
  • 8910 Cultivators (Series 20 or 25 MRBs®).


Additional Resources

A comprehensive library of Bourgault product information is only a click away!
Visit the Bourgault Electronic Documentation System for parts and operational documentation.



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