OnSite vs. Red Balls

don't just wait for blockages. know your flow on every row.

Traditional red ball sight glass systems only show you if ANY liquid is flowing in the system. They are good at detecting when the flow stops from completely clogged lines, but don’t give much indication of problems as they develop. They are also notoriously hard to see in ideal conditions, much less when you add inclement weather, low light, or they start getting cloudy from age.

OnSite FMS solves these problems by digitally monitoring the flow of fluid to each row in the system in real time. Because Onsite FMS shows you the actual flow rate of the liquid fertilizer to each row, you know at a glance precisely how much starter fertilizer is being put down on every row. You can quickly see if any individual row’s flow rate is starting to drop or spike and fix the problem before it becomes a full clog. OnSite FMS’ large 7″ display is easy to read in any conditions and gives you the most accurate real-time information possible. 


Floating balls can't detect partial blockages

Your pump will always output fluid at the application rate it is set for. If you are applying five gallons per acre, that is what your pump will output. Problems arise when one row is getting clogged and not letting the correct amount of fluid through. That surplus fluid will find the path of least resistance and get applied to other rows. You may never realize this because the total amount of fluid applied to the field is still correct, it was just applied incorrectly.

Floating balls only reliably measure if ANY liquid is flowing to that row. If you are flowing at 20%, the little floating ball will likely still be bouncing like everything is fine. Meanwhile you’re underfeeding this row and overfeeding other rows. This can create uneven emergence and impact your yield.

Onsite FMS shows you extremely accurate flow rate data for each row in real time, down to 1/10th of a gallon per acre. The easy to read bar graph interface allows you to see at a glance if any rows are developing blockages and make adjustments early. Built in alarms will tell you when any individual row is either above or below the set application rate. 

You can easily monitor the performance of every row and make adjustments before problems develop. Wih OnSite FMS, you truly know your flow on every row. 

OnSite FMS' big 7" touchscreen display

Red ball systems are hard to see

Sight glass systems are frustratingly difficult to see at the best of times. The problems compound as the sight glasses discolor with age, when using darker fertilizers, when you are working in low-light conditions, when your planter is kicking up dust, or on larger planters where they sit further away from the cab.

OnSite FMS’ big 7” high resolution display sits in the cab next to you, giving you perfect visibility 100% of the time. You can run any fertilizer in any conditions and know the exact application rate on each row in real time.

See what you are missing with OnSite FMS.


By the time the ball drops, there’s been a problem for a while.

Blockages can happen quickly, but more often they build up slowly over time. Unfortunately, floating balls only really register the problem once the flow has all but stopped completely. While that clog builds, less and less of your precious (and expensive) fertilizer is getting applied to that row. This often leads to slower emergence, smaller overall plant size and decreased yield for that row.

OnSite FMS gives you real time flow rates so you can see issues developing before they turn into problems that will affect your yields. You can easily see even the smallest decreases in any single row and the corresponding increases in other rows. It’s the difference between having gauges that let you monitor how your machine is running versus warning lights that only tell you something already failed. 

This complete picture can help you achieve the best application rates possible and gives you the best opportunity for uniform emergence.  


By the time you see one issue, there are probably multiple issues

Your pumps should always pump the amount of liquid they are set to pump. Any blockages will just create extra pressure in the system. Liquid under pressure will find the path of least resistance to release that pressure. That means the system will compensate for one clogged row by pushing the extra fertilizer on the surrounding rows.

This change often won’t be noticeable in a floating ball system until multiple rows are clogged and the overall pressure finally drops. With OnSite FMS, you can monitor even the smallest drops in flowrate and make adjustments as necessary. Know your flow on every row with OnSite FMS!

Call (605) 213-1010 to order your system today!


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