Anhydrous ammonia thieves face a new deterrent this spring, thanks to a sturdy device that fits nurse tanks and is simply called The Lock.

Across the Midwest, the theft of anhydrous ammonia to produce methamphetamine has become a serious problem for farmers, agribusinesses and law-enforcement officials alike. Farmland Industries designed the lock to thwart thieves' efforts. The company secured the patent for the device and then licensed it to Dodge Manufacturing to produce and market.

Although simple, the lock's mechanism is effective, consisting essentially of a steel box that encapsulates the tank valves with a T-bar. Bolt cutters are useless against it, according to Dean Dodge, president of Dodge Manufacturing.

Retail price is $89. To order, call Dodge at 785/266-5100. Because some variations in nurse tanks exist, Dodge encourages farmers to note the specifications of their tank when ordering to ensure the lock will fit.

Anhydrous regulator

Capstan Ag Systems says that its new regulator delivers uniform product applications in the field, while minimizing any potentially negative impact on the environment. The system, called a pulsing electronic anhydrous regulator, works essentially like a fuel-injection system on a car, notes Jeff Grimm, Capstan field engineer. He explains that a tailor-made manifold provides accurate rates and even distribution across the tool, so each knife puts down the same rate of anhydrous.

The pulsing action of the regulator allows for the accurate metering of anhydrous. Farmers can vary the pulse width of the regulator to change the product flow. Grimm says the regulator offers a flexible application range of at least a 30-to-1 ratio, without the need to change equipment or adjust speeds, making it a useful tool for farmers who map their fields and need variable rates of nitrogen.

Iowa State University is field testing the system now, before its market introduction in late fall or next spring. Pricing for the regulator has not yet been determined. For more information, call Grimm at 785/742-2685, send him an e-mail at Capstan@rainbowtel.net.

Precision systems

Raven Industries offers two new precision farming tools this spring. CropStart liquid starter fertilizer control systems are designed for planters. They come either in manual mode for $1,083 or as an automatic system for $2,968. The manual system includes a pressure gauge for applying fertilizer and a remote shutoff. The CropStart II system compensates for speed, includes a serial port to accommodate a data logger and interfaces with existing radar on the tractor. The standard eight-row kits include a console, flow monitor and stand assembly, pump, control valves and cables. Optional four-row add-on kits are available for $70.

The Viper precision application system features hardware that is new from the ground up, along with new software capabilities to make precision application easy. The system includes a 10½-in., sunlight readable, color touch screen and keypad. It creates a link between any guidance system and most Raven controllers. Windows-based, the Viper features a CAN interface that lets it recognize a wide range of equipment and allows future incorporation of other software with wireless data transmission and soil sampling. Suggested retail price: $5,800. Contact Raven Industries, Dept. FIN, Box 5107, Sioux Falls, SD 57117, 800/243-5435, www.ravenind.com.