Investing In Storage

Murray Equipment Promag 50

The surge in tank and containment purchases — felt some 10 to 15 years ago — is being revisited as facilities age, say manufacturers. “We’ve had no slowdown in sales over the entire last year,” says Gene Good, sales manager at Mid-State Tank Co.

But how long the boom lasts may depend a great deal on ever-volatile stainless steel prices.

State Of Stainless

Indeed, prices on some bins may greatly increase in the next year because 316 stainless prices have increased upwards of 50% in the last three months, says Darryn Thiessen, director of sales and marketing, Friesen, USA. His firm makes a wide range of bulk storage tanks and seed tenders. “We know some guys just aren’t going to buy tanks because of the cost,” admits Good.

The good news is that many fertilizer tanks are made of mild steel (also called carbon steel), which has seen more stable prices. Don Bradley, director of sales and marketing at Murray Equipment, explains that mild steel doesn’t contain the chromium and nickel that stainless does — and that these two elements account for the higher price tag.

Mid-State Tank sticks strictly with stainless for its tanks, made for sprayer/applicator manufacturers, chemical companies, and dealers. Good recommends steel because it’s very durable and cleans out easily. He has found that customers are buying the tanks because they need more equipment — not only that units are wearing out.

Ron Lager, sales manager at Precision Tank & Equipment, would agree: “Larger nurse tanks are becoming more common as dealers are becoming more efficient, moving larger amounts of products to larger, more efficient application equipment.”

Storage Technology

Managing those higher capacities of with as few people as possible is where Murray Equipment’s controls can help, says Bradley. A more recent offering is the company’s tank level indicator — wired into a control box — that can trigger an alarm and dial up facility personnel when product reaches undesired levels.

Murray is also working on an overflow alarm for a soil fumigant product. The alarm will even close valves if needed.

Murray sells a wide range of tanks, pumps, meters, and valves. Bradley says dealers can take advantage of manufacturers’ expertise to help select an item for a certain job. “Ask for assistance,” he encourages. “With the hazardous materials we’re dealing with, there’s no room for error.”

Dennis Neal, president of Enviropac, Inc. , supplier of fiberglass storage tanks, reports sales have been “brisk.” “Dealers are adding to the amount of storage they have on-site because of the cost of fertilizer — and they like the control of having product in hand. But they’re also replacing old tanks,” he explains. He points out that many of today’s 28% and 32% fertilizers are being imported and contain contaminants that can promote corrosion of mild steel.

The good news, he says, is Enviro-Coat, a tank additive that floats on the surface of the fertilizer solution, penetrating rust and corrosion and removing moisture. It provides protection for exposed steel, especially at the air-liquid interface.

Enviropac offers small test kits so customers can see just how a coated piece of steel would react in their own tanks. By offering Enviro-Coat, Neal says his company can build relationships with dealers until they need to buy new tanks, perhaps fiberglass ones.

He says price is a major factor to consider: “Fiberglass gives the storage capabilities of 316 stainless steel without the high price.” He adds that dealers should consider the cost of maintaining metal tanks — in the form of repainting and replacing them. And with fiberglass, customers do not need to worry about rust inside a tank that can plug screens, strainers, and tips.

Containment Concerns

“The expected life spans of secondary containment systems are proving to be much less than most of us expected,” says Precision Tank’s Lager. And, more state inspectors are re-checking retail sites for erosion, cracks, and breaches in concrete some 10 to 12 years after their original install, says Jim Reiss, vice president – agricultural business, at Precision Laboratories. This past year, he saw inspectors out in Illinois, in particular, looking at the quality and functionality of containment.

Retrofits are becoming more prevalent, says Ken Hunter, president, Hunter Agri-Sales. The company sells plia-liners, made of polypropylene, to lay inside existing dikes. Its products — which offer a 20-year weathering warranty — come at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding concrete.

Hunter says the plia-liners are tough and ultraviolet-resistant, so dealers don’t need gravel or stone to cover them. That makes clean-up a lot easier in the event of a spill, as staff would need to discard or wash any tainted rock.

Hunter’s latest products are plia drain pads to place under fertilizer tanks. Here again, no gravel is needed.

Coatings are another choice dealers have for restoring containment. Precision Laboratories has developed formulas specifically for the ag market that “are resistant to nature, fertilizer, and pesticides,” says Reiss. “We take a consultant approach to visit and see what customers are doing at their facilities — then recommend a solution. Sometimes the concrete has deteriorated to the point where we have to say a jackhammer is the best solution.”

Precision Labs’ AGmaster line includes a sealer, primer, and topcoat combination from which Reiss says customers can get 70 years of longevity. “We encourage dealers to see the coatings as an investment. Some paints only last one or two years — they chalk and don’t show well. Customers need to think of the labor and frequency involved in using them.” AGmaster products can also be used on storage tanks and anhydrous tanks, wagons, and toolbars.

Super Seed Bins

Bulk storage has been extending beyond crop inputs such as fertilizer to seeds themselves. Steel seed bins from Friesen USA debuted some 17 years ago, but the design has really taken off in the past few years, says Thiessen. He adds that seed companies are coming up with more internal programs to make bulk seed facilities more attractive for retailers to invest in.

Thiessen points out that greater volumes of quickly and easily accessible seed make for happier grower-customers. And, the steel bins are good for the seeds themselves. Thiessen says they have smooth walls so seed doesn’t get trapped, and no outside contamination can get in. The seed ladder that helps dispense product is gentle as well.

“Bulk bins are becoming the premier way of handling seed, and they’ll separate the main players from other dealerships in the next number of years,” he predicts.

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More

Trending Articles

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More

Latest News

Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More
HerbicidesValent’s Fierce XLT Herbicide Receives EPA Approv…
September 8, 2014
Valent U.S.A. Corp. announced today that Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide is now federally registered for preemergence weed control in soybeans Read More