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

Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Monte Vista Location
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbial Seed Coating
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To Evaluate Economic Impact Of Soil Health Practices
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 2017
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More