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

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
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Aerial view of the West Fertilizer explosion site
FertilizerFertilizer Companies Blame City For West, TX, Explosion
August 6, 2014
El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion. Read More
FungicidesResearchers Target Soybean Disease With Genetic Resistance Study
August 6, 2014
University of Illinois researchers will share new information on controlling sudden death syndrome through genetic resistance at this year's Agronomy Day. Read More

Trending Articles

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
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. 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
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechBerendes Joins Verdesian Board Of Directors
September 2, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences announced that Robert Berendes has recently joined the company's board of directors. 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
WebinarsWebinars On Demand
September 2, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches Performance Agriculture Brand
September 2, 2014
Performance Agriculture complements Pinnacle’s existing brands, including Sanders, the company’s flagship farm input retail brand. Read More
Webinars5 Key Benefits Of Attending A Webinar
September 2, 2014
Webinars can provide ag retailers with a convenient option for gaining knowledge on the latest industry issues and solutions. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Is Betting On A Bright Agricultural Future
September 1, 2014
The crop protection products giant is gearing up for a busy time in agriculture by investing in both product production and development over the next couple of years. Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Erie Feeling For Ag
September 1, 2014
Plenty of water issues have been in the news lately, including the continuing drought in California. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. 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