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 InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Trending Articles
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
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
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More