Blenders: Custom Builds Get More Diverse

Adams Direct Drive Rotary Blender
Adams Direct Drive Rotary Blender

“It is incredible how different the needs of our customers are,” says Nate Wittmaack, sales representative with Ranco Fertiservice. Such is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s blender manufacturers as they try to make each unit just right for each buyer. For instance, some customers need a top-notch, elaborate system of liquid impregnation on their dry product, while others do not, Wittmaack notes. Some need 20 additive bins, others don’t require any.

Shawn Hudspeth, sales and marketing with Adams Fertilizer Equipment agrees: “In today’s blender market almost every blend system is customized to each dealer’s location.” And blender makers are promising to accommodate all customers’ wish lists and still achieve retailers’ production goals.

Another challenge has been “high demands” for better blending technology, says Charles Formisani, vice president of sales for The A.J. Sackett & Sons Co. But this call for better-engineered and higher quality equipment means fertilizer retailers need to plan farther ahead than before when upgrading or building new blending systems.

In fact, in general, manufacturers we spoke with are experiencing good to great volumes of orders — for some, the largest in their history — and ramping up production to meet the demand itself has been a difficulty. Hudspeth counsels retailers that early blender orders and planning ahead for the spring rush will pay heavy dividends in the fields.

He did find that the “fiscal cliff” problem — and the threat of a new recession — did delay several blender sales by two to four weeks. Blender sales had been good in early fall of 2012 but have been exceptionally strong since the first of the year.

Cranking Out Mixes

Customers are purchasing larger and faster equipment to cover more acres in a day, which means fertilizer dealers need to stay ahead of them, says Wittmaack. “One of our customers commented that with his new blend system, his company was able to keep six floaters and 14 tender trucks moving without any waiting. Another buyer said his staff was able to cover 6,500 acres per day because blender output was not an issue.”

Indeed, fertilizer demand has been high, says Jim Carlson sales and marketing specialist with Waconia Manufacturing, therefore the need to keep increasing throughput capacities at the retail level is at the forefront.

“Dealers are considering more overhead storage, bigger blenders, high capacity conveyers, etc.,” he reports. Waconia is, in fact, producing equipment with more overhead storage along with bigger and faster blending systems. Carlson says that while the window of opportunity in the spring and fall to get product to the ground varies every year, “but we all know the window is never big enough.”

Formisani believes growers expect the best inputs available and will pay for quality product. They’re demanding the newest and best technology they can get for themselves, and they expect retailers to do the same to deliver custom blends on time. He notes that the market can be especially brutal, in fact, with today’s shorter application windows and longer distances to fields: “Retailers need to get inputs to the field or their customers will get products elsewhere.”

Speaking of speed, Adams is introducing a new 8-, 10- and 13-ton direct drive rotary blender line designed to be fast. The 13-ton unit can completely empty in 3.5 minutes using its standard 36-inch conveyor. Hudspeth says that from the weigh hopper to the blender, it only takes 1.5 minutes to completely empty 26,000 pounds. “The 13-ton blender size works very well when trying to fill trailer tenders or hopper bottom trailers quickly, in just two mixes,” he explains.

Doyle Manufacturing also has a new 13-ton Direct Drive Rotary Blender — and it’s been moving well. The unit is designed “to stock some of the bigger tenders coming along,” says Rob Heiden, engineer.

More Than Fast

Formisani believes quality of blends is equally as important as speed. As agronomy develops to where growers are truly “spoon feeding” true prescription formulations to crops, retailers need to adjust — and blenders will make that possible. “The ability to mix a prescription blend with perfect accuracy and with speed is unbelievably important going forward,” he says. He notes that the Sackett H.I.M. mixer has the technology to accomplish this kind of mix complexity. Then too, he says, the company’s Loss-In-Weight blend system is designed for “extremely accurate results,” with load cells on the major and micro hoppers so users know exactly what is being dispensed.

Waconia Manufacturing continues to stress energy efficiency, safety, speed and reliability in all its designs, says Carlson. But he also emphasizes that automation is playing an ever-increasing role in all of the company’s systems. This technology provides customers with reduced labor costs, more accurate blends and a better accounting of every load coming in or going out.

Built-in automation software gives customers a fully integrated system on the Layco Declining Weight Blend System — all from one manufacturer, says Anne Sheehy, senior vice president, corporate sales and marketing at Yargus Manufacturing. No third party automation software is required. “New for 2013 is the wireless control function that uses an iPad to operate the complete blending system,” she says.

Yet another blender selling point is fertilizer additive abilities. Waconia is devoting a lot of resources to enhancers and maximizing nutrient utilization, says Carlson.

For Ranco, one of the company’s most recent innovations is a high output metering unit that has “an incredible amount of flexibility,” explains Bruce Hinkeldey, sales representative with Ranco.

Justin Goertz with R&R Manufac­turing says his company’s units’ ability to start and stop under load and mix partial batches accurately and efficiently are factors beyond speed that make them the choice for some market segments. Plus, the blenders have much lower horsepower requirements compared to other blenders.

Situation In Fields

Coming off drought conditions in many areas, fertilizer industry members weren’t sure how the fall application season would shape up. But manufacturers did not see the drastic reduction in fertilizer demand that some expected, says Wittmaack. Growers have maintained their programs more so than was expected. Continuing, unusually dry fall weather conditions in most areas allowed dealers to apply pre-plant fertilizer, Adams’ Hudspeth reports.

Projections heading into spring are uncertain, though. Subsoil moisture needs to be replenished on vast acreages. “If we experience another drier than average year in 2013, we would expect some significant changes in demand,” says Hinkeldey.

Simply put, “As long as commodity prices stay historically high, the demand will be there,” says Waconia’s Carlson. “The key factor in all of this is the weather.”

Leave a Reply

Blenders Stories

Adams Decline Weigh Blender
BlendersFertilizer Blenders Take On Latest Additives, Heavy Workloads
February 2, 2016
As agronomy and precision ag sciences continue to advance, blender manufacturers have certainly had their part to play. “We are Read More
MixMate from Praxidyn
BlendersPraxidyn Introduces Portable Ag Chemical Blending System
January 28, 2016
Praxidyn has introduced Mixmate – the portable agricultural chemical blending system. Mixmate streamlines or completely automates the mixing process with Read More
Yargus Layco 16 Ton Rotary Drum
Blenders15 Fertilizer Blenders That Will Meet Your 2016 Mixing Needs
November 11, 2015
Manufacturers of fertilizer blending and mixing systems continue to develop some of the fastest, most durable, most accurate units ever for Read More
BlendersYargus Introduces New Layco Rotary Drum Blenders
September 28, 2015
Yargus has introduced the new 13- and 16-ton capacity Rotary Drum Blenders that have one of the highest capacities in Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionEnhancing In-Season Nitrogen Use Efficiency Is In The D…
May 5, 2016
Spring is here and crops are in the ground. Do you have a plan for your nitrogen during the growing Read More
ID3 Air Induction Flat Spray Nozzle | Lechler
Nozzles2016 Nozzles And Tips Report: Waste Watchers
May 5, 2016
Every year in the spring, ag retailers and their grower-customers prepare for the coming crop season. This involves prepping crop Read More
Industry NewsHELM AGRO Adds New Marketing & Business Development…
May 4, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the hiring of Troy Bettner as the company’s new Marketing & Business Development Leader. Bettner Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncont…
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Spray Drift
HerbicidesRoundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For…
May 4, 2016
Since 2014, Monsanto has trained more than 20,000 growers and retailers on all aspects of its new dicamba-tolerant system at Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Board Appoints New CEO
May 4, 2016
Syngenta announced today the appointment of J. Erik Fyrwald, currently President and CEO of the U.S. chemistry distribution company Univar Read More
Crop InputsIntrexon Establishes Crop Protection Enterprise
May 4, 2016
Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has announced the formation of Intrexon Crop Protection (ICP), a wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More