Blenders Stand Up To Pressure

Waconia Vertical Blenders

As the grower equipment grows, so does the dealer, says Mark Anderson, vice-president of domestic sales and marketing with Yargus Manufacturing. With growers planting more acres than ever to capture profits from high crop prices, they need bigger units to get fields fertilized and volumes of product rushed out. “Many times retailers are expressing how they cannot keep up with growers during fertilizer season,” he says.

Over the past few years the sheer volume of blended product coming out of the large hub plants has increased dramatically, agrees Jim Carlson, sales representative with Waconia Manufacturing. “Facilities that were built primarily for wholesale distribution of bulk material are now primarily involved with distributing and retailing blended product.”

The 2012 season promises its own unique challenges, believes Bruce Hinkeldey with Ranco Fertiservices. In many regions he’s seen good weather during fall application as well as an open winter — both of which allowed retailers the opportunity to apply a large portion of preplant materials. But it also appears the fertilizing season will arrive sooner than normal, he says, “which puts pressure on everyone to get equipment service, buildings filled, and new equipment installed.”

Features Rise To Occasion

Blender companies continue to design features to get this daunting job done, in particular incorporating speed, accuracy, and durability in ever larger units.

Waconia just introduced a new line of blend and wholesale towers with overhead storage for up to 250, 275 or 300 tons. Prior to this new line, the largest capacity in the industry was 200 tons, says Carlson. “Along with the larger holding capacity, we can provide up to 18-ton blenders in the larger towers,” he says.

New last season was Adams Fertilizer Equipment’s 16-ton Vertical Fertilizer Blender, the company’s largest vertical so far. And there’s a new rotary unit on the way in two or three months, says Michael Tibbett, sales manager.

Doyle Manufacturing’s latest unit, the 13-ton Direct Drive Rotary Blender, has been moving well. It is geared “to stock some of the bigger tenders coming along,” says Rob Heiden, engineer. Pledging industry-leading speeds, it uses fewer parts than traditional chain drive blenders, and the direct drive system has a heavy duty planetary gearbox, coupled to a TEFC motor.

Doyle is facing extremely high demand — all the while working to complete a relocation to Missouri. The new headquarters building will have considerably higher square footage, all needed to meet the high volume of orders the company is experiencing.

Anderson says Yargus’ Declining Weigh Blend System is becoming one of its most sought-after blenders with higher tonnage retailers. The unit offers throughput speeds of three, four, five and six tons per minute or faster. “We like to say ‘speed makes profits,’ and the faster we can move trucks through, the more time the spreaders’ wheels are rolling,” he comments. And with retailers investing in larger tendering equipment, the Declining Weigh Blend System can blend and fill a 24-ton tender in six to eight minutes.

Manufacturers we talked with were quick to boast about the durability of their units as well as speed. For instance, Waconia’s Carlson says the company has always prided itself in engineering and manufacturing equipment “that won’t break down in the heat of battle. Everything we build is for the heavy seasonal demand of the fertilizer industry. With the short spring season, keeping up with the grower will determine where he will buy his product and services.”

Anderson encourages retailers to always invest in quality. “The more stainless steel you can buy, the better off you are,” he says. “Stainless construction is like having a built-in performance bond that protects a system for years to come.”

More Complex Mixes

Growers want fertilizer blends — delivered fast — to do more. They’re continually asking how they can maximize nutrient utilization, says Carlson. One answer has been enhancers, so blender makers needed to consider how to work with these products. Carlson says Waconia is spending considerable time researching and implementing efficient ways to apply these enhancers into the blend cycle. In some cases, this is even being done in receiving, before the product is conveyed into the building.

Sackett has geared up to manage complex mixes as well. “Our chemical engineers are continuously working to test new coatings and additives in the lab HIM mixer to ensure the R&D is being done in our lab and not at the blend plant,” says Charles Formisani, mechanical engineer and manger of sales and engineering.

In general, Hinkeldey notes that each year the industry is seeing new product formulations that retailers need to incorporate into blends. Generally they’re common fertilizers with coatings and stabilizers applied, but dealers don’t have the luxury of extra storage bins to handle these pretreated products so they need to impregnate on demand. In addition, he says, lower use rates of the liquids require accurate output and thorough mixing.

Ranco offers a variety of pump sizes that accurately impregnate the liquids onto the dry fertilizer during the continuous flow blend process. The liquid system can also be set up to disperse produced in declining weigh mode for incredible accuracy, says Hinkeldey. “And powdered products can be accurately incorporated into the blending using Ranco’s powder feeders, which continuously agitate the material so consistency of the product dispensed remains constant.”

A number of new products, such as Mosaic’s MicroEssentials SZ phosphate, require a separate compartment in a tower, points out Waconia’s Carlson. “Our blend towers are positioned well to handle multiple products,” he says. “We manufacture towers with up to 14 bins for maxiumum flexibility.”

Multi-faceted mixing needs to be achieved without slowing down the loadout process. Hinkeldey says users like Ranco’s Declining Weigh System’s ability to quickly change products without sacrificing accuracy, the desired target weight, or blend quality.

Tweaking along the way can be vital. The Yargus Declining Weigh Blend System uses the time delay start/stop and layering effect to make a quality blend regardless of ratios or amounts. Anderson says by using load cells on each bin, the unit is constantly monitoring output of product and making corrections.

The technology to incorporate micronutrients and apply fertilizer coatings is one of A.J. Sackett & Son’s main focuses these days, says Formisani. The company’s LIW (Loss In Weight) blending system has a proprietary continuous mixer to ensure accurate blending. Other features include load cell sampling at 200 times per second, a “one size fits all” feeder design for maximum flexibility, fully PLC-based, an option for in-line coating and “an extremely robust design that you would expect from Sackett,” says Formisani.

He adds that the company has formed a partnership with Kahler Automation — another name he says dealers can trust — to supply the automation for the LIW Blending System.

Formisani believes blend quality and the ability to precisely impregnate, encapsulate, and disperse add-on materials have to be the main drivers in a blender decision, rather than overhead storage capacity or even speed. In fact, Sackett feels so strongly about the importance of prescription blending that the company is only offering blend towers with its HIM mixer, which is designed specifically for new mixing challenges.

HIM mixer technology is based on small, fast batches, explains Formi­sani. A Sackett tower using one 3-ton mixer can output prescription blends at speeds close to 200 tons per hour. “This is not only substantially faster the typical towers but much more precise as well,” he adds.

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
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More