Getting It Right

No matter whether its a 25,000-ton capacity megaplant or a smaller facility housing a 2-ton blender, retailers want a dry fertilizer blending system that is easy to operate, fast, and accurate.

These criteria are especially important in a year when corn acres are expected to significantly increase, putting greater demands on the blending system and its operators.

“It is quality and consistency that retailers are looking for,” says Lloyd Derowitsch of Speed King, noting that there is no second chance to get the grower-customer’s order right. “A wrong blend is a chilling call to receive for any dealer (and his insurance company),” he says.

‘Precise’ly Right

Rising fertilizer costs have retailers seeking more accurate and precise blend capabilities. Many already are using GPS tracking, autosteer, and add-on control systems on their spreaders and tenders, notes Michael Tibbett, whose company, Adams Fertilizer Equipment, plans to have new blender system styles available soon.

“When fertilizer wasn’t so expensive, if you were off by plus or minus 10% to 20%, it wasn’t life or death,” Tibbett says. “Now, if you put 20% more fertilizer on than you need to, by year’s end you’ve racked up some real change.”

Retailers also can realize more return on their investment by avoiding the pitfalls of buying a system too complicated for their needs. “The errors are larger due to the speed and volume of the equipment and can therefore be even more costly then just the original cost of the equipment itself,” Derowitsch says.

No matter what level of sophistication a retailer chooses, speed and convenience are still hallmarks of a successful system. Manufacturers continue to improve those features; for example, Doyle Equipment Manufacturing‘s new 30-inch load-out conveyor on its 8-ton paddle blender and vertical blend systems “provides improved discharge time,” says Doyle’s Mark Baggett.

 Conditioned For Quality

Retailers also are under the gun to provide top quality fertilizer. “When we were able to integrate a Bulk-Conditioner right into our TriTon vertical blend system, we struck a chord with fertilizer dealers,” says Jim Crane of The A.J. Sackett & Sons Co. “Especially ones blending fertilizer for planter boxes and aerial application, where lumps cause major problems and are just unacceptable.”

The expected increase in corn acres and therefore, fertilizer tonnage, could put quite a strain on the dealership’s existing blender, but may only require adding on to the existing set-up. Ranco Fertiservice purposely builds this flexibility into its DW blend system as a customer convenience. The company recently added a touch screen to remotely operate and monitor its digital control panel.

“Retailers with Ranco systems can respond to this increased usage by adding another meter screw to an existing urea bin or adding another bin,” says the company’s Bruce Hinkeldey. “Both options can be done in a short period of time at a reasonable price.”

Papa, Mama, Baby Bear-Sized

“Add-ons” of a different nature also continue. In recent history, there’s been a trend towards building mega plants — or “hubs” — in some regions of the country. That trend appears to be continuing but stabilizing, while the number of small plants is growing, too.

In the middle are pockets of retailers that consolidate their fertilizer into facilities that hold 4,500 tons to 5,000 tons, much less than the typical 25,000-ton mega plant and more than the average small plant, says Rob Henderson of Waconia Manufacturing.

These facilities primarily are found in the eastern U.S., such as the Carolinas, where large storage is needed for a single product.

The mega plant sector is evolving, too, says Anne Sheehy of Yargus Manufacturing. Yargus is currently working on a mega plant in northwestern North Dakota, and will equip another mega plant in east central South Dakota this summer.

Like many other blender equipment manufacturers, Yargus strives to make systems to equip mega, mid-, and smaller sized fertilizer plants. “We are constantly adapting our standard Volumetric Blender System to maximize demand in different regions in the U.S. and throughout the world,” says Sheehy.

No matter what size facility, all customers “are looking for one company that can provide all the solutions,” says Hinkeldey.

Leave a Reply

Blenders Stories
BlendersFertilizer Blenders Keep Up With Growers
February 3, 2014
Specialty fertilizer add-ons and ever more demanding growers pose real challenges for blending design and technology. Read More
BlendersNew St. Marys Fertilizer Building Is Built For Speed, Efficiency
October 1, 2013
With its precision blending facility, J.B. Pearl embraces the company’s past while setting the stage for its present and the future. Read More
Blenders10 Dry Fertilizer Blenders For 2013
November 16, 2012
Blender units are getting faster and more efficient than ever, plus some manufacturers are taking advantage of new technologies. Here Read More
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
Latest News
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More
Eric SfiligojIARC Targets 2,4-D In Latest Report
June 29, 2015
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has struck again. Earlier this year in March, this agency of the Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Ma…
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
EquipmentCase IH Launches New Precision Air 5 Series Carts
June 29, 2015
Case IH recently introduced its new Precision Air 5 series air carts, developed to get the most from every plant’s Read More
InsecticidesVestaron Biopesticide Approved In California
June 29, 2015
Vestaron Corporation, a developer of insect control products derived from naturally occurring peptides, today announced that its VST-006330-EP biopesticide has received Read More
InsecticidesValent’s Zeal SC Miticide Receives EPA Approval
June 29, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced today that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Retail FacilitiesUnited Prairie Increased Plant Productivity With Junge …
June 29, 2015
Since 1979, Junge Control continues to provide ag retailers with highly accurate fluid and dry ingredient measuring, mixing and tracking Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
ManagementAsmark Training Center Visit & A Merger No Go
June 25, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj talks about a visit to the Ford B. West Training Center and the failure of the Read More
Crop InputsWinField: Here’s What We’re Seeing So Far T…
June 25, 2015
One of the most important things you can do throughout the season to help increase yield potential is to ensure Read More
Valent, Commodity Classic 2015
Industry NewsValent Garners FFA Honor
June 23, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation today announced it has been named a 5-star member of the National FFA Foundation. This includes an Read More
Nester Ag intern Brad Nester
Crop InputsOhio NRCS’ New Conservation Practice Standard For Gypsu…
June 22, 2015
Ohio farmers wishing to use gypsum to improve soil quality now have access to technical information and possible financial assistance Read More
Industry NewsWest Central Creates New Executive Team
June 22, 2015
West Central Distribution, LLC officially announced the development of an executive team comprised of Dale Engan, chief executive officer; Michael Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Life Sciences Invests In People, Agricultural…
June 22, 2015
In mid-February, the USDA released its new 10-year agriculture projections. While the numbers are new, the theme was consistent. The Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsStudy: Crop Rotation Has Positive Impact On Soil Microb…
June 22, 2015
A study authored by Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences assistant professor Lisa Tiemann is Read More