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

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. 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
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

Latest News

Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Acquires French Bio-Nutrient Company
October 2, 2014
Arysta LifeScience recently announced the acquisition of Goёmar, a French company that develops bioperformance technologies for crop production. Read More
Matthew GrassiVilsack, USDA Featured On New South Park
October 2, 2014
USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was featured on last night's hilarious new South Park episode titled "Gluten Free Ebola." Read More
Syngenta
Crop InputsSyngenta Launches Plant Breeding Academy
October 1, 2014
Syngenta announces the release of its Breeding Academy, a global initiative designed to enable the continued development of scientists at Syngenta and beyond. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 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
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More