Economy Tests Tanks

Though fertilizer and commodity prices seem to have settled, there is still an air of uncertainty in the overall economy that’s affecting allied ag equipment sales, says Ron Lager, sales manager with Precision Tank & Equipment (PT&E). He believes customers have pulled through the tougher times and are showing renewed interest in purchasing. However, it’s still a cautious interest and most of the purchasing is replacement and strictly what’s needed, he says.

Ken Hunter, president of Hunter Agri-Sales, reports fewer leads for large-volume containment projects, but larger-scale construction is not on a total hold. In fact, Lager has seen a few big companies building mega-plants this year: “As smaller plants strive for purchasing power, these new plants offer significant savings for the end users as well as a more efficient means of doing business,” he says.

Fiberglass Meets Metal

Precision Tank — famous for its steel tanks — has found big gains lately with fiberglass tanks, constructing a new facility devoted to the products. Lager believes fiberglass “is the hot topic right now. With improvements in manufacturing techniques and components, fiberglass pricing will continue to be competitive, while providing great longevity and maintenance advantages,” he says.

Dennis Neal, president of Enviropac, Inc., would second that. “We are having one of our biggest years ever in the fiberglass tank business in both agricultural and industrial,” says Neal.

He adds that Enviropac’s supplier has been in business for over 40 years and really understands customers’ needs and how to build the product needed for the marketplace. One major issue with oversized tank loads is always freight. “With its fleet of trucks with cranes on-board, our source can deliver all tanks that a customer orders on the same day, which greatly minimizes crane costs for the customer,” he says.

Gery Conlin, president of Mid-State Tank, says sales of his company’s stainless products for the ag market — which include tanks for most of the major sprayer manufacturers’ self-propelled units — have started to pick up again after a dip. “That market appears to be very strong heading into the fall, as does the market for nurse tanks,” he says.

Conlin attests that stainless steel and aluminum supplies have not been a problem — it’s their prices, up from a year ago, that are a concern. Prices have been volatile because the cost of nickel has been high. “It’s a precious metal, a whole different animal … its price does not necessarily fluctuate with supply and demand,” he says. Mid-State has had to pass material costs on to customers, just like all stainless steel equipment manufacturers.

Last year at this time, Mid-State was celebrating the completion of its new 33,000-square-foot facility, geared in particular for construction of 20,000- and 30,000-gallon storage tanks. The building was also designed for the company’s non-ag markets, to handle airport de-icer tanks, industrial chemical tanks, fire tankers, and pressure vacuum truck-mounted tanks. Unfortunately, sales in 2010 in those arenas dropped “off the chart, declining very, very substantially,” notes Conlin — another sign of a sagging economy. “We were struggling to keep that building busy, up until the last two months,” he says.

Hunter reports the same for his containment business. Sales were down considerably over the past year, which he attributes to a poor economy, higher taxes and bigger government — all creating a slowdown in the private sector, he says. But orders started picking up in August, and the company’s portable Plia-Pads moved much of the year because regulations in more states are requiring airplanes to fill product on load pads.

Other tank suppliers had a few words of advice with 2011 approaching. “It’s not the year to procrastinate if you need equipment,” PT&E’s Lager warns. As dealers realize they need equipment replaced in coming months, he cautions that lead times will be increasing at a quick pace.

Both Hunter and Conlin would both recommend making buying decisions based on quality, not price.

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories
EquipmentMeeting Changing Liquid Storage Needs
October 10, 2014
Tank and containment choices are expanding with shifts in farming practices and the economy. Read More
Precision AgGoogle Glass: New Tool For Ag
October 8, 2014
New wearable smart technologies such as Google Glass show potential to greatly impact how we accomplish the business of feeding the world. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: Finding The Payback
September 6, 2014
Profitability in precision ag is not about any one technology, but the result of employing technology in a total system approach that is agronomically sound. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad To Share Positive Message
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
CropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More