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

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. 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
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

Latest News

CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More