NH3 Rigs Go High-Tech

NH3 application

In the face of escalating fertilizer prices, anhydrous ammonia (NH3) continues to be an affordable workhorse product. “We’re going to continue to see strong demand for anhydrous — at least in this area — because it is the cheapest use of nitrogen for direct application,” says Dave Coppess of Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA.

Lauren Kiest, head of aNH3, would go further: “Anhydrous use is cost-driven … it’s gaining market share.” In fact at Thurston Manufacturing/BLU-JET, Nick Jensen, vice president of manufacturing, reports record demand for NH3 application products. “Due to the cost of alternatives and our recent advances in NH3 technology, orders have soared,” he says. Companies are not only heeding customers’ calls for larger applicators but they’re bringing in an assortment of helpful tools to make each pound of this nitrogen form count.

Going Wide

Jensen says users really like the longer widths of toolbars that manufacturers are turning out — at BLU-JET, 60-foot on anhydrous units and 90-foot on liquid applicators. In addition, they like mainframes and row units that require less maintenance and are strip-till capable, he says. Earlier this year, BLU-JET’s Strip Till Systems products — a line that includes mainframes as well as highly adjustable, versatile components that can match a great variety of soil types and residue conditions — were honored by no-till farmers. “The implements can deliver NH3, liquid, dry, or dual placement fertilizer solutions in a one-pass application,” describes Jensen.

Wako Inc. offers the XT anhydrous toolbars in five lengths, up to 51 feet. It’s a low maintenance applicator that’s built to handle the abuse of today’s high horsepower tractors, says Wayne Bland, sales director. Wako’s Big Country Wagon quad toolbar is available in lengths up to 59 feet and can do triple duty as a chisel, fertilizer applicator, and field finisher. Its self-leveling system does “near perfect sealing” of anhydrous ammonia, Bland adds.

New from Ag Systems, Inc. is the monster 62-foot Nitromaster 8500 Series pull-type applicator. Paul Lenz says the unit is big, strong, and flexible and can do fall application, preplant NH3 work, and strip-till or zone banding. The Nitromaster 8500′s super heavy-duty wall tubing is designed to carry the heavy loads of coulters, spring bundles, and disc sealers.

Last year, Jenner Sales of Harristown, IL, sold out of Case IH’s “big bars” — the 52½-foot Nutri Placr NTX5310, says James Fehr, sales director. He credits the popularity of these rigs, in part, to the rise of strip-till practices.

“We account much of our recent growth, particularly in our strip-till product line, to the increase of input costs,” says Jensen. “As more growers realize the savings in fuel through a one-pass tillage system and see the benefits of maximizing their fertilizers’ efficiencies through root zone application, they have called upon our products as part of their solution.”

Growers are buying their own bars, says Fehr, to be ready to do their own application. Kiest adds that new farmer wealth is a factor, too. “Now it is apparently time to catch up in buying,” he says.

Toolbar users also appreciate being able to choose a size that fits their needs. Companies such as Dalton Ag Products, Wako Inc., and Agri-Products, Inc. offer a range of bar widths — and some do custom construction. And Thurston, WAKO, and Case IH give dealers and growers the chance to build their own systems, adding only the components needed for their particular field work.

Under Control

Kiest says aNH3 has released a number of updates and new components for its Equaply system to aid anhydrous application, including an injector called the N-Saver that injects N-Serve (anhydrous stabilizer) into the anhydrous stream as it runs to the manifolds. It allows a ratio of the stabilizer to anhydrous — and makes possible variable-rate N-Serve, explains Kiest, “It saves users money when they buy N-Serve in bulk.

“We also have a new electronic in-cab pressure monitoring system which alarms when a row has the wrong amount of anhydrous,” he adds. Plus, because aNH3 switched from hydraulic to electric operated manifold valves, the Equaply system can now interface with variable-rate controllers, such as Ag Leader Insight and John Deere GreenStar.

Controllers will be playing a larger role as dealers help growers maximize nitrogen sources. Heartland’s Coppess says his company will be investing in more variable-rate equipment — “in particular controllers for the toolbars are going to be needed.”

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
SprayersHooded Sprayers Help Minimize Spray Drift
May 15, 2014
Willmar Fabrica­tion's hooded sprayers have the potential to minimize pesticide drift, especially when combined with other drift reduction technologies, such as drift retardant adjuvants or low-drift nozzles. Read More
Nozzles18 Spray Nozzles That Reduce Drift, Optimize Coverage
May 7, 2014
This year’s line-up of tips feature the versatility to handle any spray job. View photos and product descriptions of the latest nozzles on the market in our slideshow. Read More
NozzlesChanging Crop Protection Landscape Demands Drift Advances
May 1, 2014
New weed control systems and growing public pressure mean technologies to minimize drift can’t come fast enough. Read More

Trending Articles

EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More
CropLife 10013 Key Acquisitions Pinnacle Has Made In The First Half Of 2014
May 29, 2014
The only thing that has reached a more frenzied pace than #plant14 might be the multiple acquisitions that Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has made in the first half of the year. Read More

Latest News

Soybean Field
InsecticidesTranform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 100…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 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
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More
FertilizerHow To Minimize Phosphorus Losses In Runoff
July 15, 2014
Phosphorus losses from agricultural fields can be divided into three categories: flash losses of soluble phosphorus, slow leak losses and erosion events. Here's how to minimize losses in each instance. Read More
ManagementCalifornia Drought Threatens To Dry Up Farm Wells
July 15, 2014
Farmers hit hardest by California's drought could begin to see wells run dry next year, according to a new study by The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Read More