Tank Capacity Crucial

Capacity and longevity continue to be key sales points as tank and containment manufacturers experience another brisk year. A few products stand out. First off, both steel and fiberglass are pretty hot with buyers, though fiberglass products might have the edge. Both tanks are getting larger in capacity and more specialized in what they can store, says Enviropac President Dennis Neal – who also reports, “this will be a record year in sales for us.”

Tank sales continue to be strong for Precision Tank and Equipment (PT&E) as well, with a noticeable shift from mild steel to fiberglass on the company’s large storage tanks – and growing demand for ever larger nurse tanks, says Gary Ruff, PT&E regional sales manager. The double whammy is creating backlogs in production, with no change in workload for the foreseeable future.

Manufacturers we spoke with saw keener interest than ever before in their products at summer shows such as MAGIE. “Our customers themselves are anticipating another strong year in 2014 with no slowdown in the immediate future,” explains Tom Munro with Mid-State Tank.

Another reason for tank demand is that farmers are starting to put in containment and storage facilities the size that were put in dealerships 10 or 15 years ago, explains Neal. “There is a new demand out there for on farm storage and containment,” he says. “And farmers in most areas have to meet the same containment requirements that the ag dealer has to with proper containment facilities.”

Chris Brooks, president of The Heartland Tank Companies, reports customers are building more double wall liquid storage tanks. Why? He believes a double wall tank with two bottoms with leak detection is the “purest form of containment” and is accepted everywhere as a viable means of containment.

In addition, he sees more customers with tanks in approved containment systems also installing PVC liners or internal coatings for corrosion protection. They’re trying to preserve their capital assets for as long as possible.

Some Enviropac customers – who own tanks ranging from 10,000 gallons to over 1 million gallons – are purchasing Enviro-Coat Rust Resister to help maintain them. Interior tank protection is important as well, especially with the corrosive nature of many of the products being stored.

“Every five years large tanks are required to have API653 inspections, and Enviro-Coat is protecting these tanks and helping provide good inspection reports,” says Neal.

Fortunately, materials costs for tanks have been relatively flat for some time – giving customers some relief from increasing prices on other commodities, says Ruff. But he notes that PT&E’s increasing trade area and fuel costs “raise freight costs to uncomfortable levels as we get to outlying states.”

The Rush For Tanks

“Many of our customers are concerned about getting enough fertilizer to meet their needs, so they need to buy early – and be able to take the product and store it,” Heartland’s Brooks explains. He says his firm is still very busy with four to seven month backlogs, and bookings for new large tanks and internal liners are already strong for 2014.

Indeed. With the volatility in all commodity prices, dealers and growers understand with the proper storage and containment, they can take much better control of their operating costs, says Neal.  In fact, he has found buyers continue to get “more knowledgeable and forward-thinking than ever,” looking beyond a current year’s build. “They’re making certain what they do fits with their long term plans,” he notes.

Brooks warns buyers to plan for at least a nine-month window from initial order to completion of a tank project.

“One of biggest challenge we face is timing,” agrees Neal. Dealers are so busy with spring and summer applications and by the time they can set down and make decisions. Delivery lead time is quite long. This may be another reason that the better dealers are becoming more forward thinkers.”

PT&E’s Ruff is actually seeing customers order earlier than normal to get their deliveries in a timely manner. “We encourage this, as we fully expect lead times on production to increase as we get into the busier times of the year,” he says.

While raw material costs have not been a problem for steel users, Heartland’s Brooks does raise a new concern about quality. “We are seeing a lot more foreign steel entering the marketplace, and many companies are buying this material due to pricing discounts.” He warns that not all material is the same and much of the foreign product does not have mill certifications.

Along that line, dealers should be sure their tanks are built to API 650 Specifications. “Ask for mill certification from your tank vendor and originals of x-ray film and x-ray reports,” he suggests.

The Containment Factor

Neal has noticed the dealers are very conscious about taking care of their facilities and are wanting to update their containment. Many liner systems are going in over cracked concrete. Neal sells systems designed by Hunter Agri-Sales. The firm’s flagship product, the Plia-Dike is constructed with tough, pre-form poly wall panels that will not rust, crack or corrode. Its polyethylene and synthetic rubber construction is unaffected by freeze and thaw cycles and provides resistance to many chemicals.

Ken Hunter, company president, notes that a problem for all diking systems is what to do with rainwater. His solution: Plia-Dike components include an optional rain and spill capture elimination sump and dry sump spillage alert system.

International Tank Service recommends that customers start out with a concrete foundation, in contrast to the earthen foundations or gravel and sand pads more commonly used at fertilizer businesses. These heavy duty foundations can come in two forms: a concrete slab above grade or a concrete ringwall which is then filled inside with sand. A tank is built on top.

The goal is to get fertilizer tanks up, out of the water. “We’re seeing where some of these fertilizer tanks that have been in business 15-20 years, the undersides are corroding and rusting out because they’re laying in water after two or three good rains,” describes Butch Kirk, ITS president. Dike walls flood with water and that water runs under tanks. After several years, dealers have to put a steel floor in.

Kirk says that to make a sale these days, his staff has to be diligent, answer lots of questions, do budget plans and help customers draw up business plans and models. Currently, ITS has developed “a fair amount” of work orders, but potential customers have not released the orders yet. “It’s still a tough economy, but there’s still work out there,” Kirk has found.

Hunter would agree that selling systems lately can be a struggle. In part, he blames Washington, DC, where Congress has been so slow to approve farm programs. In some cases, growers are facing uncertain finances and are stalling buying decisions. “They don’t know what to do, so they do nothing,” observes Hunter. The economic effect ripples thoughout ag.

J.C. Ramsdell Enviro Services uses wood – suitable for containment of corrosive products such as liquid fertilizer and pesticides – in its Wood-Guard secondary containment systems. They’re constructed of No. 1 lumber that is custom treated for ground contact and potential decay, says Christina Schmidt. “The lumber we use is special ordered direct from the mill to ensure that it is treated to our requirements,” she adds.  “The systems never crack and can be installed in days.”

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

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
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
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
EquipmentDeere Announces Factory Layoffs
August 18, 2014
Deere & Co. has announced it will reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories in response to current market demand for its products. Read More

Trending Articles

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
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More

Latest News

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
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More