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

EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patriot Sprayer
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
Trending Articles
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
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
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More