Altering NH3 Rig Cuts Costs, Increases Danger

Application drivers or grower-customers need to be very careful when using modified anhydrous ammonia applicators. This safety issue is so important, CropLife eNews is sharing this article written by Mark Hanna, an Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer in agricultural and biosystems engineering with responsibilities in field machinery.

High nitrogen fertilizer prices have producers and ag input suppliers searching for ways to reduce costs and gain efficiency. Some anhydrous ammonia applicators have responded by modifying equipment to allow control of flow to individual sections of an applicator, or even to individual knives. These modifications are being made in order to avoid unwanted nitrogen application on overlapping rows, near field boundaries, or into waterways.

Although this is a sound strategy to limit unwanted fertilizer application, individual section or knife shutoff valves on an anhydrous ammonia toolbar can trap pressurized ammonia at various locations within the system. Operators should take care to bleed all lines including those to individual soil injectors that may still be under pressure before attempting any servicing or work on or around the system.

Additional Care Needed When Working Around Equipment
Installing a small bleeder valve upstream of any section or knife shutoff valve allows an operator to bleed off trapped, pressurized ammonia before working on those sections or lines. Because these systems are relatively new, and bleeder valves may not be present, it is important to empty all lines before working around the equipment.

To bleed pressure from the applicator, operators should:

  1. Shut off ammonia flow first at the supplying field nurse tank.
  2. Then open individual knife or section valves farthest downstream in the plumbing system.
  3. Follow this by opening any upstream section-control valves.
  4. Finally, open the main flow valve.

This procedure opens valves successively upstream in the plumbing system allowing system pressure to be released.

Wear Appropriate Gear
In addition to bleeding pressure from hoses and fittings, individuals working around the equipment should always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, gloves, and vented or splash-proofed goggles to prevent injury from minor amounts of ammonia that still may be present in the system. Having readily available water is especially important to flush tissue that may be affected by an ammonia release.

Even if the ammonia plumbing system has been properly bled, openings in hoses, lines, or valves should be treated as exit points for ammonia. Heat from surroundings or sunlight can vaporize small amounts of liquid ammonia still contained in the system and cause unexpected release as hoses or equipment is moved. Caution is always of paramount importance.

Working With Maximum Pressure
Hoses on applicators upstream from shutoff valves must be capable of handling maximum expected pressure within the system at that point. Maximum pressure is often supply (tank) pressure or that delivered by a supply pump along with an added safety factor. All ball valves should be rated for use with anhydrous ammonia and vented to the inlet side. If not properly vented, liquid ammonia can become trapped in the valve’s closed position and later release when the valve is opened.

(Source: Iowa State University Extension’s Integrated Crop Management News)

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More
ManagementUpdates on Upcoming Trips, Dow-DuPont, and the Des Moin…
February 9, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review a few future travels, along with the latest on big company mergers and Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championshi…
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Prem…
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Industry NewsThe Fertilizer Institute Board Elects New Chairman, Vic…
February 8, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) Board of Directors has elected Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Agrium, and Tony Will, President Read More
Sonny Perdue
ManagementARA Joins More Than 600 Organizations In Support Of Per…
February 8, 2017
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recently joined with more than 600 agricultural groups on a letter of support for Governor Read More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit Panel 2016
Crop InputsWorld Agri-Tech Innovation Summit To Be Held In San Fra…
February 8, 2017
“Breakthrough Applications and Business Models for Sustainable Farming” is the theme of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to be held Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojConsolidation In Agriculture: More Middle Movement
February 7, 2017
If you’ve regularly followed my column, you know I’m something of a movie junkie. Like many, one of my favorite Read More