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January 30, 2018
Tender Innovations Off the Chart for Fertilizer, Seed Handling
...as published in CropLife
Over the past year, the customer has become the real winner because manufacturers are building tenders so competitively, says Ronald Hays, Owner of Hays-LTI. “Companies are continuously making safety and performance improvements to provide the highest quality equipment,” he says.
The level of innovation is striking. In 2017, several manufacturers either introduced brand new or entirely redesigned tenders — or made major upgrades in existing units.
Environment for Changes
The recent flurry of activity in this equipment segment comes at a time when many feel the tender market is looking up. For one thing, manufacturers agreed that dry versus liquid fertilizer applications are increasing, in great part because of the lower cost of dry product in these tight economic times.
Yields have been huge the past few years, so companies say plenty of fertilizer is needed on farms. Bob Eakins, Vice President of Ray-Man, saw lots of corn and beans this past fall, and “it’s going to take a lot of fertilizer to replenish all that. It’s good. They’re going to need to haul a lot of fertilizer back to the field,” he says.
Capacity still tops the list of features on customers’ wish lists. “Buyers want the larger truck boxes and larger trailers with more axels on the ground to scale more weight for road travel,” says Ray-Man’s Eakins.
Also contributing to the “go bigger” trend is the continuing mergers of cooperatives. “As they merge, their territory to cover increases, which increases the need for the larger units with quick turnaround from plant to field to supply the demand, points out Derek Wegner, Operational Research Analyst at Brehmer Manufacturing.
The tender market is also stronger because many crop advisors are recommending split applying nitrogen and getting it applied as late in the growing season as possible, says Greg Haffley, Product Manager with Ag Systems. Hence, the need for equipment to spread encapsulated urea in taller corn — and the need for tenders to supply product to high clearance applicators.
“Even though anhydrous ammonia is still popular in many areas, it’s coming under increased scrutiny on the timing of the application,” he adds. “Some locations are even getting out of the anhydrous business completely for this reason.” Then too, applying a 28% solution of nitrogen in the spring is somewhat limited due to the fact that the applicators are limited in height.
A lot of the dry spreaders have gotten higher off the ground, says Denny Stahl, Regional Sales Manager at Norwood Sales. Producers are topdressing corn, cotton and peanuts because they feel there’s a better penetration into the soils with the dry than with the liquid.
Though demand for tenders remains strong, Jon Simonsen, General Manager of Simonsen Industries, is hearing from some customers that their budgets are being reviewed and in some cases, reduced, causing tender purchases to be reduced or delayed. “But these issues are not new to the fertilizer equipment industry and are to be expected periodically in an industry as cyclical as ag,” he noted.
KBH Corp. completely redeveloped its two-compartment tender (25-ton, 24-foot long) from the ground up, reports Tim Tenhet, National Sales and Marketing Manager. “We essentially scraped our manufacturing jigs, that whole previous platform, and built an all new Model TT2000 series tender, available in rear or side discharge.
“We heard our customers saying that they wanted a lighter trailer, so we took close to a ton off of it. We added about 10% hopper capacity, replaced our old mild steel hopper frame with a stainless hopper frame, and steepened the hopper slopes for better product flow,” he describes. The units feature a number of more subtle changes as well.
KBH has also developed an all-new 3 compartment tender, the Model TT3000 series, and improved a number of features on its four-compartment Model TT4000.
Since June the company has been rolling its new dry tenders by as many dealers as possible, to the tune of several hundred fertilizer stores in the South, Southeast and Eastern Corn Belt so far, says Tenhet. “We’ve really hit a home run on this thing. Customers are saying why didn’t we do this a long time ago?”
Simonsen has introduced 304 stainless steel side and top auger tenders as well as made several upgrades in both its 304 and 409 tender lines. “We are seeing very positive responses from our customers,” says Jon Simonsen.
Ag Systems MT 900-TA
Ag Systems’ new MT 900-TA tender hit the market “with great reviews” in 2017, says Haffley. Made of 304 stainless steel with 900 cubic foot capacity, the unit is unique for two reasons. “It’s designed with 50-degree sloped sides, which not only speeds up unloading but helps to speed up clean-out as well,” he says. “The other reason is safety — the MT 900-TA doesn’t have a catwalk on the outside. Instead, there are windows built into the unit that allow users to monitor their loads from ground level.”
Another unique feature: Its auger. The auger can move 270 degrees, allowing for loading the floater in the center rather than on the inner side of the box. This means the MT 900-TA has an auger clearance range of 15 to 23 feet, which allows it to easily unload into all floaters — which continue to get taller.
From Norwood Sales, the new four-compartment SST 933 Uni-Body Stainless Steel Trailer is constructed of 304 stainless steel, allowing for lighter trailer weights and higher payloads. The “top grade” stainless and uni-body design mean there is no metal under the unit to degrade from the fertilizer and harsh materials put in tenders, says Stahl.
He also claims the unit puts out product about two times faster than other units on the market. “The guys that are buying them are telling me that when they get to the ports and unload, they’re doing it in half the time it used to take. Time is important to them.”
Norwood also offers the SST 1166, which has five compartments. And the company does build trailer-mounted units for buyers that don’t need the “splashy stainless steel and aluminum wheels,” Stahl says.
The firm’s new 16-ton truck mount tender has been received extremely well. Truck tenders have been common in the past, but the units faded in popularity over the past several years. The design seems to be coming back, says Stahl. “Retailers and growers thought they could do without it, but it’s just a two-hopper tender they can use to fill the gaps with the larger tenders,” he points out.
Over the past year, the Quickveyor team has been collaborating with customers to make several significant improvements in the Quickveyor system.
“We updated the entire conveyor system using cutting-edge 3-D design to optimize the Quickveyor,” describes Shan Kruse, General Manager and Director of Product Development at Peterson Motors. For instance, the unit now features an all-aluminum side rail that saves weight, improves strength and virtually eliminates multiple corrosion issues. Lift height and swing width have been increased. And the Quickveyor’s 27-ton legal payload has been improved, while still being able to haul a full load of urea.
At Brehmer, the firm is currently building on to its existing facility to allow for increased production. In addition, “our engineering team has been hard at work testing power units that deliver our required performance while giving the customer an affordable price,” says Wegner. “Government regulations control the amount of emission a diesel motor can produce, thus making Tier 4 Final diesel motors the new standard.”
The team at Chandler has changed and improved some steps in its manufacturing process, with one result being production lead times have been reduced, says Michael Sosebee, Sales Manager at Chandler Equipment. The company’s units include many of the features being implemented across the industry recently, he notes.
Hays LTI has made several improvements to its 24-Ton Tender line, which already offered a steeper hopper slope, high capacity and lower trailer weight. And moving into a new facility has allowed the company to grow its equipment line and increase production. “We’re getting tenders to fields across the U.S. quicker than we ever have,” says Ronald Hays.
He’s also excited that his company’s line of 6-, 8-, and 10-ton tenders “have been received so well by the industry.”
The Willmar Sideshooter tender will debut a number of new features in 2018, says Nate Reznechek, Sales Director for Fertilizer and Willmar at InterSystems/GSI. Among the changes: The company has increased the discharge height for the 17-foot auger from 14 feet, one inch to 16 feet, 7 inches, to provide better clearance, especially for uneven field conditions; a new cleanout port on the auger side of the hopper now offers ground-level access for better safety and convenience; and an easy-to-install and maintain vibrator improves flow of product through the discharge auger.
“These upgrades are the first phase of ongoing improvements to enhance the quality and performance of the Willmar product line-up,” says Reznechek.
More specialized equipment companies, such as in seed tenders, are perhaps feeling the recent economic pinch the most these days.
“We watch the markets — grain and corn — and what farmers are earning back from their yields. Ultimately it can’t get any worse,” says Laura Underwood, Marketing Coordinator at HitchDoc. But with the current political climate, she thinks exports will grow, and commodity markets will turn eventually around.
She’s seen a trend with HitchDoc’s Travis Seed Cart where more seed dealers have been buying the units rather than growers. The reason: The bulk seed cart can deliver seed in the spring and again in the fall during harvest.
In 2016 HitchDoc released a line of conveyor-style seed tenders. To handle seed more gently, the conveyors “polycup” around the seed to prevent damage, says Underwood. And the auger carts feature a reverser. When it is done running, operators can just back the seed out of the auger rather than having it pinched.
January 24, 2017
Competition Spurs Innovation For Fertilizer And Seed Tenders
...as published in CropLife
As one manufacturer graciously put it, tenders are a “mature market” now. That is to say, there are more companies than ever producing the units — and the competition for retailers’ dollars is intense.
Why more tender suppliers? In part, firms that have done business regionally in the past have been expanding their territories. For instance, Nebraska-based Brehmer Manufacturing now has dealers and techs in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa, says Derek Wegner, Operational Research Analyst. The firm plans to expand again, responding to requests from equipment dealers that want to represent its products.
“We’re having to brush off our sales skills,” notes Mike Sosebee, Chandler Equipment. “It’s not just pick up the phone when somebody calls and wants to order a $60,000 to $70,000 tender saying, ‘Send me one.’”
This challenge also comes at a time when the sluggish ag economy means both growers and dealers are eyeing equipment investments carefully. But manufacturers CropLife® magazine talked with rated their sales from decent to record-setting. Not only is there a whole lot of fertilizer to get to fields tapped by two years of record harvests, units purchased years ago are wearing out.
Shan Kruse, General Manager and Director of Product Development at Peterson Motors, says he’s getting indications that demand for Quickveyor units this spring is going to be strong as stabilizing — and recently, rising — commodity prices have combined with record-breaking harvests.
Then too, dry fertilizer prices have been favorable (particularly compared to liquid fertilizer and liquid equipment) which bodes well for dry fertilizer tender sales, says Tim Tenhet, National Sales and Marketing Manager, KBH Corp. “We manufacture both, so we see both ends of it,” he says.
Dry tenders have been on the market 20 years now, he also points out. “So we’re beginning to see a big replacement market just coming online.”
Quickveyor sales have increased as well, because individual farmers, co-ops and other companies are replacing older equipment and expanding, says Kruse.
Capacity Still Key
Demand for bigger tenders continues to be strong. One factor here: “Consolidation of retail blending facilities requires larger tender to serve customers farther away those plants,” says Bob Eakins, Ray-Man.
Chandler debuted its new large capacity (575-cubic-foot) truck-mounted tender, called the SDT-MH 18, this summer. Sosebee says customers don’t necessarily want to carry more weight — but more capacity. They need more room to haul lighter products like urea. “That’s where this tender comes in,” he explains.
In 2016 Hays LTI also introduced its new three compartment 920-cubic-foot tender, as well as pull-type tenders in three different size — 180-cubic-foot, 280-cubic-foot, and 350-cubic-foot. These new tenders offer the same ease of operation as the company’s two compartment, 880-cubic-foot tender, including an open design for cleaning and maintenance, a heavy-duty frame, stainless components, hydraulic main, and clean-out doors.
One challenge retailers and tender manufacturers face is working within states’ regulations on road weights of rigs. Brehmer’s Wegner says bridge laws, in particular, can impact buying decisions. “We work with our customers to design a unit that fits their needs and complies with their state regulations,” he says.
Operator safety is getting more attention than ever, and manufacturers are responding with a host of safety features. For instance, Chandler’s new unit cleans out exceptionally well “so it basically keeps feet on the ground,” says Sosebee. The key here is a greater degree of slope on hopper sides.
Doyle has added port inspection holes on the tenders, so operators can see product levels easily. The company has also developed a “safety stick,” much like today’s selfie sticks, for operators. Spokesperson David Juette explains the stick features a camera system that allows drivers to stand on the ground while the device extends out so they can look inside the tender.
Remote-controlled tenders can also aid safety — and efficiency. KBH now has wireless remote units operating from Oregon to North Carolina. And while the technology is not for everyone because of its pricetag, “any time an operator can run his applicator and his tender by himself without leaving the safety and convenience of the applicator platform, there is something to be said for that,” says Tenhet.
Last year saw the introduction of a fully remote-controlled Quickveyor. This option allows a customer to operate the unit by himself from the top of an air-seeder, controlling all functions, including pony motor start, conveyor on, compartment select, and conveyor tube positioning.
Aside from specific components and features, tender companies were earnest about selling points such as quality and customer service.
One case in point is InterSystems/GSI, now in its second year relaunch¬ing AGCO’s Willmar line of tenders. “We invested significant dollars when we brought the line to Omaha, to the InterSystems plant, says Nate Reznecheck, Crop Nutrient Equipment Sales Manager. “We’re continuing to invest in it with a dedicated project engineering staff, quality control and dealership and customer support initiatives. Customers know the name, the quality, and we’re really going to stand behind it.”
Jon Simonsen, President of Si¬monsen Industries, says the most challenging part of his firm’s year has been changes in distribution. “We have seen several mergers and acquisitions in this area which has both created issues as well as presented good opportunities to shape our distribution channels to better fit today’s environment,” he says.
Quickveyor has made several significant improvements to further increase the corrosion resistance of its unit’s entire system. Due to customer requests, the company now also provides fenders with stainless steel brackets and a new flexible 10-inch spout that easily increases the range of the rear conveyor delivery.
Brehmer’s Wegner says the firm’s design team continues to tweak features in its overhead discharge units and has added grease banks — Brehmer makes its own crimp fittings — so drivers can grease everything from one spot, using powerpack grease guns. “We have also innovated on our bearings, putting stainless steel wipers behind them so they don’t get clogged with fertilizer. Plus, we notch our bearings so they clean out on the bottom side,” says Skip Landholm, sales manager.
Hays LTI will be moving into its new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in 2017, which will give the company room and production capabilities to make new types of equipment.
Seed tenders have also been evolving at a time when retailers and growers are trying to protect their input investments. Recent calls from customers for innovation in this segment surprised HitchDoc’s Vice President Chad Mohns. “Previous auger cart users wanted to see what could be done with conveyor carts. We did our own research on potential seed damage, possible unload speeds, etc.”
The company’s design team got to work, and in October, HitchDoc released a whole new line of conveyor-style seed tenders.
Mohns describes a challenge both his firm and other manufacturers face: With prices of raw materials and inputs on the rise, they want to protect the sale price — so they need to find ways to streamline manufacturing while maintaining a high level of quality.
January 9, 2016
Fertilizer Tenders: New Units Are Geared For Efficiency, Operators
...as published in CropLife
As fertilizer application seasons seem to be getting shorter and more intense, equipment manufacturers are designing tenders to not only move the most product efficiently but make the process easier on operators as well.
Indeed, “the need for more throughput capacity from the applicators is driving the need for more tender productivity whether it is in total unloading time or tender capacity,” says Jon Simonsen, president of Simonsen Industries.
Efficiency was a goal for the designers of the latest model of the Quickveyor, from Peterson Motors. Shannon Kruse, general manager, says the unit can improve users’ bottom line by delivering the largest payload to the field and offloading fertilizer at over 6,000 pounds per minute, Plus, buyers can convert the Quickveyor to a grain hauling hopper system in less than 60 minutes.
Manufacturers reported that overall capacity is still a major factor in tender choice. In fact, Bob Eakins, vice-president of Ray-Man Inc., noted that his company is selling more large truck-mounted tenders and semi-trailers than in previous years.
And Ronald Hays, president of Hays Liquid Transport Inc. says large hopper capacity and fast unloading – with fertilizer flowing smoothly – are two reasons the 24 Ton Hays Tender has been so popular.
But Hays-LTI’s line of smaller units is moving as well. And Simonsen said his team is seeing customers becoming more interested in “right sizing” their new equipment to fit their operations as well. “While lots of capacity is nice, having equipment that is sized appropriately is becoming more prevalent,” he reports.
Besides moving lots of fertilizer fast, companies are also addressing the needs of field operators. For example, the Adams Safety port was the number one selling feature in Adams Fertilizer Equipment’s tender market in 2015, reports Shawn Hudspeth. The port gives operators the ability to inspect and probe product from the ground and keep them off the ladder. It’s now standard on all new 2016 Adams trailers.
Remote control of tender functions is a great way to help drivers, and the concept is catching on. For instance, Adams’ newest technology can control tenders by cell phone or smart pad — or manually, as always, says Hudspeth.
KBH Equipment is in the second year of the launch of its wireless remote system. The technology controls every function of the tender from engine cranking to auger movement to turning the engine off, explains Tim Tehnet, national sales and marketing manager. The system eliminates the need for applicators to climb up and down cab platforms to tend to auger and bin placement. “It saves on driver fatigue and gets the job done faster,” Tenhet says.
KBH is using hardware from the heavy lifting industry in its wireless systems. “It’s tried and true,” says Tenhet. “In the crane industry you can’t use hardware that doesn’t function right. When you’ve got 20 tons of concrete going up a skyscraper, there’s no room for error.”
Remote controls have been incorporated into almost every operational aspect of the Quickveyor’s systems, says Kruse. “It is now possible to remotely manage the tarp, compartment traps, rear LED floods and the side-to-side location of the rear tube (the ‘Swinger’),” he describes. And more remote control functions are in the works for 2016.
In fact, the Swinger was a big hit at last summer’s shows, he says. This option allows the user to remotely adjust the rear tube conveyor side-to-side for flexible delivery into multiple compartments, or filling a large compartment end-to-end, or simply to refine the drop point without moving vehicles.
Steel has always been the metal of choice for tender box components, but KBH is now the first company to use aluminum to make hopper frames. “Customers have told us they want lighter tenders to achieve a higher legal payload — as well as a more durable metal to hold up against the corrosive nature of fertilizer. Aluminum gives us both of those,” says Tenhet.
For a long time, aluminum has been deemed too pricey to be used in tender construction, but Tenhet says that when his team did their homework, they were pleasantly surprised at the affordability. Hence, aluminum frames are available now “at only a slight increase in price” on new KBH units.
Peterson Motors put together a product improvement team with Merritt to make several significant upgrades to the corrosion resistance of its aluminum and stainless steel Quickveyor. “We have gotten input from customers on the need to provide more lighting,” says Kruse. “So, we are now including under carriage LED lighting in the base model, as well as offering internal and rear flood LED lighting options.”
Another company with a different approach to moving product itselve has been Norwood Sales Inc. The firm offers stainless steel tenders that feature belt conveyors instead of augers. The reason? “We’re marketing these tenders to end users with multiple uses in mind,” says Nate Larson, manager. “With a belt conveyor you have the delicate handling for seed as well as the capability to handle the fertilizer.”
Looking to the year ahead, InterSystems/AGCO “will be very aggressive in rolling out new features in its Willmar line,” says Nate Reznechek, crop nutrient equipment sales manager. In fact, in 2015 AGCO moved the manufacture of the line from Sioux City, IA, to Omaha, NE — under the InterSystems/GSI brand. “We have units rolling off the floor now, with both tenders and spreaders being delivered,” he says.
InterSystems just added a full-time product engineer to its team, to help carry on Willmar’s reputation for quality. “Willmar has been for years and will continue to be the standard,” says Reznechek.
Feeling The Pinch
In reflecting on the tender market, KBH’s Tenhet admits the ag economy has been experiencing very trying times, but he is hopeful that the downturn will not last past 2016 – and there will be a rebound in commodity prices in 2017. At presstime, he was more positive than even in just September. “We have enough sales activity going into 2016 that we’re going to be on solid ground through the first half of 2016 anyway,” he notes.
Peterson Motors is finding much the same scenario. Significantly lower commodity prices than in the recent past and capital and input costs at historic high levels have affected everyone’s purchase decisions through the fall, says Kruse. “However, a large harvest and optimism for the next year — supported by falling fertilizer prices — has made a positive impact on tender purchases through the fall,” he says.
Simonsen was upbeat as well and noted that continuing consolidation and new plant construction drove tender sales in great part in 2015. He does offer a qualifier: “Some of our customers seem to be cautious about spending levels. Some have opted to continue utilizing existing equipment for another season instead of replacing it.”
January 15, 2015
Fertilizer Tenders Ready for Possible Amped-Up Spring
...as published in CropLife
A complex set of factors in ag markets are impacting sales of — and demands on — tenders these days. To start with, crop prices are causing some dealers and growers to pause before investing in new tenders.
“We think that this year’s fall in commodity prices, particularly corn, is probably the single biggest variable that started weighing down the dry tender market in late 2014. But good yields throughout most of the U.S., coupled with market stability, should enable the dry tender market to remain strong,” says Tim Tenhet at KBH Corp.
Conor Bergin, tactical marketing manager at AGCO Application Equipment, says the market is causing many producers and retailers to delay decisions on purchasing fertilizer and fertilizer equipment. In light of that uncertainty, he says Willmar’s biggest challenge is to properly manage inventory to ensure it has the right products available when dealers and their customers are ready to order. (Though he notes that Willmar has a broad product lineup to meet different application needs, and he feels the company is well-positioned to manage the demand.)
As well as tightening budgets, tender companies are facing unparalleled competition for tender purchase dollars, says Michael Tibbett of Adams Fertilizer Equipment. In fact, CropLife® contacted almost a dozen manufacturers for this story.
Crop prices are also setting the tone for planting intentions this year, with some growers pulling back from 2014’s near-record acreages. Ultimately, fewer fields may need less fertilizer.
Another negative market factor, adds Jon Simonsen of Simonsen Industries, is ethanol uncertainty. He says the current price of ethanol, changes in blending regulations and the rising value of the dollar has caused some concern about the sustainability of future growth in the ethanol industry. “As the stronger U.S. dollar drives down worldwide oil prices, ethanol as an alternative fuel source becomes less profitable,” he points out.
Finally, delays in the construction of new fertilizer facilities has caused some dealers to push back their purchases of equipment until their new plants can be completed, says Simonsen.
On The Other Hand
While challenges may lie ahead, most manufacturers we talked with reported strong or even record sales of tenders in 2014. Why? Many customers continue to consolidate locations and build their tender fleet to service larger territories from a centralized location, says Simonsen.
The demands of ever-bigger farms have also created significant retailer interest in upgrading tender fleets with advanced tender traits, larger payloads, faster delivery rates and higher reliability, says Shan Kruse, general manager and director of product development at Peterson Motors Co./Quickveyor.
Another sign of a tender sales boom in some quarters is the number of manufacturers that have had to increase the size of their space. Production of Willmar units recently moved to a 172,000-square-foot fabrication facility in Sioux City, IA. The move enabled Willmar production to shift from a seasonal to full-time basis to keep pace with demand for fertilizer application equipment and provide the necessary space to build larger models, explains AGCO’s Bergin.
In addition, in 2015, Doyle Manufacturing is gearing up to move into its new, larger facilities near Palmyra, MO.
Some tender experts feel a case could be made for a strong spring application season and accompanying fertilizer equipment support needs.
For one thing, last season’s huge harvest likely tapped soils of nutrients across the country, creating a hefty fertilizer requirement going into 2015, points out Kruse.
In addition, limited fertilizer went down this fall. The weather impacted crops on the front end of the 2014 season, causing late planting, then a cooler and wetter-than-usual growing season resulted in late harvests. Kruse reports that across a great percentage of the Midwest, a fairly relaxed fall harvest season “came to an unexpected and abrupt end with the arrival of a tsunami-driven arctic storm.”
Simonsen noted that the early and unexpectedly severe cold weather restricted fall application of all anhydrous, plus snowfall across most of the northern states limited application of dry fertilizer. Bottom line: Some company reps are projecting a higher than normal demand for spring.
To meet that demand manufacturers continue to crank up features that deliver increased tender productivity and efficiency.
Capacity. The industry is moving to ever larger-capacity tenders — tenders that have longer-length augers that allow versatility to load any size fertilizer applicator, says AGCO’s Bergin. “Farmers and professional applicators want higher to increase productivity by covering more acres per day,” he says.
Bob Eakins at Ray-Man Inc. has also seen an increase in semi-trailers with high capacities to increase payload. Plus, customers are ordering longer discharge augers to fill the larger applicators, he says.
Speed. Manufacturers are constantly vying to claim the title for fastest fertilizer output.
Flexibility. Tender flexibility seems to be growing in importance for buyers. They want units that can handle multiple products and multiple commodities during multiple seasons. For instance, Peterson Motors’ Quickveyor can unload into a pit during fertilizer season and easily convert back into a commodity trailer in the off-season, says Kruse.
One unit that offers a number of uses is Norwood Sales Inc.’s new S3 Commercial Tender. The S3 is the first commercial tender with non-corrosive poly tanks for easy handling of dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, seed and water — it’s ideal for fertilizer application, planting and spraying uses, says Nate Larson, manager.
The S3 has a modular tank design, and customers decide how many tanks to buy to create the right-sized tender for their operation. Each tank can hold 2,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer, 300 cubic feet of dry fertilizer, 300 units/240 bushels of seed or 2,000 gallons of water.
Norwood also offers stainless steel tenders that feature belt conveyors instead of augers. The reason? Here, too, “we’re marketing these tenders to end users with multiple uses in mind,” says Larson. “With a belt conveyor you have the delicate handling for seed as well as the capability to handle the fertilizer.”
Simpler field operation. Remote control technology is coming to tender equipment, and a number of manufacturers are offering different levels of automation here. Labor-saving devices such as electric tarps are also becoming more popular. In addition, more buyers are willing to invest in self-contained power packs.
Stainless steel. More retailers are buying tenders with 304 stainless steel rather than mild steel components.
Other features have grown in popularity with buyers over the past several seasons. Ronald Hays, president of Hays Liquid Transport Inc. (LTI), says customers have favored his company’s units because of their lower empty trailer weight, user safety and a design that protects tender components — increasing durability.
For Doyle Manufacturing customers, features most appreciated have been the company’s low-maintenance hopper design and the option to split one, two or three bins for more customization. And with the tenders’ discharge rate, “customers have seen a difference in their productivity,” says Monty Doyle, president.
New For 2015
Tender manufacturers are offering a host of updates for the spring season, basing improvements on requests from retailers and growers.
Tenhet says KBH Corp. has developed (and is in full production of) the first fully wireless, remote control tender operation system. “Customers have told us that they wanted to minimize or eliminate trips up and down the applicator ladder,” he says. “We have brought to the market a wireless remote system that controls every function from the cranking of the engine to the turning it off. It’s a big deal, a huge deal.”
Tenhet adds this approach is not an option for everyone, “but for those folks where time is money, it should really provide a great return on its investment.” KBH is also offering a new four-compartment unit for buyers who want to apply multiple products.
New for 2015, Simonsen BFT tenders are now equipped with a large pit dump/cleanout on the vertical auger transition — previously an optional feature. Also available is a vibrating cleanout.
Hays is excited about the new tender designs rolling out of Hays LTI’s plant in 2015, including multi-bin hoppers and a line of smaller tenders.
Peterson Motors has added — as standard equipment — several improvements to its Quickveyor to meet the demand for more “usability.” Quickveyor is now capable of unloading via the rear tube or off the front of the lower pan conveyor. “This creates a trailer that can deliver up to four different commodities to the field and then turn around and deliver a load to the retailer’s pit,” explains Kruse.
All Quickveyor trailers now have undercarriage lighting to enable night use and system monitoring. The addition of the rear flood light option makes it easy to see the working environment behind the trailer. And Kruse reports that with recent improvements to the Quickveyor’s hydraulic and conveyor system (most tenders are now delivered with the self-contained hydraulic system), the company has found that “we have advanced our record-setting unload rate by over 10% — the tender is now capable of unloading over three tons per minute through the rear tube and nearly four tons per minute off the front of the lower conveyor.”
Peterson is currently testing a wireless tube video feed that will enable users within about 150 yards to “see” where the tube downspout is located to greatly improve the driver’s ability to accurately position the Quickveyor for any delivery.
Norwood also has a smaller poly line — geared for farm or seed tender use — that can be pulled behind a pickup. In 2015 the company plans to offer it with an optional stainless steel conveyor, making it ideal for filling planters and spreaders.
December 11, 2014
16 products for harvest and more
...as published in Farm Industry News
Move fertilizer and seed faster with the new Quickveyor trailer from Peterson Motors. Features include a 26.5 to 27 legal ton payload capacity, a stainless steel rear discharge chute with a 2.8 ton per minute rate of delivery, multiple trailer compartments and all stainless fasteners and components. Base list price is $51,000. For more information contact the Watertown, S.D., company at 888-327-8298 or see quickveyor.com
January 2, 2014
Fertilizer Tenders Tackle Corn Acres
...as published in CropLife
Tender makers continue to see high demand for their ever-improving units, with many of them struggling to keep up with demand. But some are also recognizing a mood of caution as commodity prices and Farm Bill passage remain uncertain.
“Without a [Farm Bill] safety net growers may plant fewer acres, use less fertilizer to minimize cost or take land back out of production entirely. Any of these scenarios could hurt retail sales,” says Shawn Hudspeth, sales and marketing at Adams Fertilizer Equipment.
Lower grain prices as well as proposed changes to the ethanol blend restrictions will likely “account for the majority of the headwinds that our industry will face going forward,” says Jon Simonsen of Simonsen Industries. The growers he has spoken with feel the Farm Bill will be extended, for at least one year.
Dave Lovell, manager of field sales and marketing support with AGCO/Willmar, points to the rapid increase in farmland pricing and rent — as well as some input costs — as more of an issue. He believes the uncertainty of commodity prices, Farm Bill passage and, as always, the weather, has caused more than abnormal anxiety with growers and dealers.
CropLife® threw out the topic of Obamacare to manufacturers, trying to gauge how wider national issues are impacting our industry segment. The law “will require about a 5% increase in equipment retail pricing to offset the mandatory imposition of Obamacare,” Hudspeth explains. Adams currently has some 255 full-time employees.
Fertilizer Demand Driving Sales
Still, demand for tenders is strong. Because of the yields growers are getting, more and more tenders are needed to put on larger amounts of fertilizer, says Lovell. “Last year we saw more corn on corn (price-driven) as well as guys shooting for those higher yield goals. In order to reach them, the first thing you need to do is buy more fertilizer,” he adds.
AGCO saw more 24-ton tenders going out the door in 2013, as well as lot of trailers and power pack systems.
Tender companies are working to be proactive these days to meet demand. AGCO is getting its new Sioux City, IA, plant expansion up to speed. And the firm has put processes in place to have needed materials on hand. “In the past we ramped up our production quickly so it caused us to have some part shortages, but we’ve been working hard on having the right parts at the right time,” says Lovell.
Says AGCO/Willmar dealer Brad Moen of FEI Inc.: “We’ve got a lot of them sold and obviously there will be a lot more sold after the first of the year.” He advises dealers to order units as soon as possible. “A lot of people like to have their equipment ready in February because you never know what Mother Nature is going to do. Growers want to get their crop in as early as possible,” he emphasizes.
With tender sales up about 25% in 2013, Adams Fertilizer Equipment has also moved to meet demand. As early as September, the company had started employee overtime. It also made plant expansions and purchased new electronic torches, a new press and new computerized mills and lathes.
Carla Peterson, manager at Peterson Motors, reports a “60% increase in numbers going into 2014,” with more than half of these sales attributed to past customers. She says because the company has been proactive in getting components on hand, at presstime Quickveyor orders were only one month out.
David Juette, manager at Doyle Manufacturing, says sales of all tenders were up in 2013, with 24-foot tender trailers and 14-foot truck mount tenders seeing the largest increase.
HAYS-L.T.I. reports success on two fronts: Not only are sales of its units at record levels with no seasonal slowdown, the company has been able to meet customers’ requested delivery dates.
Precision Tank & Equipment (PT&E) experienced another excellent sales year on the stainless steel nurse tank side of the fertilizer transport business. Many customers ordered earlier in 2013, prompted by heavy backlogs and extended lead times over the past few seasons, explains Craig Carlock, eastern regional sales manager.
PT&E is in the process of bringing its new Iowa tank plant — which will make both fiberglass and stainless tanks — into full production. The new construction will help lessen lead times even more, complementing new production at the company’s Indiana facility as well as established manufacturing at its Illinois plant.
Side discharge units as well as overhead discharge augers are becoming more and more popular — again, because of higher capacities as well as the larger sizes of spreaders they’re delivering product to.
One option Chandler Equipment recently added was longer auger lengths to accommodate the bigger, taller machines retailers are using, some for a growing of number post-plant fertilizer applications. Doyle’s Juette also finds longer augers for loading today’s taller spreaders are popular with customers as is splitting tender compartments for variable-rate machines.
Several manufacturers agreed that legal payload regulations will continue to be an issue as units get larger.
Simonsen would say because units are “larger than they need to be, the extra weight of the tender reduces the amount of fertilizer that can be legally hauled.” He adds that these rigs make unloading more difficult because the floor auger is longer — which causes more drag. In addition, many of the largest tenders are very unwieldy on back country roads, and in many cases, cannot maneuver into narrow field driveways, he says. Many retailers prefer truck-mounted tenders that are much more “country road-friendly,” he adds.
Companies say they have become good at understanding how to scale the largest tenders when they’re fully loaded — with local equipment dealers putting the right equipment together, “whether it be a five-axle under a straight-truck style or a semi tractor style or a semi-tractor with a trailer or triple axle,” says AGCO’s Lovell.
With more customers asking for larger units, including larger semi-trailers, Ray-Man’s Bob Eakins says his company’s Charger II units feature a tri-axle configuration that can handle the weight. The firm also offers a longer discharge auger to handle materials and reach spreaders.
“There is a need for longer trailers to handle the weight capacities,” agrees The KBH Corp.’s Tim Tenhet. In fact, KBH recently began offering custom-length trailers to enable customers to maximize legal payloads.
One challenge that has come with the monster units is finding someone to drive them. While smaller tenders do not require a driver with a CDL, the largest rigs do. In fact, in North Dakota, home to FEI Inc and a 2.6% unemployment rate, retailers are having to fight western oil fields to get people to work, says Moen. “A retailer told me the other day that he had to sell one of his pieces of flotation equipment because he didn’t have someone to drive it,” he says.
Tender companies report a variety of additions and updates to their lines. Simonsen Industries made a large pit dump on the delivery auger standard, replacing several smaller pit dump openings with this one.
Adams’ newest update, its safety port feature, was probably the company’s most helpful addition in 2013 — and will be offered in 2014 complete with 304 stainless steel ports, stainless steel probe and stainless steel probe handle. Used in conjunction with electric SRT II roll tarps and electric vibrators, the ports keep customers on the ground and off the ladder.
Heading into 2014, Carlock says PT&E’s quick change liquid plumbing packages have been improved and are becoming more popular. The units utilize dry breaks and quick disconnects to ease the task of switching between liquid and dry nursing equipment. In fact, at its Illinois locations, PT&E offers entire liquid tender installation packages and can supply and install the tanks, pumps, custom plumbing, etc. on a customer’s cab and chassis or trailer set-up.
Peterson Motors’ Lexan covers for both the upper and lower conveyors on its Quickveyor have been a big hit — to the point the company has been asked to retrofit other trailers. Lightweight and strong, the custom-built covers (thereby not available for retrofits) wrap around the moving belt, adding safety while retaining visibility.
Doyle Manufacturing introduced its newest unit, a 24-foot rear discharge trailer tender, at this past summer’s Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show. It has many of the same features as Doyle’s side discharge unit, including all-304 stainless steel modular hoppers, 304 stainless gate assemblies, reliable Kubota power packs and heavy duty powder coated trailers.
Ronald Hays, president of HAYS-L.T.I., is especially excited about the new tender designs rolling out of his company’s plant in 2014, which include multi-bin hoppers and a line of smaller tenders. He adds that at refurbishing time, all HAYS units are “easy to disassemble and reassemble thanks to an integrated hopper and cradle assembly.”
January 2, 2013
Fertilizer Tender Capacity Still Critical
...as published in CropLife
While growers faced their share of challenges this past season, tender manufacturers had their own issues to contend with, tops being simply keeping up with the demand for their units. To a company, representatives we talked with said it was a huge year and orders are strong for 2013. Manufacturers credited a solid growing season (in spite of the drought) for many regions, higher than expected commodity prices and continued corn acreage expansion for the boom.
“Towards the end of the fertilizer season we were as far as three months out on new order deliveries,” says Shawn Hudspeth of Adams Fertilizer Equipment. In normal years Adams is able to build up an average of 30% of expected production during the late summer to begin a new season. But early in the 2012 season, inventory was completely depleted and the company needed to run its entire plant on overtime, with the powder coat paint department going 24 hours a day at peak.
Tim Tenhet, sales director with KBH Corp., sees his firm’s “meteoric” gain in market share continuing into 2013 – its growth due in great part to a major revision of features on its 26-ton fertilizer auger trailer tender.
Michael Sosebee, sales manager with Chandler Equipment, reports sales of the company’s largest units, rigs with side and rear discharge augers (RDT 24 and SDT MH 24), actually doubled over last year.
Moving High Volumes
Overall, it seems the market is heading for equipment with more capacity, says Carla Peterson of Peterson Motors. And specifically, legal hauling capacity — something of a hot button issue — is becoming more important. Peterson’s Quickveyor has a 27-ton legal capacity, thanks to its empty weight of only 10,300 pounds. (Designers did a bit tweaking on the Quickveyor for 2013, adding a Lexan enclosure for the unit’s belting. It offers more safety and great visibility at same time, says Peterson.)
“There is a need for longer trailers to handle the weight capacities,” says KBH’s Tenhet. In fact, in 2012 the company began offering custom-length trailers to enable customers to maximize legal payloads.
Larger product volumes are needed to meet application demands in the field. One option Chandler Equipment added in 2012 was longer auger lengths to accommodate the bigger, taller machines retailers are using, some for a growing of number post-plant fertilizer applications.
Brad Moen, president of FEI Inc, a dealer for AGCO/Willmar equipment, says his company sold plenty of 24-ton tenders, but has found 16-ton units are moving just as well. “The bigger co-ops have built big fertilizer plants, but can use a 16-ton to service their smaller satellite plants,” he explains. “Retailers have different niches in all their businesses.”
Moen puts together a number of packages for buyers, such as one that includes a 24-ton Willmar Side Shooter tender, plus a B-B semi trailer (triple axle works best) to mount it on, plus a power pack.
FEI even offers an option that can get 32 tons of product to fields. A 16-ton tender is mounted on a truck while another is pulled behind on a trailer. A dealer can drop one unit in a field, say, to service an AGCO floater while the other tender fills another piece of equipment in another location. The first one can simply be picked up later. And the driver doesn’t need a Commercial Driver’s License.
Another feature customers continue to ask for is multiple compartments. Adams has seen an increase in sales of three-hopper, truck-mounted tenders, along with multiple bin trailer tenders, such as the Adams 1,200-cubic foot Super Tender. This gain can be traced to the rise in variable rate application and the need to haul multiple products to different locations, says Hudspeth.
Doyle Equipment’s 24 FT Trailer Tender has three compartments that can be partitioned to make as many as six if needed.
Simonsen is offering dry chemical/micro bins for use with its BFT model tenders. They’re available for either truck or trailer mount and run completely isolated from the fertilizer tender. “They utilize their own closed system to maintain purity of product,” says Owner Jon Simonsen.
KBH is introducing a new multi-compartment unit this spring geared to meet the growing demands of variable rate and micronutrient applications.
In addition to compartments, Bob Eakins, president of Ray-Man Inc., says customers are adding convenience items such as electric roll tarps; plus, he’s seen more buyers using LED lights. New for 2013, Ray-Man is offering a hydraulic manifold, which simplifies the hydraulic system for a wet-kit on semi-tractors.
Construction materials, too, are a selling point. Rob Heiden at Doyle Equipment says his company is doing a lot of tender construction utilizing 304 stainless steel rather than 409. The higher grade cuts down on rust — a valuable benefit to customers who don’t like unsightly rust streaks running down the paint on their units.
Ronald Hays at Hays Liquid Transport Inc. agrees, noting the appearance of the machines going down the road enhances the dealer’s image: 304 stainless steel looks “nice and shiny.”
Customers want units that need less maintenance, and stainless steel construction definitely helps, says AGCO’s Dave Lovell, field sales and marketing support manager. All of Willmar’s key tender components utilize it.
In addition to demand for its 24-ton flagship tender, Hays L.T.I. is seeing more calls for its transport liquid tankers.
Indeed, Ron Lager, sales manager at Precision Tank & Equipment (PT&E), says last season was all his company had hoped for, seeing its “best tank sales ever for stainless steel, mild steel, and fiberglass.” PT&E is adding new equipment at its fiberglass and steel tank facilities to keep up with demand.
“We’re seeing dealers and growers considering stainless steel nurse tanks (and fiberglass storage tanks) for their obvious advantages: longevity, safety and less maintenance,” he says. And, he notes, they’re still buying the larger capacity tanks.
In general, many manufacturers reported a lot of fertilizer going down in the fall, and Adams’ Hudspeth says the only limiting factor on another outstanding spring season would be the weather. Even with high prices, you have to have moisture to plant, he notes. “An early drought could stop planting in areas, which decreases the demand for tendering or any other fertilizer application equipment,” he says.
March 7, 2012
Quickveyor Generation 10 Advances Further Beyond the Competition
...as published in Corn and Soybean Digest
For progressive agricultural operations that need a quick, clean, reliable, method of transporting, loading and off loading bulk granular fertilizer or seed, Quickveyor from Peterson Motors offers the best solution. Recent upgrades to the trailer/conveyor system in their Gen10 series now offers even more durability. The Quickveyor Gen10 is a sound, efficient investment.
“We’re constantly improving the Quickveyor system,” says Quickveyor inventor, Tim Peterson of Peterson Motors, “our recent generation includes significant upgrades like placing all hydraulics in powder coated tubing for the rough fertilizer environment. All steel parts are laser cut for a flawless fit and finish, and the rear out-feed belt has been increased 20 percent for even more speed.” All these changes and improvements add to the longevity and trouble-free use of the Quickveyor.
The Quickveyor was invented over 10 years ago to help progressive farming operations and coops save time and reduce spillage when transporting and offloading seed and fertilizer. Proudly built in the U.S., the Quickveyor has the fastest rates of delivery of up to 2.8 tons per minute. Twice the speed of competitors and other equipment.
The heart of the unit is a Merritt MVT aluminum hopper trailer. Its payload capacity is up to 27 tons, is corrosion resistant, has great ground clearance, and a smooth spring ride. Affordable, customized options done in-house, can include three or four internal compartments, air-ride suspension, electric roll tarp cover (with remote), and vibrators. Quickveyor is the ultimate seed and fertilizer handler.
Add-on options can be customized to include three or four internal compartments, an air-ride suspension, electric roll tarp cover (with remote), vibrators, and a Honda power unit. “We can make these custom modifications to fit various operations and still keep the unit very affordable because we do it ourselves instead out outsourcing,” states Peterson, “It just depends on what the individual needs.”
Quickveyor is the ultimate seed and fertilizer handler. Owners boast its speed, citing spreader loading in under 5 minutes. Spillage has been eliminated, and the hydraulic controls are simple to operate. It’s a well engineered piece of equipment that no operation should be without.
“We build each unit with pride,” say Peterson, “and we’re always looking to make it better.”
The Quickveyor Gen10 series can be seen in action online at www.Quickveyor.com. For more information, contact Peterson Motors in Watertown, South Dakota at 888-327-8298.