With anhydrous ammonia under pressure, safety is always a concern when plumbing and working around application equipment. A new set of voluntary guidelines for plumbing multi-tank anhydrous ammonia systems has been recently developed by a coalition of state government, academia and industry representatives in Iowa.
Size and capacity of farm equipment keeps getting larger and fertilizer equipment is no exception. Each year in Iowa approximately one billion pounds of nitrogen is applied as anhydrous ammonia. As equipment has gotten larger, many fertilizer dealers are now using multi-tank systems with two anhydrous ammonia tanks mounted on to a single wagon running gear.
"Plumbing for a multi-tank system presents unique challenges," points out Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension ag engineer. "Valve location and selection are important decisions impacting safe use. As an example, valves meant to provide excess-flow protection should not be oversized."
Two-tank anhydrous ammonia wagons have unique set of safety challenges
Working together, state government, industry representatives and university engineers and safety specialists put a lot of thought into these new safety guidelines. "As the use of multi-tank systems increases, tank owners should benefit by having these voluntary guidelines. These suggestions from the safety experts should help all applicators -- farmers as well as fertilizer dealers -- review their practices," says Max Smith, of Smith Fertilizer and Grain, located at Knoxville in southern Iowa.
"Safety is an important component in maintaining the anhydrous ammonia application industry for Iowa corn production," adds Kevin Klommhaus, feed and fertilizer bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
The guidelines, including sketches of suggested plumbing configurations, can be viewed under the news section at www.agribiz.org. "The guidelines are voluntary, but dealers and applicators with multiple-tank systems are encouraged to consider the recommendations as equipment is readied for the fall application season," says Hanna.
Student experience featured in College of Agriculture & Life Sciences magazine
In other ISU news, a multifaceted student experience in the College of Ag & Life Sciences is featured in the latest issue of STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Iowa State University. The alumni magazine showcases faculty, students and alumni from various ag and life sciences fields. All articles are available for publication.
Here is a brief look at some of the stories included in the magazine:
* South Sudan refugee Maurice Auto finds freedom through education with the help of Iowa State professors and staff.
* Senior Lecturer Ebby Luvaga bridges cultures and expands students' worldviews as they study agricultural economics.
* Animal scientist Matthew Ellinwood offers students experience in animal care, management and research focused on curing childhood diseases.
* Faculty advisers such as Mike Retallick and Don Beitz offer advice and assistance to successfully navigate students through college. Beef teaching farm manager Marshall Ruble mentors the next generation of animal caretakers through a hands-on student work program. View STORIES online or download a PDF at www.ag.iastate.edu/stories. For high resolution photographs, a printcopy of the magazine or more information about STORIES contact Melea Reicks-Licht at 515-294-8892 or [email protected].