November 27, 2020

IT’S GROW TIME: Belmond Fertilizer Plant Opens for Business

MaxYield BelmondThis year’s challenging spring weather revealed how the window of opportunity to apply fertilizer can close quickly. While MaxYield Cooperative can’t control the weather, the company’s new Belmond fertilizer complex will help ensure that you have the nutrients and crop protection products you need, when you need them.

“This phenomenal facility reflects where the fertilizer industry is going,” said Keith Heim, MaxYield Cooperative’s CEO. “This was a much-needed addition to MaxYield, and we’re more than ready for the 2013 fall fertilizer season.”

The computerized facility boasts a capacity of 22,500 tons, including two 8,000-ton bins, two 3,000-ton bins, and additional bins for micronutrients. Two mixers allow the MaxYield team to blend one batch of fertilizer while another batch is loading into the tender truck. As soon as one truck is filled, another can enter the facility and start loading right away.

While it used to take 25 to 30 minutes to load one 24-ton tender truck, now the process can be completed in about five minutes, thanks to the 30-ton storage load-out tank. “There’s very little downtime,” said Cody Ostendorf, an agronomy specialist at the Belmond location. “The whole system is designed to handle fertilizer quickly so we can get it to your fields faster.”

Economies of scale keep MaxYield competitive

Other technology enhances the efficiency of the new facility, noted Jeff Marsh, MaxYield’s operations team leader. An innovative oiling system that minimizes fertilizer dust will keep the facility cleaner and will extend the life of the equipment.

Precision drives everything in the new facility. For example, from the cab of the payloader, the operator can use a remote device to change which bin the fertilizer goes to. In addition, the MaxYield team member in the control room can program the system to load exactly what is needed to be within 20 pounds of the order.

“Also, when the truck leaves the load-out driveway, the vehicle is already weighed, so the driver isn’t going back and forth to a traditional truck scale every time,” Marsh said. “This will cut down the load-out time dramatically.”

It’s a plus that the Belmond facility can receive shipments of crop nutrients via truck and rail quickly, said Andy Vaske, MaxYield’s east region agronomy operations leader. The rail-receiving capacity totals 400 tons per hour, and the facility is capable of receiving 65- to 70-car trains at a time. “These economies of scale will allow MaxYield to buy fertilizer in larger quantities, which will keep us competitive,” said Marsh, who noted that the receiving capabilities of older MaxYield fertilizer facilities are closer to 100 tons per hour.

MaxYield BelmondIt’s not just N, P, and K anymore

Before the Belmond fertilizer complex was built, MaxYield’s two closest fertilizer facilities were located at Meservey and Britt. The Meservey facility, which was built around the late 1950s/early 1960s, is too small by today’s standards. “We were having to refill it up to two to three times each season.

In today’s era of just-in-time deliveries, MaxYield’s team members conduct extensive forecasting in the spring and summer to determine how much fertilizer will be required for the fall season. “With this spacious new Belmond facility, we won’t have to worry about enough potash or other fertilizer showing up on time,” said Vaske, who has worked for MaxYield for 14 years. “We’ll be ready to roll.”

Along with urea, MAP, DAP, and other major nutrients, the Belmond fertilizer plant will supply MicroEssentials®, including sulfur and zinc. “As more growers do tissue testing through SciMax Solutions, they’re finding out they need certain micronutrients,” said Ostendorf, who helped host an open house at the Belmond fertilizer complex on July 17. “If we could only hold 15 to 20 semi loads of MicroEssentials, which are shipped on barges up the Mississippi River, we couldn’t go very far or spread very much. That won’t be a problem with the new Belmond facility.”

Thanks to the Belmond facility, Ostendorf has the opportunity to work with new clients who haven’t relied on MaxYield for their crop nutrient needs in years past. “A lot is changing, now that MaxYield has invested in agronomy at the Belmond location,” said Ostendorf, who has been building the client base south of Belmond and into the Clarion area. “I’m looking forward to serving new MaxYield clients.”

The Belmond fertilizer complex reflects MaxYield’s first step in a multi-step process to upgrade and enhance its dry fertilizer assets throughout the company, said Heim, who added that the MaxYield board toured the new facility in June.

Vaske is excited about the possibilities. “We built this Belmond facility for the future and have room to grow. I look forward to providing the best client service possible this fall.”

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