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Think safety with anhydrous wagons

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.

Each year in Iowa about 1 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.

“Plumbing for a multi-tank system presents unique challenges,” says 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.”

Working together, state government safety specialists, industry representatives and university engineers 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, owner of Smith Fertilizer and Grain, at Knoxville in southern Iowa.

The guidelines are at While voluntary, “dealers and applicators that use multiple-tank systems are encouraged to consider following the recommendations,” says Hanna.

Source: ISU Extension

This article published in the August, 2012 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.