Agriland FS recently opened a new fertilizer storage facility in Stuart, Iowa, with a capacity of 15,500 tons. Most of the plant food products are delivered via rail. Brian Hundman (right), Growmark plant food operations manager, led a recent media tour of the state-of-the-art plant.
Agriland FS recently opened a new fertilizer storage facility in Stuart, Iowa, with a capacity of 15,500 tons. Most of the plant food products are delivered via rail. Brian Hundman (right), Growmark plant food operations manager, led a recent media tour of the state-of-the-art plant.

STUART, Iowa — Construction of a state-of-the-art fertilizer storage terminal that will serve both wholesale and retail customers has been completed.

The new facility, owned by Growmark and managed by Agriland FS, has a dry fertilizer storage capacity of 15,500 tons.

The Stuart facility is located on I-80 about 40 miles west of Des Moines and has rail receiving capability on the Iowa Interstate Rail System.

Construction of the dry fertilizer facility complements the acquisition of six CF fertilizer terminals by Growmark in early 2011.

Brian Hundman, Growmark plant food operations manager, recently led media in a tour of the new facility.

The interior includes seven storage bins. Of those, two have a capacity of 7,000 tons each, primarily for white potash and a form of phosphate.

“Five other bins will hold about 600 tons each of products such as palletized lime, urea and ammonium sulfate,” Hundman said.

“Depending on the time of year, there will be different products that we will store in those smaller bins. However, for the most part, the larger bins will be white potash and some sort of phosphate.”

He said the smaller 600-ton bins will have a variety of seasonal products “because this is a wholesale facility and also a retail facility where we serve a lot of what Agriland needs for products.”

“They’re serving the farmer who needs various types of products, so we have more small bins to be able to have those different products on site versus the wholesale facility,” he said.

Most of the product will be delivered to the storage site via rail.

“We can pull in about 18 cars at a time. For the most part, the product could come from Mapleton, another Growmark facility,” Hundman said.

Products are unloaded into a rail pit capable of unloading about 400 tons of fertilizer from railcars each hour. From the rail pit, the product travels up a conveyor and is dumped into a specific for storage.

“When the product goes out, a loader moves the product from the bin to the hoppers and moved to outside overhead bins with a capacity of about 30 tons. The facility has a blending capacity of 300 tons per hour,” Hundman said.

“This facility is similar to the one in Casey, Ill. Almost everything is automated. All of the orders come in by computer. The whole system is run by computers, and all of the billing goes out by computers.

“It is a nice aspect of both the Casey and the Stuart facility, where almost everything is automated. Because of the automation, we’re able to have just two employees here.

“One runs the computer system that runs the loads, and another operates the loader or unloading railcars. We’re pretty efficient at what we do because of having all of the new automation.”

Agriland FS is an agricultural-based cooperative, headquartered in Winterset.

It provides ag-related inputs including feed, seed, plant food, crop protection, fuel, lubricants and grain marketing services to farmers and rural residents in 38 southern Iowa counties.