Fiberglass tanks for farm use are growing in popularity

Monday, October 1, 2012

Almost every farm uses fiberglass tanks. These tanks are really useful and are used for a variety of purposes.

Fiberglass tanks are becoming popular because they last longer than poly tanks and fiberglass tanks can be repaired.

These tanks do cost more, but they can store more product that can save money in the long run. For liability reasons, many commercial application companies are getting interested in fiberglass tanks.

These tanks are more durable and have a greater possibility of surviving a minor crash thus limiting spills and pollution.

Fiberglass tanks are smaller, so the applicator is carrying fewer products that could be spilled in the event of an accident. Most insurance companies don't cover pollution liabilities.

There are many benefits of fiberglass tanks such as: they can be custom built, they have greater longevity, they have greater durability, they resist ultraviolet radiation longer, they can be used with salts, fertilizers and pesticides, they can be repaired, they can have baffles installed for chemical transport, they can have heavier duty valves installed due to fiberglass rigidity, they can be equipped with agitator paddles for chemicals and if a tank fails, it usually weeps instead of bursting.

Also, they can handle a variety of temperatures, withstand off-road conditions, and have reduced algae growth inside the tank.

On the down side, fiberglass tanks costs more than poly tanks and usually have to be ordered, which means you may have shipping costs associated with the fiberglass tanks.

The tank walls are opaque, so it is more difficult to know how much product you have left in a tank.

If you think fiberglass is the way to go, ask several questions before you buy one. Ask about the different tank designs and the use for each design of the tank.

Ask about custom tanks. Ask about how much storage you should plan for.

This usually depends on what price break you can get if you buy product in bulk and store it for a long period of time.

Also, you have to determine how much product you want on hand at the beginning of the season and weigh the tradeoff of having it delivered when you need it vs. storing it.

There are state and federal regulations concerning bulk tanks so make sure you know about these requirements before you buy your tank.

These tanks come in many different sizes. However, the amount of flat space relative to the size of the tanks will determine how many tanks you can place on a particular site.

Also, having an idea of what the tank was designed to hold is imperative to know since the resin used to manufacture the tank could react with the contents weakening the tank or denaturing the chemical being stored.

There is a special coating applied to the exterior of the tank to help mitigate the ultraviolet light it may come in contact with outside.

If the tanks are to be used inside you may not want the coating.

The concrete under a fully loaded tank will also have to be able to handle the weight.

Determining how the tanks will be unloaded once they reach your farm can be a problem.

Don't assume the driver will have the equipment to unload the tank from the truck.

Renting a crane could add significantly to the cost of the tank.

Make sure you determine the accessories you want such as venting and placement of the main way and where you want plumbing fittings to be placed.

An important accessory that you need to think about is the type of inventory monitory gauges you need due to the fact you may not be able to see inside the tank.

If these tanks are to be stored outside you will need to make sure that they are secured so they don't blow around, crack or break.

An anchoring system is important to prevent tanks from floating and causing damage.

Installing tanks can be a major operation. Making sure the final location is level, flat, and free from jagged edges is very important. Also having the right equipment for moving the tank is important so as not to damage the tank.

Fiberglass tanks have a wide number of uses on the farm, but there are also many consideration that need attention before you purchase a tank.

For more information about fiberglass tanks, look up pub ppp-93 Fiberglass Tanks or contact Ann Delchambre at or 653-8411.

Oct. 2 -- Master Gardener Assoc., Julian Bldg., DePauw Room 157, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3-4 -- Bridges Out of Poverty Program, Prindle Institute (DePauw) pre-register by 9/26

Oct. 7-13 -- National 4-H Week

Oct. 27 -- Coats for Kids distribution and Community Halloween Festival at Fairgrounds

Nov. 2-3 -- Extension Homemakers Past Presidents' Arts and Crafts Show at Fairgrounds

Nov. 4 -- 4-H Member Achievement and Volunteer Recognition Program, Fairgrounds, 2 p.m.