BILLINGS – As farmers continue their busy spring planting, a new fertilizer plant has been built in South Central Montana that loads, stores and unloads more efficiently to help growers.
“We’ve had a lot of growers try to sneak out here and check out the plant; they just want to see what it is,” said Town & Country Supply General Manager Wes Burley.
What they want to see is the new $13 million Town & Country Supply fertilizer loading and unloading facility in Lockwood.
“The plant will hold 23,800 ton,” said Burley. “It has 6 bins which are 100-ton bins for micro nutrients and the rest of the bins are for the macro nutrients. The urea nitrogen bin is designed to hold 93 rail cars of fertilizer itself. The phosphate bin which is our second most used product holds 53 rail cars. Our largest plant before we could hold only about 5,000 tons of straight product without the blending capabilities of this new 23,800 facility.”
He says the new facility will help Town and Country meet the demands of their farmer customers especially in years like this.
“Our biggest issue right now is getting on everybody’s fields at the same time because with a spring like this everything broke at the same time,” Burley said. “We have dryland top dress to do. We have guys that are trying to get corn planted and get beets in the ground. All these things happening at once. What we’ve seen so far is if we can keep all the trucks running in the fields, we’ve been able to keep fertilizer supplied to those trucks and been a lot more efficient for us this year.”
In Agriculture time is money, that’s why this new fertilizer plant’s efficiency is so impressive.
“It also has the capabilities to receive fertilizer at a rate of 600 ton per hour,” said Burley. “And we can put it out at a rate of 240 ton per hour. Compared to the other plants, it would take us an hour and fifteen minutes per hopper on a railcar or 4 ½ hours to unload one railcar. Where with this new facility we can unload an 85-car train in less than 24 hours now.”
Town and Country has planned an open house at their new Lockwood fertilizer facility on June 15th where people will be able to tour the new facility, learn how it works and see its impressive size for themselves.
Reporting by Russell Nemetz