The 62' X 100' fertilizer storage fabric building
was placed on a
10' high concrete wall.
CENEX VCL Fertilizer Storage
Valley City, North Dakota
Building Size: 62' x 100 Application Fertilizer Storage Fabric
When Gary Wieck began working for Cenex Veal as the Ag
Product Manager, the Valley City facility was supplying
approximately 1500 tons of crop nutrients, including
fertilizer urea to the Barnes County area. In 2002, the
projected crop nutrients are expected to exceed 8000 tons.
Most of their 2 million dollars of crop nutrients is custom
applied to more than 40,000 acres by their two Lor AI custom
applicator units. "Having the supply to meet the demand
requires solid planning and execution. Over the years, the
window for application has decreased," says Wieck, "When it
comes to handling large shipments of fertilizer urea and
providing custom application services, timing and planning
Fertilizer urea is a nitrogen source shipped in high volumes
and requires a large, well-ventilated, dry storage space.
Cenex VCL is using five different locations to store their
fertilizer urea shipments, the need to expand their storage
space had become a high priority. "When you're handling 4000
tons of fertilizer urea, there are only one or two
opportunities a year to purchase product. We are solely
dependent on truck transport. Handling and finding enough
suitable storage space was creating major stress for our
employees as well as our trucking alliance," says Wieck.
"The logistics of moving that much product in and out of
five different locations and having trucks available when
you need them was a continual challenge."
The solution seemed simple - construct a suitable fertilizer
urea storage facility and eliminate the cost of continual
handling and waste. "We looked at everything: wood
structures, concrete structures, steel structures. What
proved to be the major challenge was hanging a conveyor
system and maintenance of a safety catwalk from the
buildings truss. "Some building suppliers wouldn't even
quote on the project," says Wieck.
The load numbers for the conveyor and catwalk system with a
full load were 200 lbs. per square foot. All of the design
plans presented were either not practical from a financial
point of view, or not possible without installing support
posts in the middle of the building. We wanted a open-span
floor area so the custom application equipment with their 60
and 90 foot wide booms could be stored inside the building
when empty. A 62' by 100' tension fabric building was
chosen. Unlike steel, wood and concrete buildings, where the
walls are constructed to support a roof truss system, the
fabric buildings technology is a roof truss system from the
ground up. By designing the appropriate concrete wall
foundation and decreasing the base span widths of the fabric
buildings steel trusses to five foot on center, the fabric
building was able to meet the wind and snow loads as well as
safely support the conveyor and catwalk.
A ground core study showed that excavation had to be done to
eliminate six feet of inadequate loose soil. Once a firm
clay base was established, a plastic moisture barrier was
put down to prevent moisture migrating through the cement
into the fertilizer storage fabric building. An
eight-Inch thick concrete slab was poured to create the 62
by 100 foot floor. The 10-foot high, 12-inch thick concrete
walls were constructed with a heavy re-enforcement of rebar
to meet the engineered horizontal loads for the walls. The
21 trusses of the fertilizer urea storage fabric building
were positioned on top of the wall, five foot on center.
"These fabric buildings are ideal for fertilizer storage,"
says Johnson. 'Fertilizer doesn't affect the polyethylene
fabric and the galvanized steel has an added coating for
"We now have a suitable fabric building facility to store a
large amount of fertilizer urea," says Wieck. "The
fertilizer urea looks as good coming out as it did when it
went in. There is no sweating or bonding of fertilizer urea
and the floor isn't slippery. The high ceiling and
ventilation system keeps the quality of the fertilizer urea
consistent and has eliminated any ammonia odor. The
fertilizer storage fabric building is cool in the summer and allows
natural light. The additional benefit is that we can store
our custom application units in the fertilizer fabric
building when the building is empty. We are extremely
pleased with the investment."
• A plastic moisture barrier was put down to prevent
moisture migrating through the cement into the fertilizer
• The 10-foot high. 12-inch thick concrete walls were
constructed with a heavy re-enforcement of rebar to meet the
engineered horizontal loads for the walls of the fertilizer
storage fabric building.
• Base spacing for the 21 steel truss frames was 5 foot on
center for the fertilizer storage fabric building.
The 12" thick concrete walls were engineered
constructed to meet heavy horizontal loads
storage fabric buildings.
The 21 arch trusses were placed 5' on center to
support catwalk and conveyor systems and to
meet wind and
snow loads for this fertilizer fabric building.
Full load numbers for conveyor and catwalk system
200 lbs. per sq. ft. in fertilizer fabric buildings like
Cage fire escapes were installed at both ends
of the fertilizer fabric building for maintenance access
and to meet Federal Safety Regulations.