Safety and anhydrous ammonia


As I sit and shiver through the rest of winter, I know it will be only a few weeks into the distance that Spring planting season will be upon us. I’m sure in machine sheds across the corn belt that many farmers have already begun the process of getting equipment ready for the season. That means one thing for sure: Plenty of busted knuckles.

Sometimes it pays to take the time to locate the correct size wrench instead of reaching for the adjustable. This is called experience.

Part of the season too includes prepping the land for seed placement. Tillage work and fertilizer application will be the norm.

The unfortunate accident a few years ago that occurred with an accidental release of anhydrous ammonia in Lake County, Illinois has brought increased awareness to its safe transport and application. I want to be sure our Ogle County farmers are in the know when applying anhydrous.

Please understand your responsibility as a farmer while transporting anhydrous ammonia. If in the event of a release of 18 gallons or 100 pounds of Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3), you MUST make the following 4 phone calls within 15 minutes of the release:

911, Illinois Emergency Management Agency/State Emergency Response Commission 1-800-782-7860, National Response Center 1-800-424-8802, and Local Emergency Planning Committee Release Reporting (in Ogle County that is Tom Richter at 815-687-2041).

Also when transporting anhydrous ammonia the following regulations must be followed.

No liquid transfer hose shall be joined between any nurse tank and any toolbar during transport upon a public right-of-way.

When nurse tanks are pulled in tandem a breakaway coupling device or other means of protection shall be installed at each point where the hose crosses a hitching point. Deployment of equipment designed to achieve this protection shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The hose length from the towed implement mechanically secure point to the breakaway coupler on the towing implements shall have sufficient length to allow breakaway couplers to articulate freely but prevent the hose from contact with the nurse tank tongue. This shall be achieved without securing the hose mechanically through the use of chains, elastomeric straps, wire ties or other means.

Please adhere to all rules and regulations to safely transport anhydrous ammonia.

Grain transport

It won’t just be equipment and land preparation that will be happening. Many farmers will be cleaning out their grain bins from last year’s harvest.

Traditional Spring rallies in the grain markets usually lead to farmers delivering on their grain contracts. Local road authorities will be posting roads for weight limits and you will start to see semi-trailer activity ramp up.

Many things in life are confusing and truck law would certainly fall into that category. When federal truck law dictates one set of rules and State law another it tends to lead to plenty of questions that need a definitive answer.

The Illinois Farm Bureau will be conducting On The Road seminars across the state the remainder of this month and into March. The seminars offer a comprehensive look at trucking laws and your responsibilities in operating vehicles.

A workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 14 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Building, in Sycamore. Rodney Knittle, Illinois Farm Bureau Transportation Specialist will facilitate the program.

Pre-registration is required and can be made through the County Farm Bureau by calling 815-732-2231 or email

The seminar is free of charge.

That’s a lot cheaper than a ticket from a state trooper!

“Common sense is like deodorant. Those who need it the most never use it.” -Anonymous

Ron Kern is the manager of the Ogle County Farm Bureau.