Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Spring Ammonia Season Reminders

This week is sure to be a busy one with ammonia application in Illinois.  Here are a few reminders to keep foremost in your mind in working with ammonia:
1.  Slow down!  Nurse tanks should not travel down the road more than 25 mph. 

2.  ALWAYS turn the nurse tank valves off at the tank source and disconnect hoses before pulling onto a public roadway.  This is required by law.  You should never have a "charged" system when sharing the road with other motorists. 

3.  Nurse tanks should not be operated in low light conditions or before or after sunset UNLESS you have a rotating, flashing amber light on the tank(s).  Today's motorists are not as familiar or patient with farm equipment even in rural Illinois, so it is always best if slow moving vehicles are kept off the roads during non-daylight hours.

4.  Never forget the safety chains, even in the field of application.  Nurse tank trailers are put to the test during the ammonia season, being asked to serve as both highway vehicles and then being pulled through rough fields.  The safety chains can save you from catastrophe if the hitch fails!  Hook them up every time. 

5.  Are your break-away devices working on the toolbars?  This is another safety mechanism designed to prevent releases, however they must be installed and maintained correctly so that they function.  Prevention is key!   
6.  Never hesitate to make the call if you have an ammonia release.  Tell the 911 emergency operator exactly what has happened so that law enforcement and fire departments show up prepared to deal with ammonia.  Whoever is in charge of the tank at the time of the release must make this call immediately!  

If your retail company or grower customer has an ammonia release be sure to follow the procedures for properly reporting the release outlined in this Emergency Response Fact Sheet.