Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Ammonia Season Reminders

This week is sure to be a busy one with ammonia application in central and northern 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 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 citizens.  

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 quick-disconnect devices working on the toolbars?  This is another safety mechanism designed to prevent releases, but they must be installed correctly and maintained so that they work.  When they do work, no one hears about it.  When they don't work, a call to 9-1-1 is usually the next thing that happens and then forget about getting anything else done the rest of the day (or days) ahead.  Prevention is key!     

6.  And speaking of 9-1-1, never hesitate to make the call if you have an ammonia release.  Tell the 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!   We can always help you later with the paperwork, but you can't undo someone being injured from ammonia exposure.  Click here to see the steps you need to follow if an ammonia release occurs.