Diesel Gelling and How to Stop It This Winter

There’s no worse sound on a cold winter morning than the sputter of a diesel engine that won’t start. Whether you’ve got a foot of snow to plow from the farmyard or a load of freight to deliver six hours away, neither job is getting done if cold weather gets the best of your equipment.

It’s no secret that diesel engines can be temperamental in the winter. Every year, farmers and fleet owners get an unwelcome reminder of this. But your operation doesn’t have to hinge on the mercy of Old Man Winter. Here’s what you need to know to put cold weather diesel problems on ice.

Why cold weather causes diesel problems
Before diesel fuel enters an engine, it passes through a filter to strain out impurities. This filter is an incredibly important part of your equipment, but it’s also a prime target for cold weather to wreak havoc.

There’s a naturally occurring substance in No. 2 diesel fuel called paraffin wax. Under normal conditions, this wax remains in liquid form, so it’s harmless to your equipment. The problem occurs when cold temperatures cause paraffin wax to solidify and bind together into larger crystals that can’t flow through the filter. When diesel users talk about gelling, this is the issue they’re referring to.

Gelling starts to occur at a specific temperature known as the cloud point, coined after the white haze — or “cloud” — that appears as paraffin wax crystalizes. No. 2 diesel fuel has a cloud point of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature continues dropping, it will eventually reach a point where wax crystals collect rapidly on the fuel filter, starving the engine of fuel. This threshold is known as the cold filter plugging point (CFPP), and it indicates the lowest possible temperature at which a given diesel fuel can still pass through a 45-micron filter. For most No. 2 diesel fuels, the CFPP is typically within a few degrees of the cloud point.

While CFPP is an industry-wide measurement, it can be less accurate for some modern rigs. Today’s high-performance diesel engines require finer filters than those used in measuring CFPP, meaning a new diesel engine can potentially plug at a warmer temperature than its fuel’s documented CFPP. While CFPP can be a helpful measurement in some instances, keep in mind its limitations.

It should be noted that both cloud point and CFPP are natural properties of a fuel and thus impossible to change. Paraffin wax will always crystalize when the temperature gets cold enough. How, then, do you stop wintertime gelling and filter plugging? Even though you can’t change cloud point or CFPP, there’s a third factor you can change.

How to prevent diesel from gelling
The solution to cold-weather gelling and filter plugging lies in one key metric: operability. Defined as the lowest possible temperature a piece of equipment can function at without a loss of power, operability is the variable diesel equipment owners have power over.

But if you can’t stop paraffin wax from crystallizing, how is it possible to lower a rig’s minimum operating temperature? Well, even though you can’t get rid of the wax crystals in a No. 2 diesel, you can change their shape. Therein lies the secret to improving your rigs’ cold weather operability.

There’s a special fuel additive called a cold flow improver (CFI) that dissolves the bonds in paraffin wax. By breaking up larger crystals into many smaller parts, a CFI enables paraffin wax to pass smoothly through the filter. Typically, a CFI is effective down to about zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Steps to winterize your diesel fuel
Adding a CFI is the first step to fully protecting your diesel against cold-weather gelling and filter plugging. As temperatures continue to drop, you’ll want to replace your No. 2 diesel with a No. 1, which is free of paraffin wax and therefore offers the best operability during the coldest parts of winter.

You don’t want to make the switch all at once, though. It’s important to transition your equipment from a No. 2 to a No. 1 diesel gradually. Here are the steps you’ll want to take:

  • Once the temperature falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, use a blend of about 70 percent No. 2 diesel and 30 percent No. 1, along with a CFI. For an even better solution, try Cenex ROADMASTER XL® SEASONALLY ENHANCED or RUBY FIELDMASTER® SEASONALLY ENHANCED premium diesel fuels, which are enhanced not only with a CFI, but also a complete additive package.
  • As winter sets in, blend 30 percent No. 2 with 70 percent No. 1, continuing to mix in a CFI. For enhanced low-temperature operability, try Cenex WINTERMASTER® winterized premium diesel fuel. Formulated with the optimal diesel fuel blend for the cold, Wintermaster also contains a complete additive package designed to keep engines protected.
  • Anytime the temperature drops below -30 degrees Fahrenheit, use straight No. 1 diesel. To keep additives at proper levels, try NO. 1 DIESEL FUEL WITH CENEX® PREMIUM DIESEL FUEL ADDITIVE.

Watch for diesel fuel icing
On a related note, it’s also important to keep an eye on your rigs for signs of fuel icing. Often, icing can be mistaken for gelling because it produces similar engine-stalling symptoms. The difference with icing is that, instead of wax crystals building up on the fuel filter, it’s ice crystals. Icing is a major concern because it means water has gotten into your fuel. If you find water in your fuel system, be sure to consult a licensed mechanic.

Winter can be rough on diesel equipment. The good news is that you don’t have to gamble with your operation. For fuel that works as hard as you do, use CENEX WINTERIZED PREMIUM DIESEL, and you can leave fuel gelling and filter plugging out in the cold.

Originally posted on CENEXPERTS® BLOG

Utilizing the Entire Package

For many growers 2019 is finally in the books and preparation for 2020 is beginning with seed orders, chemical and fertilizer prepay as well as some end of year equipment upgrading. Others still have begun these steps while finishing up the last of their acres. 2019 was a year of windows; there were only a few windows to plant, and many acres around here never even had that window. Many times, this past summer I spoke with growers and the same comments arose “it only needed 2 good days of sun.” But for some that was never given. Then the windows of application and side dress came and went, and many acres of corn didn’t get the treatments that were needed. Harvest has come and went as one of the wettest falls on record and became a difficult task for many to complete. With the year of 2019 behind us I look to the adoption of technology on the farm, whether that is in actual hardware on a planter, combine or tractor, or if it is the adoption of technology in the data and information side. Many growers still adopted technology this year or began to utilize technology that they previously adopted.  

Looking into previously adopted technology, is the entire package of the information you adopted being used on your farm? 2020 is beginning as a year that we may need to tighten our belts and maximize the margin of profit on farm. Utilizing every bit of the information collected on your farm to make sound decisions is one way to increase this margin. If you have a precision planter, or a yield monitor on your combine, or even a GPS monitor in a tractor, are you utilizing the data collected? Or are you just letting the information sit on the monitors or as maps collected? This information collected on farm from your technology has a large amount of value if utilized to complete a cropping plan for 2020 and builds a larger amount of ROI on the technology compared to the basic utilization. Yield data is an important piece of information to maximize the production of a field, by validating the areas of the field that could benefit from increased fertility or seeding rates. Utilizing these variable rate seeding rates, then can be utilized to maximize placement of in season fertilizer rates.  

On a different note, soil sampling and software on farm is one of the least utilized pieces of information that I see from farm to farm. If your farm has GPS soil samples, why not utilize the sampling for your benefit by working with one of our YieldPoint® techs to create variable rate fertility plans for your fields. The software you select to manage your data is an important step into tracking your margins and building a field history to make better decisions in the future. As margins tighten up on corn and soybeans, using the complete package of the information you collect on your farm can be the key to maximizing the profit on a per acre basis.  

Written by Alex Yost, YieldPoint® Specialist

Trivar™ nominated for AgPro’s 2019 New Product of the Year

Free Your Phosphorus - Trivar, powered by Levesol.

AgPro magazine has nominated Trivar™ fertilizer additive from CHS Agronomy as one of 10 finalists for its 2019 New Product of the Year award!

The AgPro New Product of the Year competition puts the best new inputs, equipment, technologies and other products head-to-head against each other in a people’s choice contest.

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The Benefits of Maxtron® THF+

With the colder temperatures setting in across the United States, your equipment is most likely feeling the stress.

Cenex® premium full-synthetic tractor hydraulic fluid, Maxtron® THF+, is built to provide superior protection and enhanced performance in all weather conditions. Formulated with premium synthetic base oils and an advanced additive package that provides outstanding anti-wear and anti-oxidation properties, Maxtron THF+ delivers exceptional pumping efficiency and precision to keep operations running during peak times.

Watch this short video to learn about the value and benefits of switching to Maxtron THF+.

CHS Inc. owners elect five board members during annual meeting

Portrait of newly and re-elected CHS Board Members

CHS owners elected five board members to three-year terms during the cooperative’s 2019 Annual Meeting held Dec. 5-6 in Minneapolis. Pictured (l. to r.) are: Kevin Throener, Hal Clemesen, Mark Farrell, Alan Holm and Steve Riegel.

Officers of board also elected by board peers following Annual Meeting

CHS owners elected five board members to three-year terms during the cooperative’s 2019 Annual Meeting held Dec. 5-6 in Minneapolis. Newly elected to three-year terms are:

Hal Clemensen succeeds former director Randy Knecht, who retired from the CHS Board of Directors on Dec. 6. Clemensen represents Region 4, covering South Dakota, and has been the president of the board of directors of Agtegra Cooperative since its formation in 2018. He was president of the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association from 2005 until its merger with North Central Farmers Elevator in 2018. He is a past director and is an active member of the South Dakota Soybean Association and an active member of South Dakota Corn Growers. In 2015, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives named him Farmer Cooperative Director of the year. He raises corn, soybeans and wheat near Conde, South Dakota. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economic and Agricultural Business from South Dakota State University. Clemensen was appointed to the CHS Board’s Government Relations and Corporate Risk committees.

Kevin Throener succeeds former director Dennis Carlson, who retired from the board on Dec. 6, and represents Region 3, which covers North Dakota. Throener has been a director of CHS Dakota Plains Ag since 2014 and served as vice president of the Sargent County Farmers Union Board of Directors since 2007. He has also served on the Cogswell, North Dakota, Volunteer Fire Department since 1997 and was its chief from 2010 to 2018. Throener raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa and operates a feedlot and cow/calf business near Cogswell, North Dakota. Throener and his wife Ronda are first-generation farmers who built their operation from the ground up. He studied Agricultural Systems Management at North Dakota State University. He was appointed to the CHS Board’s Governance Committee and the CHS Foundation Board of Trustees.

Reelected to three-year terms are:

  • Mark Farrell, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm in Dane County, Wisconsin, representing Region 5.
  • Alan Holm, who operates a corn, soybean, sweet corn, peas and hay operation and has a cow-calf herd near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, representing Region 1.
  • Steve Riegel, who raises corn, soybeans, alfalfa, dryland wheat and milo near Ford, Kansas, representing Region 8.

Following the Annual Meeting, the board held its annual re-organization meeting. Each of the following board members was elected to one-year officer terms:

  • Dan Schurr, chair
  • C.J. Blew, first vice chair
  • Jon Erickson, second vice chair
  • Russ Kehl, secretary-treasurer
  • Steve Riegel, assistant secretary-treasurer

CHS Board announces fiscal 2019 equity management decisions

CHS will return $180 million in cash patronage and equity redemptions to its owners based on fiscal 2019 earnings.

Of that $180 million, $90 million will be distributed in cash patronage and $90 million will be distributed through equity redemptions.

  • Of the $90 million in equity redemptions, $63 million will be returned to member cooperatives and $27 million to individual members.
    • The $27 million in redemptions of individual producer member equity will be provided based on qualifying requests from individual members (estates and age 70+).
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David Neal named general manager for CHS Larsen Cooperative

New General Manager, David Neal

CHS Inc., leading US farmer-owned cooperative, has announced the appointment of David Neal as general manager for its Wisconsin-based ag retail business, CHS Larsen Cooperative. He starts his new position on Monday, November 25.

David Neal brings more than 25 years of experience in agribusiness, much of that in cooperative management positions. He was most recently with New Horizons Supply Cooperative, where he had been since 2000. As general manager there, he led the co-op to deliver solid earnings, even in agriculture’s challenging times. His background also includes work as a propane plant manager for CHS, giving him deeper insight into the cooperative system along with hands-on experience in one of CHS Larsen’s core business areas.

“As a leader, David has a history of developing teams, building strong relationships and creating those valuable connections between employees and customers that are key to what we stand for here at CHS Larsen,” said Steve Bartel, board chairman, CHS Larsen.

With a career serving Wisconsin agriculture, Neal holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin. He and his wife are originally from the Seymour area and are looking forward to moving back.

Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels

 

With the cold weather settling in, it is time to start thinking about winter diesel fuel. Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel product line offers broad coverage to meet your unique needs  – from moderate temperatures to extreme winter cold and everything in between.

Our full line up of Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels includes:

Cenex Wintermaster® Winterized Premium Diesel is formulated with an operability of –30° F and a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of –55° F. Cenex Wintermaster® is specifically formulated for the demands of diesel powered equipment in the most extreme winter conditions.

Cenex Roadmaster XL® and Ruby Fieldmaster® Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels are formulated for moderate climates and provide outstanding shoulder season flexibility. Cenex Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels deliver a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of -25° F.

#1 Diesel Fuel with Cenex Premium Diesel Fuel Additive is used to blend down your Cenex® Premium Diesel Fuel tanks during transition from summer to fall/winter, helping ensure additives remain at proper levels. Ideal for blending down bulk tanks, retail fueling site tanks and customer storage tanks. Contact our energy specialist today with any questions.

Originally posted on “In the Know” CHS

4 essential lubricant tips for winterizing farm equipment

Farm equipment sitting in storage

By Jon Woetzel, Manager Technical Services, Energy Lubricants, CHS from the Cenexperts blog

Harvest is tough. Once you’ve made it through some of the hardest weeks of the year, both you and your equipment deserve some R&R. But before your machines take a long winter’s nap, it’s important to get them ready for sitting dormant in the cold.

Even when your equipment isn’t running, lubricants play an essential role in keeping it protected. That’s why, as part of your yearly winterizing routine, you’ll want to assess your equipment’s fluids. Use these four lubricant tasks to protect your rigs all the way to spring.

1. Get a used oil analysis

Throughout harvest, your machines work overtime to meet the grueling demands of a farm’s busiest time of year. By the end of the season, all that wear and tear can take a toll on an engine, and seemingly small issues at this point can lead to bigger problems come spring.

A used oil analysis is an easy way to catch early warning signs of major issues that could be brewing inside your engine. This is because oil is the lifeblood of your equipment, touching nearly every part inside the engine.

Used oil analysis works by detecting any trace elements present in a sample of used oil from inside your rig. Based on the elements that turn up, lab technicians can identify a number of issues that may be waiting to happen in specific areas of your engine. Fix any issues before putting your equipment away, and you’ll set yourself up for success come time for planting. To get started, you can purchase a used oil analysis kit from your local CHS energy specialist.

2. Replace the engine oil

Once you’ve performed a used oil analysis, you may also want to consider an oil change before you put your machines away for winter. This is especially true if the results of your analysis reveal any traces of wear. After you make any repairs recommended by your analysis, give your machines some fresh, clean oil so you don’t leave acids and contaminants festering inside your engine for months on end.

Even if your used oil analysis comes back clean, you may still want to consider replacing your oil before winter. Remember, the longer an oil has been used, the less effective it becomes at protecting against rust and corrosion.

If you’re getting close to your change interval, it’s best to replace oil this season instead of waiting until spring. Just be sure to run the engine for at least 10 minutes before storing your rig to allow the oil to circulate. For protection all winter long, try a high-quality engine oil from Cenex such as MAXTRON® ENVIRO-EDGE® synthetic diesel engine oil, engineered for maximum lifespan and excellent protection against corrosive wear.

3. Top off your hydraulic tank

Another lubricant tip for winterizing your equipment is to top off hydraulic tanks. To function properly, hydraulic systems need to breathe, but since they’re not airtight, they’re prone to letting in moisture as equipment sits all winter. Condensation inside a hydraulic system is bad news due to the harmful corrosion it may cause.

The best way to prevent condensation in your hydraulic system over the winter is to minimize the airspace inside. The less opportunity air has to get in, the lower the chance that moisture will collect. Check your hydraulic fluid level, and if it’s not full, go ahead and top off your tank. Be careful, though, not to overfill. To further minimize condensation, you may also want to consider switching to a hydraulic fluid designed to prolong the life of your system’s seals, like MAXTRON® THF+.

4. Grease up moving parts

Finally, once you’ve taken care of your machines’ other fluids, complete the job by greasing any moving parts. Even though they’ll be sitting still all winter, moving parts can still corrode.Not only will a fresh coat of grease keep your equipment from rusting through the winter but it will also get it moving again easier come spring. For superior protection against rust and corrosion, try a Cenex grease such as MAXTRON® FS.

When the hard work of harvest is over, it can be tempting to overlook details like winterizing your equipment. But the period right after harvest is a valuable opportunity to take care of maintenance tasks that can fall through the cracks during busier times of year. Give your machines some TLC now, and you can both kick back soon for some well-deserved hibernation.

© 2020 CHS Inc.

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