The Difference Between Oil and Grease

Often when people think about lubricants, they only think about oil. But oil isn’t the only lubricant equipment owners need to keep their operation moving.

Grease plays a critical part in the health of their equipment and is an essential part for any well-rounded equipment maintenance plan. Grease provides different benefits to keep crucial components protected. To keep your customers’ operations moving and decrease downtime, here’s what you should know about the special role of grease.

How grease is different

Despite their physical differences, common ingredients are found in both oils and greases. The type of base oil, either classified as conventional or synthetic, determines how thermally stable the product is when exposed to extreme conditions. Specific chemical ingredients, also known as additives, are then added to provide each product with a specific slate of benefits.

The biggest difference setting grease apart from oil is its thickener. Grease is a thickened oil, not a thicker oil. The thickener within a grease acts as a sponge, holding the base oil and the additives together. This creates a grease’s semi-fluid or solid structure, as opposed to the syrup-like consistency of oil. This added thickener is crucial when it comes to the applications where grease is needed.

How grease functions differently

At the most basic level, oil and grease both perform the same general function: to prevent metal-on-metal contact and protect equipment from wear. However, there are many ways components move and environments they endure inside equipment.

For intense friction and high-speed applications, an oil is typically the best choice. But other components that endure heavy loads or move vertically typically require a grease. Grease is engineered to stay in place and provide a longer lasting barrier between metal components, such as wheel-bearings.

Grease also acts as an excellent seal. Moving parts that are exposed to the elements are a welcome mat for dirt and debris waiting to contaminate equipment. Grease seals out harmful contaminants, keeping equipment protected for maximum performance and minimum downtime.

How grease maintenance works (not so) differently

Owner’s manuals almost always provide instruction on the oil maintenance routine recommended for a piece of equipment. However, few manuals offer guidance on grease maintenance, even though it’s a vital part of an overall maintenance routine.

Because of its significant role in keeping equipment protected, it is important to use a high-quality grease product. For guidance on the best grease for your customers’ equipment, visit the Cenex Equipment Look-up Tool.

Bulk Fuel Storage Reminders

One important thing to remind all our customers to do during planting prep is to clean out dirt and other debris that has accumulated in your fuel tanks.  Debris can be pumped into equipment where it will cause build-up that leads to less-than-optimal performance and eventually can require expensive repairs. To reduce the risk, best practices call for fully cleaning out fuel tanks at least once per year and switching out filters each quarter.

Equally as important as getting rid of debris in tanks is keeping water out of the fuel supply. Fuel contaminated with water can cause decreased acceleration, loss of horsepower and, in some cases, engine damage that spells costly downtime. Water in the fuel also allows for microbial growth to form inside tanks that attack the fuel. Frosty springtime mornings add to risk with increased condensation.

Equipment today comes with water drain valves. As you prepare for a busy growing season, remember to use those valves to remove water from machinery, in addition to removing water from storage tanks regularly.

There is one extra-easy way to minimize water in equipment during the season, when you’re done working at the end of the day, take time to fill up the fuel tank. Condensation happens overnight — especially in spring weather — and reducing airspace by filling up tanks every day will reduce that risk.

For more information about bulk fuel storage or to learn more about the importance of Cenex premium diesel fuels, please contact your local sales representative. 

Nicolet Fire District Hosts Emergency Response Fire Training

The Nicolet Fire District, in partnership with the Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council (WiPERC), is hosting an emergency response, live propane fire training on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM.   Approximately 50 fire fighters from the Nicolet Fire District, White Lake Fire Dept., Riverview Fire Dept. and the Doty Fire Dept. are expected to attend.  At times during the training, area residents may see flames shooting 20 feet or more into the air.  Local media and other observers are welcome to watch.

The training consists of classroom instruction on the physical properties of propane and a hands-on portion that includes five fire scenarios including a grill, forklift, bulk tank, and propane terminal piping props. All hands-on training is overseen by Wisconsin certified fire instructors, FIRE LLC and is conducted in accordance with NFPA 1403.The Doty Fire Dept. is providing local coordination and the location for the training.  WiPERC estimates the value of this training is $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of the group trained and the number of trainers required.  

Propane will be provided by CHS Larsen Cooperative, who is a WPGA member and participates in the propane industry check-off program, which provides the funding for this training.

The Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council is the education foundation of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association (WPGA). 

The training will be held at the Town of Doty Town Hall located at 14899 County Road T Mountain, WI  54149.

For more information on this program contact Emma Corning, WPGA/WiPERC Executive Director at emma@wipga.org or 608-210-3307.                

CHS to Host Educational Grain Webinar Series

CHS is kicking off the new year with a series of educational grain marketing webinars.

Tune in to hear from grain experts across CHS as they dive into all aspects of grain marketing, from futures to basis and all things in between. They will also be discussing grain marketing contracts and the benefits and strategies behind each type. All of this is designed to help you get the most out of every bushel.

Understanding Grain Marketing: A CHS Educational Webinar Series

February 16: Intro to the Grain Markets- understanding how futures and basis work.

February 23: Basic Grain Marketing Contracts

March 2: Managed Price Contracts, Average Price Contracts

Please note, you must pre-register in order to attend.

Each session begins at 3 p.m. CST and is free to attend. Please pre-register for one or all sessions. The link for access will be sent prior to each session. Access is available by computer, tablet or smartphone.

We hope you can join us for this educational series. Reach out to your local CHS grain team with questions.

Do I Really Need to Contract Fuel?

Do I really need to contract? When is the right time to contract?  How do I know if I’m getting a good price?  Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price?

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion and even a slight bit of controversy over the subject of fuel contracting on the farm.  Let me tell you this, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.  I honestly don’t know if these are even the questions you want to be asking yourself when thinking about contracting. 

This time last year crude oil was hanging out around $60/barrel, which was about the average for 2019, and the beginning of 2020.  Until Covid hit the US, and along with it came the potential for an economic disaster that could top the Great Depression.  On April 20, 2020 the crude market made history; closing the day at -$36.98.  For 1-day crude oil was worth less than nothing! What a day, filled with fear and uncertainty. Since this day the markets have seen a slow steady recovery, very slow.  Non the less, we are currently hanging out around $45/barrel.  With no sign of complete economic recovery in the near future, the market has bounced a bit in the past few months; but seems to really like that $45/barrel marker. 

Though the energy markets seem very content under $50/barrel right now, we have to ask ourselves, what does the next 9 -12 months actually have in store for us?  Will the US continue to struggle financially?  Will Covid continue to rule the energy markets?  Will the new administration bring in new changes that will ultimately affect the markets?  The unknown can be quite scary. 

So, let’s go back to the original questions:

Do I really need to contract? 

That depends, how will you be affected by a price spike that could bring diesel fuel up over $1+/gallon higher than the current price?

Does contracting give you piece of mind?  Do you like to gamble?  When is the right time to contract? 

There is no right or wrong time to contract.  Historically, pricing is at it’s best between December & March…but history doesn’t always repeat itself!  If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that!  Leaning on your energy sales consultant is the best idea. 

How do I know if I’m getting a good price?  What is a good price? 

The question you really need to ask yourself is; does this price work with my annual budget? In other words, can I spend this much for fuel and still make the necessary profit for my business.

Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price? 

Contract prices can sometimes be higher than the current rack price (not always) because we are buying “futures”.  With “futures” purchase there is always a risk, and risky behavior comes with a higher price-tag!  Speculations of the futures markets can also wreak havoc on contract pricing-will there be supply issues in spring or fall?  Will there be a bumper crop and cause for higher demand for fall?  Will the prospect of a new administration cutting US drilling cause prices to skyrocket?  These types of conversations will definitely raise eyebrows and lock in pricing!

Back to the original question of “is contracting your fuel important?”

The answer is = YES, it is important, but it is not the best option for everyone.  Only you can make that decision if contracting is right for you. 

One statement I make to my customers: DON’T LOOK BACK!  What I mean by this, if you lock in your fuel at a price that you are comfortable with, stop shopping.  There is no reason to waste precious time looking for the cheaper price, there is always going to be a cheaper price, but there is always going to be a higher price too.  For your own piece of mind, lock it in and forget about it.  DON’T LOOK BACK, you might trip over something in front of you!

Written by Kim Leisner, Certified Energy Specialist

Cenex® Gift Cards for Gallons Started November 1

Starting November 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021, end-user customers can earn one $50 VISA® gift card for every 100 gallons of qualifying lubricant and grease products purchased.

Eligible lubricant products include:

  • Irriflex®
  • Maxtron® DEO
  • Maxtron® Enviro-EDGE®
  • Maxtron® GL
  • Maxtron® THF+
  • MP Gear Lube
  • Qwiklift® HTB®
  • Superlube 518®
  • Superlube TMS®

Eligible grease products include:

  • Corn Head Grease
  • HD Moly Xtreme
  • Poly-Xtreme®
  • Maxtron® EP
  • Blue Gard® 500+™
  • Fluid Gear Grease
  • Molyplex 500+
  • ML 365®
  • Red Protect XT®
  • Maxtron® FS

To redeem purchases, end-user customers must complete a redemption form, attach their detailed invoice(s) and/or receipt(s), and mail the documentation as instructed no later than April 6, 2021. Contact your energy specialist with any questions.

Article courtesy of Cenex Fuels & Lubes

Keeping Engines Protected During Brutal WI Winters

It’s time once again to take steps to protect your diesel-powered equipment from harsh winter weather. Cenex Premium Diesel Fuels are exactly what you need – from moderate temperatures to extreme winter cold and everything in between.

CHS Larsen Cooperative takes your winter fuel needs seriously. The Energy Sales team, works closely with our logistics crew and drivers to ensure that every one of our customers gets the proper winter blend. 

Every year, in late October we begin the process of preparing your fuel for winter. We start out with an additive we refer to as WAIV or Winter Aid 4/Cold Flow improver.  This additive is made up of de-icers and wax anti-settling agents.  This additive mix has a treat rate of 1 gallon WAIV for every 1600 gallons of #2 diesel, or in our case Cenex premium diesel, this helps extend the operability of your equipment during the late fall chill. This is an inexpensive, yet effective plan for early weather treatment.

Then, as the very popular holiday of gun deer hunting season approaches, or some of you may know it as Thanksgiving week; we move from WAIV to Cenex Premium Diesel Seasonally Enhanced or SE.  This switch can occur slightly before or after deer hunting, depending on outside temps and forecasted weather.  The ultimate goal with Seasonally Enhanced fuel is to create a 70/30 blend in your tank.  70% #2 to 30% #1, which delivers cold filter plugging protection to approximately -25 degrees and an operability level of about -13 degrees.  Depending on outward weather forecasts, we usually continue delivering Ruby Fieldmaster SE and Roadmaster SE through March of the following year. 

As you can see, CHS Larsen Cooperative goes to great lengths to assure our customers that their fuel is prepared for winter weather.  What can you, as a consumer do to help the process and obtain the proper blend to keep you moving once we freeze over?  Below are a couple things to think about as winter approaches…

  1. Work with your CHS Larsen Energy sales team member or your local driver to make sure you leave enough room in your tank to blend the #1 in with your current #2 or Cenex Premium Diesel fuel supply. Sometimes it is necessary to stop delivery of fuel for a short period of time to allow tank to empty some.  We call this blending down a tank.  Make sure we do this early enough in the season, when temps aren’t yet arctic.  As a reminder, #1 will not blend properly if the outside temps are below the current cloud point of the fuel in your tank.
  • Don’t forget about your equipment!  You know the tractor that you haven’t used since July and don’t plan on using again; until you have to move snow in January.  Well that tractor has no #1 fuel in it!!!  Take it for a ride and use the fuel, refill it with winter blend.  This is a lot easier than emptying the tank, heating everything with a hair dryer and changing a filter, in -2 degree weather!
  • Preventative maintenance! Change your tank fuel filters twice a year, spring and fall. Old fuel filters equal plugged fuel filters equal no fuel coming out of your nozzle!  Don’t have a filter on your tank?  It is imperative you get one asap. Tanks get crud in the bottom of them, it’s life; the last thing you want to do is pull that crud out of the bottom of the tank and put it inside the fuel system of your equipment.  Call your Energy Sales Team Member and we can get you set up with a tank fuel filter system. 

If you have any questions about winter blending or Cenex Premium Diesel please call us, we are happy assist you with all of your energy needs. 

Written by Kim Leisner, Certified Energy Specialist

12 Propane Grilling Safety Tips

It’s grilling season!

Antsy to fire up your FAVORITE CHARBROILED RECIPE? While grilling season is all about having fun with loved ones outdoors, it’s important to take proper safety measures before your first cookout. Outdoor grills have become very popular, and propane grills, in particular, come with their own set of precautions. To start your season off right, brush up on some important propane grilling guidelines below.

Purchasing your cylinders

  • Check all propane cylinders for dents or scratches before purchasing. Indentations can indicate potential leaks. 
  • While transporting cylinders in your car, be sure to keep them upright and secured in place. Cylinders rolling around in your trunk or backseat can result in propane leaking into your vehicle. 
  • Note that most states have restrictions on how many cylinders can be transported by motor vehicle at once. It’s always a good idea to review local laws and restrictions with your local fire department.

Filling your cylinders

Whether you’re heading to your cabin or campsite this weekend, or just staying home and firing up the grill? We’ve got Propane fill stations all over Northeast, WI. Follow the link to a map of all our LP Fill stations: https://bit.ly/lpdispenser

Using your propane grill

  • Before you begin, take a few minutes to re-familiarize yourself with your grill’s manual. Double check the proper procedure for connecting a cylinder and for igniting your particular model.
  • Use your grill in an open area with good clearance above it. Remove any combustible materials that may be nearby.
  • Propane has an odor added to it that is similar to that of natural gas, so use your “sniffer” to detect signs of leaking.
  • Keep the lid of the grill open while lighting to avoid flash burns.
  • While operating the grill, maintain site lines and watch for any flare ups.
  • As a bonus safety precaution, have a water bottle nearby just in case any food or grease should catch fire.

Clean up and storage for next season

  • While packing up your grill, clean off any food residue or remaining grease to avoid any future flare ups or fires.
  • For long-term storage, keep cylinders upright, secure and out of reach for children.
  • Most states have fire codes for how many cylinders can be stored in one place. Your local fire department will have specific guidelines for your area.

For any other questions or concerns about propane safety, you can check out the PROPANE EDUCATION AND RESOURCE CENTER’S website or the CHS Larsen Co-op Propane site.

By: SCOTT PEARSON Director of Risk & Asset Development, CHS Propane in PROPANE

Image courtesy of FLICKR USER.

CHS Larsen Delivers $5,000 Grant to Iola Car Show

Joe Opperman, executive director of Iola Car Show Inc. and Pat Brosseau, energy department manager of CHS Larsen

Historic nonprofit event—a source of Wisconsin pride—to use grant to improve event grounds

The Iola Car Show, an annual nonprofit event for auto enthusiasts, was honored as a source of pride to the community by CHS Larsen and Cenex®, the energy brand of CHS. As part of this award, the Iola Car Show received a $5,000 grant to further develop its event grounds for future celebrations.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the car show was replaced with the first-ever Rally for Iola that occurred on July 11. Rally for Iola was designed to bring the community together in uncertain times. It featured a car parade through the show grounds followed by a scenic 60-mile road cruise through Waupaca County. Shortly before the event, the $5,000 grant was present to Joe Opperman, executive director of Iola Car Show Inc. by Pat Brosseau, energy department manager of CHS Larsen. The grant money will be used for new siding on the event’s Toy Barn, a signature landmark of the show.

“We were thrilled to be the recipient of the Hometown Pride Grant,” said Joe Opperman, “this money is being used to maintain a key feature of the show for attendees to enjoy for years to come.”

Set to resume the annual celebration in 2021, the Iola Car Show is the largest car show and swap meet in the country. The event attracts more than 115,000 car enthusiasts each year and raises money to support its community. Since 1984, the nonprofit event has given back more than $8.4 million to more than 130 different local organizations and projects, including youth sports teams, Boys and Girls Clubs and conservation organizations.

“The Iola Car Show has been a monumental event to our community for close to 50 years,” said Brosseau. “Although we’ll miss it this year, we’re proud to support the continuation of such a unique event for years to come.”

The grant was provided through an initiative that encourages Cenex dealers, retailers and distributors to share stories about what makes their local communities special. In its second year, the initiative will grant more than $100,000 to Cenex communities this year.

“The Cenex brand is committed to supporting and celebrating what makes hometowns across America special,” said Mark Vanderlinde, communications manager at CHS. “We are proud of our Cenex dealers, like CHS Larsen, who play an active role in enriching their community’s culture, no matter the circumstances.”

About Cenex

Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, provides high-quality refined fuels through nearly 1,500 locally-owned convenience store locations across 19 states. Consumers depend on Cenex fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products to power homes, businesses and communities. CHS, Inc.(www.chsinc.com), which owns the Cenex brand, is a leading global agribusiness owned by American farmers across the United States with domestic and international operations including energy, agronomy, grain trading and food processing.

Plan Ahead to Purchase Cenex® Grease this Summer for Gift Cards

Starting June 15 through August 14, 2020, end-users can earn VISA® gift cards on qualifying Cenex® grease products. End-users will receive a $15 gift card for every qualifying 4-10 pack or 35-pound pail purchased during the qualifying time frame.

Customers may also receive a $50 VISA gift card for every qualifying 120-pound keg purchased during the promotional window. Qualifying grease products include:

  • HD Moly Xtreme
  • Poly-Xtreme®
  • Maxtron® EP
  • Blue Gard 500+™
  • Molyplex 500+
  • Maxtron® FS
  • Red Protect XT™
  • ML 365®
  • Fluid Gear Grease
How it works:
  1. Provide a copy of the redemption form to the end-user to submit their claim. You can get these forms from your Certified Energy Specialist
  2. End-user completes the Summer Grease for Gift Cards redemption form, attaches required receipts, and mails it to CHS post-marked no later than September 16, 2019.

Questions? Contact your CHS Larsen Co-op representative.

© 2021 CHS Inc.