Top ways to keep water out of your diesel

By Steve Hinds, Senior Business Development Manager, CHS Refined Fuels Marketing from the Cenexperts blog

diesel powered tractor in a corn field

Incompatible people are often said to mix like oil and water. But if you really want to talk about an unfortunate combination, look no further than fuel and water. Water in a machine’s fuel line can be a one-way ticket to trouble.

The good news about water damage is it’s preventable. Here’s what you need to know about diesel fuel water contamination and how to keep it from sinking your operation.

Top problems caused by water in diesel fuel

From reduced performance to major engine problems, water contamination is a serious issue for diesel equipment owners. Here are the most common problems that can occur when water contaminates fuel. 

  • Microbial growth: Water is a hotbed for microorganisms. And a microbial invasion can spell disaster for a piece of equipment. These microscopic parasites can plug fuel pumps, injectors and filters, potentially leading to equipment breakdown.
  • Fuel filter distortion: Today’s high-performance farm machines have tight tolerances, so fuel filters are essential for keeping impurities out of engines. But if a fuel filter is exposed to water, it becomes distorted, allowing impurities to pass through into the engine.
  • Corrosion: Last but not least, corrosion is another major problem that can result from water-contaminated diesel fuel. Metal parts, from fuel tanks to injector pumps, can rust if they come into contact with water.

How to keep water out of diesel equipment

Your fuel system is bigger than just the fuel line inside your equipment. To keep water out of your machinery, it’s important to tackle the problem at its source: your bulk fuel tank. Here are two easy preventive actions.

  • Perform regular bulk tank maintenance: Keep your operation running smoothly by establishing a bulk tank maintenance routine. A few easy things you can do regularly include draining and cleaning your tank, cleaning the pump screen and changing pump filters seasonally.
  • Collect a tank sample: Keep a lookout for water in your bulk tank by taking occasional tank samples, which give you a valuable snapshot of the conditions inside your tank. To learn more about tank sampling and to purchase a tank sample, contact your local Certified Energy Specialist.

Choose fuel that fights water from the start

One of the simplest ways to protect your operation from water damage is also one of the most overlooked: fuel selection. Even for experienced farmers, it can be easy to fall into thinking that fuel is fuel — but the truth is, all diesels are not created equal.

Switching to a high-quality fuel like Cenex Ruby Fieldmaster® premium diesel can go a long way toward protecting your operation from water damage. That’s because Ruby Fieldmaster contains an industry-leading additive package, including powerful demulsifiers that keep water out of equipment.

Demulsifiers work by separating water from fuel, and they’re active even while the fuel sits inside your bulk tank. Thanks to these demulsifiers, extracted water sinks to the bottom of the tank and collects safely beneath the fuel — keeping water from ever entering your equipment in the first place.

With a few simple precautions, fuel contamination is easy to prevent. Cut corners, though, and it could leave your operation…dead in the water. Start protecting your operation today with Premium Diesel from Cenex.

Join us for the 2019 CHS Owners Forum webinar

CHS Owners Forum Webinar

Missed the 2019 CHS Owners Forum in your area? Tune in for the CHS Owners Forum webinar Friday, June 28, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CT, to hear business updates from CHS leadership including CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin. We will also take a look at industry trends and ask for your input on how we can make connections that support long-term success. Register here.

Ready for Change

By Annette Bertelsen, from Spring 2019 C magazine

What happens when the world’s biggest buyer suddenly backs away from U.S. soybeans? That’s been a question on everyone’s mind since July 6, 2018, when the United States implemented China-specific tariffs. The move embroiled U.S. farmers and cooperatives in a trade war that hit the soybean world particularly hard. Spring USDA data shows 2018–2019 soybean export inspections down nearly 34 percent from the year before, with farms and cooperatives struggling to handle huge carryover and reduced cash flow.

“We don’t know yet how all this will play out for the soybean market,” says Nancy Johnson, executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. “Wheat growers who experienced the Russian wheat embargo in the 1980s say they are still feeling repercussions 40 years later because other countries stepped in and sold grain to the Soviets. Brazil is already harvesting soybeans headed to China.”

Ground to a Halt

North Dakota was hit hard by the recent trade standoff . “For two decades, we sold most of our soybeans directly off the farm, delivering them to a local terminal that unloaded 500 trucks a day and sent several shuttle trains a week to the Pacific Northwest for export to China,” says Johnson. “Demand was good. Soybeans penciled out beautifully.”

Last summer, things changed abruptly in the state, which ranked No. 2 in exporting whole U.S. soybeans.

“For months, there were zero bids for soybeans in the Pacific Northwest, our traditional export region. Everything ground to a halt and most of the crop went into storage,” says Johnson, who notes the situation was further aggravated by bad fall weather that extended or prevented harvest. Johnson estimates half of North Dakota’s 2018 soybean production is still on the farm or at elevators.

Successful Navigation

“Global grain trade is in constant flux. Currencies fluctuate, elections happen, economies grow and policies shift,” says John Griffith, senior vice president, CHS Global Grain Marketing. “But the U.S.–China tariff situation is the single largest politically driven event in recent history. It reminded us all to be wary when business gets concentrated with one country.”

Recent grain flow interruptions due to trade issues — compounded by heavy snow that limited rail shipments and spring flooding that slowed river barge movement — reinforce just how critical a global footprint is to the U.S. farm economy. Export business is the marginal demand that has the biggest impact on prices U.S. farmers receive, says Griffith.

CHS markets grain to buyers in more than six dozen countries. “Demand in the Asia Pacific region is growing. Latin America is a strong market, right in our backyard. And South America and the Black Sea region remain critical for sourcing so we can be a reliable year-round grain supplier,” says Griffith. “Every day, we bring these pieces together to fulfill our mission of providing market access and competitive bids to our owners.”

When trade disputes slowed grain flow to China in 2018, the CHS grain marketing team in Southeast Asia was able to secure new business in countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Effective communication has been critical to navigating through the changes, Griffith says. “We put extra effort into keeping everyone well informed, and we strategized together as a supply chain so farmers, cooperatives and CHS could plan for harvest and changing logistics.”

Education and advocacy are important, too, says John Engelen, vice president, CHS Government Affairs. “As the United States seeks a fair and level playing field for U.S. exporters, CHS has met with legislators, Cabinet officials and trade negotiators to educate them about the impact of trade policy on American farmers and ranchers. We have also joined in eff orts by coalitions and trade groups to urge the administration to resolve trade disputes in a timely manner.”

Something Bigger

Local cooperatives like Western Consolidated Cooperative (WestCon) in west-central Minnesota say being part of a larger system is always important, but even more so during times of uncertainty.

“In the northwestern Corn Belt, 90 percent of our corn and 60 percent of our soybeans go to the Pacific Northwest. Any export disruption starts to build our inventories immediately, affecting handling capacity and profitability,” says Paul Mattson, grain department manager for the Holloway, Minn.–based cooperative.

“We appreciate that CHS has been building relationships with new buyers, giving farmers access to the increasing corn and soybean demand in Mexico and to soybean buyers in nontraditional markets like Europe and parts of Southeast Asia,” says Mattson.

“Our owners trust West-Con and CHS to connect them with global markets and provide critical market information,” he adds. “That is why cooperatives were started 100 years ago — because working together is better than working individually.”

Roger Hugenberg, general manager of Ursa Farmers Cooperative in Ursa, Ill., agrees that collaboration delivers added value.

“We get daily trade updates from CHS,” he says. “We recently exchanged ideas at a conference and held a strategic board retreat with help from CHS Cooperative Resources. The discussions accelerated our learning curve for better solutions as part of the supply chain and help us remain relevant to producers.”

You are invited to the 2019 CHS Owners Forums

register for a 2019 CHS owners forum

The 2019 CHS Owners Forums will be held at 11 sites across the country in May and June. As an owner of CHS, we invite you to join us at the forum nearest you to hear business updates from CHS leadership including CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin. We will also take a look at industry trends and will be asking for your input on how we can make connections that support long-term success. Forums will wrap up with lunch at noon. Please register to reserve your spot.

Check for underground utilities before digging

Whether your spring to-do list includes building a fence or planting trees – breaking ground should always be done with caution. April is National Safe Digging Month so remember, your best line of defense before digging is to call 811, a free service that marks underground utilities and pipelines. Many of these are less than a foot underground. 

The process is simple: Call 811 or visit three days before a digging project, wait for underground utilities to be marked and don’t dig within two feet of those markers.  


It’s best to call 811 any time you break ground, even if you think you know where a utility line is located. “In the U.S., an underground utility is hit every nine minutes, causing dangerous consequences,” says Tina Beach, public awareness specialist for CHS. “It takes a lifetime to build a farm, and it takes just one free call to keep it safe.”  

3 equipment tips to get the most out of a short planting season

Planting Equipment Tips

By Mimi Falkman, senior marketing specialist, CHS Lubricants

Planting season is always a busy time of year on the farm, but it can be especially tight when winter overstays its welcome. A short spring means there’s even less time than usual for farmers to complete some of the most important work of the year.

During a condensed planting season, equipment is under added stress because it needs to work overtime to meet demands. To keep machines protected and operating at peak performance during a shorter spring, farmers can set themselves up for success by preparing their equipment and fluids while the fields are still wet.


CHS reports $596.3 million of net income for first six months of fiscal 2019

CHS Income

CHS Inc. reported net income of $248.8 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 and $596.3 million for the first six months of fiscal 2019.

“Our strong performance in the second quarter reflects our hard work at serving our owners and other customers better. We’ve refocused on serving our customers and improving our operations, and that has shown positive results in our financials for the first half of fiscal 2019,” said Jay Debertin, CHS president and chief executive officer. “Our performance also reflects the benefit of a diverse platform across business units that serves our cooperative and farmer-owners.”


Recognize, respect risks associated with grain handling

grain safety

Grain powers American agriculture. During Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week, March 25 through 29, we want to remind everyone working on farms and in grain-handling facilities to respect and understand the risks associated with working with grain.

“It’s important to continue to work with the industry, our employees and our farmer-owners on the hazards in the grain industry, while stressing safe practices and controls to ensure their safety,” says Matt Surdick, manager, Country Operations Environment, Health and Safety, CHS. (more…)

It Takes Talent to Feed the World

By Nanci Lilja, President, CHS Foundation

National Ag DayWhen most people think of agriculture, they wonder how we are going to feed the growing population of 9.6 billion by 2050.  And while that’s an important question to consider, I find myself thinking more often about the individuals needed to fill the talent pipeline to feed that growing population.

With nearly 4 in 10 agriculture jobs going unfilled each year and the average-age of farmers ever increasing, it’s going to take a pragmatic, creative approach to encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture. (more…)

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