Do you run lots of machinery?
Fuel is probably one of your biggest expenses.
What do farmers need?
Australian farmers are as tough and tenacious as they come.
They Need To Be
Farming in the 2000s means being on top of rapidly advancing science and technology – and business practice – while still battling hard against traditional enemies like drought, disease and competition with other industries for prime agricultural land.
Whether you’re helimustering across thousands of acres in WA or growing grain in the wheat belt, your operation depends on your fuel supply.
Top 3 Fuel Issues for Farmers
On-farm Fuel Security and Farm Fuel Theft
Time and again, farmers tell us fuel security is at the top of their list of farm fuel issues.
If you’re storing large quantities of fuel, theft can cost you thousands of dollars directly, not to mention the cost in lost productivity when storage tanks or machinery tanks in remote locations are drained, delaying essential work.
Fuel theft is very, very common around north-west NSW. Cotton farms carry an enormous amount of fuel and many pumps have large fuel tanks. They deliver fuel by the tanker on large broad acre cotton farms
Cotton Farmer, Moree, NSW
University of New England research confirms more than one in five farmers have first-hand experience of the problem, with crop farms a particularly attractive target at harvest and seeding times, when tanks are full.
When it comes time to harvest, or shift stock in remote areas, you need to know the fuel is on hand to do the job.Supply problems can be devastating, particularly when unforeseen problems at the big oil end leave communities short.
In December 2012, Victorian farmers received a huge wake-up call when large regional areas of the state ran out of diesel fuel after a problem at the Shell refinery at Geelong.
GrainGrowers Ltd says supply security is one of the issues causing concern, particularly with Australia importing much of its fuel, and farmers heavily reliant on road transport.
“With the closing of several fuel refineries across Australia in the last few years Australia is almost completely reliant on refined fuel from Singapore and other locations.”
The NRMA has released a series of reports on this issue as it lobbies for a national policy to stop the decline in refining capacity and reduce our reliance on imports.
Fuel and Transport Costs
Cost is huge, because we have to buy in bulk – it’s a huge outlay at one time, and coincidentally it mostly seems to come in the first month of the BAS quarter, so some time before we are able to claim any back.
We can store about 15,000 litres and get fuel in about three times a year, but because we can’t take a truckload we have to get it when others out this way are getting it, so we take it when it’s coming more often than trying to organise it when it’s cheaper.
Despite the fuel excise rebate and the recent glut of oil on the world market bringing down the price of fuel, farmers say fuel still remains one of the largest cost inputs into farming.
The rebates are really important because if you are a big user of diesel, and fuel is one of the biggest variable costs you are facing, to add that extra cost will cut your margins.
The cost of bringing fuel on to farms and the cost of purchase all adds up.
ABARES research shows in 2013-14 the national average fuel and oil spend per farm for crop farmers was more than $67,000, increasing to $114,000 for WA farms.
Cattle and sheep farmers aren’t immune either – in the Northern Territory, where properties cover huge areas, the average beef farm spent more than $131,000 on fuel in the same year.
Those costs increase when transport is factored in, making exercises in how much fuel to store on farm and when and how to buy an important aspect of business planning
As environmental and workplace health and safety regulations tighten, keeping up with practical fuel storage concerns and broader environmental and safety issues has become a full-time job.
Fuel infrastructure is not the sort of infrastructure that you regularly upgrade. An issue into the future is upgrading this equipment, because it’s a fairly restrictive cost.
The other side of things is making sure you have storage that meets environmental and WHS standards.
People have to make sure they are aware of the standards and compliant, and there’s a greater level of environmental compliance required now.
Keeping Fuel Safe
There’s no point having a huge store of fuel if contaminants like water and algae creep in and spoil it. As well as wasting the initial purchase and transport costs, dirty or contaminated diesel can do significant damage to the machinery that keeps farms working.
Maximising fuel life and minimising waste means staying on top of storage and maintenance issues.
Problems like contamination and losses through leaking tanks or valves can add dramatically to the cost of farm operations, as can the need to replace poorly maintained storage systems.
It’s important to use a water finding paste to monitor regularly for water contamination – usually caused by condensation or leaking joins. Pumping out any water that’s collected under the fuel and treatment with biocides are recommended to help prolong storage life.
As well as maintaining the tank itself, fittings can also deteriorate over time and need to be properly maintained.
The hidden cost of a leaking tank or fittings
Keeping People Safe
It’s important to have safe access to tanks for cleaning and refuelling
Safety issues over recent years have included new regulations around tripod tanks.
In 2005 NSW farmers using overhead tanks were forced to make expensive modifications after fuel distributors began to enforce tough new Workplace Health and Safety bans around access.
Traditionally the tanks were accessed from the top, which made safety a concern for tanker drivers refilling the supply.Because a driver must have three points of contact when refilling a tank, standing on a ladder while holding a nozzle was no longer an option once safety standards were tightened.
To comply with the new requirements, many farmers converted their tanks to bottom loading and at the same time installed gauges to make it easier to check fuel levels.
On the ground, stability of the tank stand itself is another issue when dealing with overhead storage.
It’s important to ensure solid foundations for the tank’s supports, and that the tank is properly earthed.
Rust spots and joint weaknesses can also be an issue as dents and deformations can shift the centre of gravity and establish corrosion stress points.
Looking After The Environment
Specific environmental by-laws differ across regions, but at a minimum Australian environmental regulations require a bunded area when more than 1200 litres of fuel is being stored.
Basically the law requires that tanks should be surrounded by a containment structure that will keep surrounding soil and water safe if a rupture or leakage occurs.
Not knowing the laws or taking shortcuts can be costly in environmental and monetary terms.
When spills do occur without proper protections in place the fuel is non-recoverable and large penalties apply, in addition to clean-up costs.
A problem clearly exists that frustrates farmers on a daily basis
That is why we created our unique range of self bunded fuel storage tanks. We cover all aspects of fuel compliance so "YOU" don't have to.
1,000 litres - 13,000 litres
A smaller more mobile storage option for small to intermediate fuel storage solutions
THE BLOC RANGE of tanks are designed for operators with the small to medium amounts of fuel usage. They are our most popular range because of their compact sizes, flexibility and the ease at which they can be moved or transported.
These tanks are like a first stage upgrade to an in-house refuelling solution.
Below are the refuelling benefits of a BLOC 4500 Tank for a range of common commercial vehicles.
12,000 litres - 69,000 litres
The "Big Boys" of our product range.
Serious large scale fuel storage solutions for operators who shift larges amounts of fuel
The Grande Tank Range is for the big operators that move at scale. Large volumes of fuel required to drive a large fleet of vehicles and equipment. These tanks have a self contained pump bay that is spec'd out to suit your exact requirement.
These tanks offer a great drag and drop solution with all internal fit-out done off site.
Big commercial farms that use tens of thousands of litres of fuel over peak periods are well suited to the GRANDE offering. Remember no underground works required here. Drag and drop. Job done.
Both the BLOC and GRANDE tank range are compatible with multiple fuel types
- Self bunded secondary tank containment system for additional environmental safety.
- Off site fit-out. Minimal ground work requirements with drag and drop on-site installation.
- Easy refill and inspection access points.
- Easy to move around and transport with flexible lifting options.
- Extra thick paint finish as standard that protects tanks longer in harsh environments.
- Tanks able to store different fuel types should operation requirements change.
- No grief from environmental, workplace health and safety or local authority officers as our tanks have full compliance with Australian Standards and Workplace Health and Safety rugualtions.
- Unlike gravity fed tanks, our tanks need a fuel pump system and power source to operate.
- The BLOC Tank does not include the price and cost of installation of fuel pump system.
100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
So confident in our product we are offering a 100% FES manufacturers guarantee across our entire tank range. Your FES TANK is warranted to the original user against defects in workmanship or materials under normal use for a period of 24 months* after purchase date.
* Any product which is determined to be defective in material and workmanship and returned to FES TANKS, shipping costs prepaid, will be repaired and replaced by FES TANKS.The warranty does not cover damage or failure which in the judgement of FES TANKS arises from misuse, abrasion, corrosion, negligence, accidental damage, faulty installation or tampering. If FES TANKS inspection discloses no defect in material or workmanship, repair or replacement and return will be made at customary charges.
About Fuel Equipment Specialists Tanks
It is rewarding to be part of a company that is making a difference for the rural community of Australia.
I enjoy the outback jobs because you see first hand how it improves a farmers working day. You guys work hard enough so any little thing we can do to help works for me.
Any questions, get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of the page or call me personally on 1300 651 391 so as we can work through a solution.
Yes we can help. Fill out the form below.
We work closely with you to ensure you get a superior product with A1 service at competitive prices. Simple.....
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in the standard package?
Each tank, whether the BLOC or GRANDE is supplied as a simple storage tank. They come with a white high grade paint finish, statutory safety signage. breather vent pipes and dip sticks. Refer to the specific product pages for specifications.
Why aren’t you able to gravity feed from the bottom of the tank?
The FES Tank self bunded design incorporates a fully sealed internal tank wrapped with an outer skin or “secondary containment” tank. This is where the term ‘self bunded’ comes from and is a safety feature to capture any potential leaks of the internal tank. As the internal tank is fully sealed, the only option for fuel to be retrieved out is via the highest point of containment of the internal tank which is the very top. Fuel must be pumped up and out.
Are you able to transport/ move the tanks full?
Yes, The FES BLOC tank range from 1,000L up to 6,000L are all designed and constructed with an internal baffle system.
This system adds two additional benefits to the user:
1) To allow the tank to be transported full (to the Safe Fill Limit) thereby removing the sloshing effect when the transport vehicle is in motion.
2) Extra strength for the internal tank with the baffles acting as additional bracing for the walls and floor.
Why aren't tanks supplied with pumps as standard?
The options on pumping equipment are very much dependent on your budget, pumping requirements and power supply. Once we know your requirements we can advise a set-up that is ideal for your day to day operations.
How often does the tank need maintenance/ servicing?
We highly recommend as a minimum to have the tank fully inspected every 12 months.
By having a certified/approved industry person check the tank annually, it will not only give the owner peace of mind it is still compliant and in good operating condition but it can greatly reduce the potential for unscheduled repairs as well as increase the tanks longevity.
Bi-annually or quarterly inspections are also viewed as good business especially when the tank is fitted out with a fuel dispensing system.