A tour of the nearly completed Jackson Farmers fertilizer blend plant

Aerial view of Monolithic Dome fertilizer blend plant

The Monolithic Dome fertilizer blend plant at Jackson Farmers, Inc. is embedded into the hillside. Fertilizer delivery trucks drive up the gentle hill to the unloading area behind the dome. (Dave South)

Angled loading conveyor

Fertilizer is unloaded from trucks onto a simple, angled, belt conveyor. By embedding the dome into the hillside, the unloading station is high enough that a vertical elevator isn’t necessary. (Dave South)

Head-house at dome apex

The head-house sits atop the dome without any internal supporting columns. Fertilizer loading into the dome drops through a tube at the apex. (Dave South)

Polar conveyor

Inside is a steel ring, attached to the concrete shell. A center-pivot conveyor — also known as a polar conveyor — hangs from the dome and is attached to the steel ring using a small motor and wheels. Fertilizer drops down the vertical tube from the head-house into the screw conveyor. (Dave South)

View from above storage bins

The polar conveyor rotates around on the steel ring, filling each bin. A telescoping opening on the conveyor ensures exact placement for maximum storage capacity. (Dave South)

Largest storage bin

The largest of the seven storage bins can hold 22,500 cubic feet of material. The smallest storage holds 3,900 cubic feet. The facility contains a total of 94,000 cubic feet across all seven storage bins. (Dave South)

Installed bin door

The first installed bin door. See how it slopes into the bin. Loaded fertilizer rests against the door and flows out underneath. When the product in the container is low enough, a skid loader lifts the door open, and it is locked in place. Then the skid loader drives inside to clear out the remaining fertilizer. (Dave South)

Central core

The catwalk appears curved in this panoramic photo of the central core. A skid loader can easily move from bin to bin in this core, scooping up the fertilizer, and driving it to the mixer at the delivery entrance (behind the camera). (Dave South)

Snow covered construction site

Kansas weather kept the site wet and muddy. Of course, there were beautiful, snowy days, too. (Mike South)

Delivery entrance

Work continues to finish the plant with one of two mixers installed at the delivery entrance. When complete, custom fertilizer mixes — depending on weather, crop, season, and other factors — are delivered to farmers to apply to their fields. (Dave South)