Stainless Steel Is a Natural Fit In Agriculture and Here’s Why

stainless steel

Visit any farm today and you will likely see stainless steel items in various locations across the property. Farmers use it for their feeding pails, the fences, the fully automated milking equipment, and more. People may wonder why a farmer would move away from light metal, galvanized steel, and plastics to stainless steel. What are the benefits of doing so?

Why Move to Stainless Steel?

Farmers have numerous reasons for making the move from steel to stainless steel. Steel comes with many drawbacks the agricultural industry must know of. Galvanized parts come with a limited useful life. The zinc layer applied to the steel determines the ability of the product to resist corrosion, and zinc isn’t as noble as iron. As a result, oxygen present in the corrosion process reacts with the zinc rather than the iron, which basically remains unaffected.

If at any time the protective zinc layer sustains damage or is removed through a machining process, the steel loses its protection and becomes more prone to rust thanks to its exposure to the environment.

Furthermore, the protective layer on the steel breaks down over time. As it does, it exposes the steel to the environment, so similar problems with rust arise. It’s hard to avoid damage when it comes to products used in agriculture. This explains why the industry continues to move to products such as stainless steel tubing made by Webco Industries as a better option. What other agricultural products benefit from the use of stainless steel?

Fencing and Accessories

Farmers often turn to stainless steel fences, gates, and partitions for a variety of reasons. Most farm buildings require some type of barrier, and agricultural insiders find stainless steel tubing serves as the best option when constructing these barriers. They find the metal is easy to pre-fabricate, assemble, and weld. As the surfaces are easy to clean, farmers know they won’t need to spend significant amounts of time maintaining the structures. In addition, the stainless steel resists abrasion and shock.

Watering

Animals need water to survive. The water supply needs to be constant, oxygenated, and clean or production performance is negatively affected. The agriculture industry loves stainless steel for watering devices because manufacturers can form the material to the buyer’s desired shape. Rounded edges remained the preferred choice to ensure the animals don’t sustain an injury when they go to get a drink. Livestock love stainless steel float bowls thanks to the smooth lip and deep dish. However, they aren’t the only animals making use of stainless steel watering products.

Piglets rely on watering nipples made from stainless steel to get the liquid they need to grow and thrive. Manufacturers combine the nipple with a body complete with dome screen and spring, all made from stainless steel. Certain agricultural operations require large watering devices made from stainless steel. They need devices that tip, as this eases the emptying and cleaning process.

Regular maintenance of watering devices involves the disassembly and assembly of the devices. As a result, the connections remain prone to abrasive stress. Stainless steel benefits users because the devices won’t weaken at the connections.

The agricultural industry needs watering bowls that remain mechanically resistant. Stainless steel adds strength to fabricated components, and the strength increases where the steel is formed. This mechanical property of the steel is referred to as work-hardening. The speed of the shape change along with the degree determine the increase in strength of the formed area. Why is this important?

The higher strength means wall thicknesses can be reduced without problems arising. This leads to watering devices that weigh less. Material costs decrease also, which those in the agricultural industry appreciate.

Equipment

Ventilation remains a necessity in farm buildings. The urine and manure present in these structures bring about a corrosive atmosphere, one that can result in damage to metal products used in the building of the structure. For instance, ventilation ducts and their fasteners made from stainless steel withstand these conditions with ease.

Furthermore, cowsheds and piggeries remain at elevated temperatures, and these temperatures accelerate corrosion. Farmers use hot air blowers to ensure the structures remain at the right temperature for piglets and calves. Using stainless steel to fabricate the heating and ventilation equipment ensures the equipment doesn’t fail early.

In addition, farmers find they can heat adjacent buildings with waste heat present in the exhaust air in these buildings. Doing so helps to keep their costs down. The heat exchangers and ducts used for this purpose should be made from stainless steel to prevent early failure.

Skin Care

People often assume farmers simply feed and water their animals, bring them in at night and let them out during the day, and the animals do the rest. They have lived in nature without human interference for centuries and can do the same today. However, animals do need human help at times, as their well-being directly affects their health and productivity.

Cows rub their skin against objects out in the open. When they are inside a cattle barn, they benefit from rotating or static brushes placed in the barn. The cows use them to clean their skin or remove insects. Due to the size of these animals, the brushes must be durable and capable of holding up to regular use.

Stainless steel materials ensure the brushes hold up with time. The steel protects the internal components of the brushes from impact and other sources of damage. This ensures the brushes are there to provide the skincare cows need, and this is only one way in which stainless steel is used to provide skincare for livestock.

These serve as only a few of many ways in which stainless steel is used in the agricultural industry with great benefits. This material also protects equipment that comes into contact with chemicals present in fertilizers, pesticides, and more. Over the past few years, the development of chemicals used for crop protection has accelerated and the corrosiveness of pesticides, herbicides, and more has grown. As a result, the use of stainless steel in agricultural applications has become more critical.

Research continues in the agricultural industry regarding different materials and their suitability for various applications. Stainless steel offers numerous benefits, as seen in the above applications. However, scientists will continue to conduct research to help those working in this sector have the best products for their unique needs.