Gypsoil building first plant to make pelleted gypsum in Minn.

Beneficial Reuse Management's (BRM) Gypsoil Pelletized Products Division will open a $5 million plant in Winona, Minn., late this fall to manufacture a pelletized gypsum product.

The new product, called Gypsoil Blendable pelleted gypsum, builds on the company's strong leadership position in supplying economical, high-quality bulk gypsum for agricultural production. BRM's Gypsoil division currently distributes bulk gypsum in 21 states throughout the Midwest, Plains, Southeast and Mid-South.

Highly durable, uniform pellet

Gypsoil conducted formal market research and worked with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to create a gypsum pellet with the specific handling and dissolution characteristics desired by fertilizer distributers and retailers.

"We've engineered Gypsoil Blendable to be a very durable, low-dust pellet that dissolves at a rate similar to potash, and it blends better than any other gypsum pellet on the market, says Steve Musser who oversees Gypsoil's pelletizing operations.

Gypsoil performed rigorous performance comparisons of Gypsoil Blendable versus gypsum and fertilizer products, said Musser.

"Gypsoil Blendable dissolves with rainfall in the field, yet it resists breaking down into pieces during storage, transport, blending and application, so it is more durable than ammonium sulfate or competitive gypsum pellets, Musser said.  

"Pellet size uniformity was another characteristic that fertilizer blenders told us was important, Musser said. "Gypsoil Blendable's uniformity will make it easy for our customers to blend high quality fertilizer products that meet the grower's need for uniform fertility across the field.

New plant creates new jobs

The new plant will create 20 new jobs with competitive wages. In addition to creating new jobs, the plant will utilize the Mississippi River and Winona's barge facilities to access raw materials.

"Winona was selected because of its terrific river access in the heart the upper Midwest, said Musser. "Local development interest for the project was also critical in our decision to locate in Winona. 

In addition to private funding for the Winona project, GYPSOIL obtained development loans from the city of Winona, the State of Minnesota and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

"Support from the local government and development organizations has been tremendous, and we look forward to being a long-term member of the Winona business community, says Musser.

Gypsoil's soil benefits

Gypsoil Blendable delivers approximately 16 percent sulfur in a sulfate form and 20 percent calcium on a dry matter basis. As a crop input, gypsum is one of the most cost effective sources of sulfur available to farmers, Musser says.

Gypsoil is also used as an effective soil amendment to alter soil chemistry and physical structure for better soil health. Healthy soils contribute to better overall water infiltration and utilization with less runoff, ponding and crusting; less soil and nutrient loss; better rooting and decreased concentrations of soluble phosphorus in water.

"Gypsum is becoming more widely recognized as a conservation tool to protect soil and water quality, says Ron Chamberlain, Gypsoil's lead agronomist.

Although gypsum offers many benefits, its use is new to many growers, crop consultants and ag retailers. Until Gypsoil came into the marketplace, gypsum was often difficult to access and expensive to use.

Proven track record

Gypsoil works with leading coal-fired utility companies and other processing plants that produce co-product gypsum to establish safe and reliable supplies for farmers. Gypsoil has developed a highly efficient logistics and distribution system across its marketing area.

Initiatives, such as the Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium, train certified crop advisors and others on technical aspects of using gypsum. Regional grower information meetings; research support for university, company and on-farm performance trials and water quality studies; and a 2014 economic impact study associated with gypsum applications - are all examples of Gypsoil's commitment to help the agricultural industry gain technical knowledge about using gypsum.