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Traveling a considerable
distance from the home farm to work more ground has become a common practice.
But having an operation spread over a larger geographical area means your
equipment and supplies have to get to the fields, too.
When the Van Wyks’ farming
operation, which includes Loren and his sons, Luke and Chad, began to grow and
span many miles, they had to figure out a way to safely and efficiently get an
ample supply of fuel to their fields.
“We had upgraded our
equipment to include things like seed tenders and high-speed combine head carts
to help minimize our transport time,” says Luke. “We were frustrated because we
didn’t have a good portable fueling solution that offered the same high-speed
and safe operation as our equipment,” he says.
Like most farmers, the Van
Wyks, who are near Pella, Iowa, were using a 500-gallon tank strapped to a
trailer to deliver fuel to the field.
“The 500-gallon barrel we
were using was intended for stationary fuel storage; it wasn’t built to
withstand the stress of highway transport and fuel slosh,” Luke says. “Fuel
sloshing inside a tank going down the road can have a negative effect on the
driver and vehicle doing the towing, and it causes dangerous situations.”
To solve their problem, they
developed the Thunder Creek Fuel Trailer. No strangers to manufacturing, the
Van Wyks produce the trailers at LDJ Manufacturing, Inc., which they
established in 1999 to build corn stoves.
Through the end of 2005, the
family operated a 3,000-acre corn/soybean operation. That fall their
manufacturing business experienced rapid growth, and they consolidated their
farming operation with two neighbors. The partners manage and operate all the
acres. By doing this, the Van Wyks can concentrate on the manufacturing
business and add new products like the trailer.
“The design of the fuel
trailers is focused around the ability to travel faster, fuel faster, and do
all that reliably and safely,” says Luke. “Our trailers have a low-profile
design with baffles meant to eliminate fuel slosh as well as torsion
suspension,. The electric brakes add to the safety and towability of the
Another frustration was the
time it took to fuel equipment.
“Many of today’s larger
tractors and combines have fuel tanks ranging in size from 200 to 300 gallons.
Most of the pumps on the market today deliver 10 to 15 gallons per minute,
which means it can take up to 30 minutes to fuel a large piece of equipment,”
The family worked with Hypro
(www.hypropropumps.com) to design an exclusive gas pump that will deliver fuel
at the rate of 40 gallons per minute, essentially cutting fuel time by 75% and
getting equipment back in the field faster.
Trailers are DOT approved
and available in three sizes: 500 gallons, 750 gallons, and 990 gallons. There
are a variety of options and configurations available. The gross vehicle weight
rating runs from 7,000 pounds up to 14,000 pounds depending on trailer and
configurations. They are bumper-hitch trailers and intended to be towed behind
a ½-, a ¾-, or a 1-ton pickup.
Depending on the model and
options, prices range from $6,000 to $15,000.
“Efficiency is becoming a very
important word to farmers today because, even though we are covering more
ground, we still have to be able to accomplish all of our work in the same time
line as before,” says Luke. “The Thunder Creek Fuel Trailer is just another
tool for farmers to be able to get all their work done in those short time
LDJ Manufacturing, Inc.