Diesel direct

01/25/2011 @ 10:55am

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 trailer.”

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,” Luke says.

The family worked with Hypro ( 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 lines.”

Learn More

LDJ Manufacturing, Inc.