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6 tips to get your grain from the field to the bin

Updated: 09/19/2012 @ 7:51am

1. Add another semi truck

For sheer take-away speed, nothing beats the volume of semitrailer trucks for getting grain home from the field. Once a novelty on farms, semitrailer trucks have become a mainstay of grain hauling. But the days of finding cheap semis are over.

Greg “Machinery Pete” Peterson has seen firsthand the intense bidding interest on nice condition trucks since last August. At that time he was covering a farm retirement auction in southeast Minnesota held by Maring Auction Company that featured a 2009 Mack Model GU713. With only 21,566 miles on its odometer, the truck sold for $101,500. (See the table below for more details.)

The trend of rising used semitrailer truck values has carried over into Peterson's 2012 Machinery Pete reports. E.B. Harris Inc., auctioneers of Warrenton, North Carolina, reported to Peterson that bids were particularly strong on a May 19 farm auction they were conducting. At that sale in North Carolina, a 2000 Peterbilt with 648,037 miles sold for $35,000.

Peterson also witnessed two Peterbilt 379s bring strong bids at a southeast Minnesota auction.

“These babies were sweet rigs with Caterpillar Model C15 engines, 18-speed transmissions, and new rubber all around,” Peterson remembers. “I happened to visit with the guy who was the runner-up bidder on the 379 that sold for $105,000. He wound up getting the other Peterbilt for $100,000. He told me he had owned three Peterbilts in his life, and he wanted to buy and own just one more before he quit farming.”

Paul Wachter, president of Taylor & Martin Auctioneers, Inc. of Fremont, Nebraska (www.taylorandmartin.com), the leading trucking auction firm in North America, points out that the good years of farm income have driven farmer purchases of semitrailer trucks.

“From last summer through the end of 2011, it was a feeding frenzy,” Wachter recalls.

For even more semitrailer truck auction action, visit www.machinerypete.com. You can also read Peterson's weekly column at www.agriculture.com/machinery.

2. Expand Pit and Wet Storage Capacity

When Doug Repp set out to expand the capacity of his grain center several years ago, the Minburn, Iowa, farmer spent a great deal of time designing a high-speed dump pit. “I wanted a pit that would consume grain as fast as my hopper-bottom semitrailer trucks would drop it so I could have as close to on-the-go unloading as possible,” he explains. “I didn't want too small a pit to end up idling hundreds of thousands of dollars of harvest equipment in the field.”

For Dave Diedrich of Elkton, South Dakota, increasing grain-handling speed came with the addition of some wet storage that would hold at least a day's worth of hard harvesting to feed his continuous-flow dryer. “I didn't want my combine waiting on the dryer, so additional wet storage was the answer.”

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