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Steel Deals - Hopper Bottom Grain Trailers

The impact of trade wars and tough growing conditions is holding back purchases of farm equipment, including hopper bottom grain trailers. There’s a good supply of late-model trailers in the marketplace, and prices are soft.

Dave Mowitz is the machinery and technology editor for Successful Farming magazine. He says you might be able to knock off 10%-30% over what you’d pay for these trailers in the past. But before signing on the dotted line, ask the seller why they’re selling it. Verify the VIN number, investigate the trailer’s history, and inspect its entire structure.

"There you’re looking for a frame that’s straight, it might have been in a slight accident if it’s not. You look for cracks at the welds, the factory welds, to see if there’s a problem developing there. You want to look for excessive rust, also inspect the axle sub-frame of the trailer for rust and damage," says Mowitz. "Look at the roll tarp. A lot of times guys just assume the roll rarp is ok, and this is a very expensive item to replace."

The opportunity to haul several hundred more bushels of grain has farmers taking a hard look at triple-axle hopper bottoms. Expect to spend up to $15,000 more for a late-model tri-axle trailer, but it might be worth it.

"Where that comes in handy, is if you are hauling a lot of grain long distances, or you’re hauling a lot of grain and you’re waiting in line. If you can only get two or three loads in a day because you’re waiting in line, it really would pay to have those extra couple-hundred bushels to be able to deliver at that time," he says.

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