Life as a Grain Hauler - My Experience
by Ben Rykerd
(Black Forest Colorado)
My experience of life as a grain hauler is different from most truck drivers. While many grain haulers pick up loads of grain from elevators and farmers grain bins to haul to a grain terminal(can load 100 train cars in 24 hours), I pick up loads of grain from the fields during harvest time.
This is because the type of grain hauling I do is included in custom harvesting. Combines will load the grains such as wheat, corn, soybeans, and milo into a grain cart that has scales built in. the grain carts then load the trucks using the scales to ensure all loads are legal as well as track them.
The customer is billed using the scale tickets provided at elevators. Elevators are the most common place for a grain hauler to unload. The driver has a salary and the carrier takes a percentage of the load.
The hoppers are comprised of 2 or 3 hopper compartments. the one I haul is 2 hopper compartments that produce a 46' trailer. The hoppers that have 2 compartments have to separate traps on the bottom that are opened with the handle for the landing gear. Some top of the line models have traps that open by remote control.
The hoppers with a third compartment usually have a 3rd axle with a third trap at the very rear of the trailer.
The beauty of being a grain hauler on a harvest crew as opposed to just a ordinary grain hauler is you also get to haul equipment.
Combines and grain carts are moved from state to state on specialized trailers. The main harvest run goes from the states of Texas to the Canadian border so that is the area you will most likely see them in.
Hoppers can also be used for hauling seed for new crops as well as the feed needed for livestock.