The Rise of the Flatbed Trailer in Agriculture

 

  • Some 25 years ago it was not normal for farmers to also own tractor-trailers. Among those that did, the primary use was to haul grain. Growers without their own semis contracted with owner-operators to carry everything from grain to produce and dairy products. Things are changing though, according to an article published by Successful Farming earlier this year.

Successful Farming’s Dave Mowitz says that agricultural operations are more favorable to owning tractor-trailers these days. He says a big part of the rise of semis in agriculture is the popularity of the flatbed trailer. A good flatbed can be used to haul just about anything a grower needs moved. It is just a matter of good cargo control practices.

It’s all about versatility for the modern American farmer. A farmer willing to invest big money in a tractor trailer wants a rig that can be used for lots of different purposes. He or she is not about to purchase a truck that’s only good for one or two jobs. This is why the flatbed trailer is so popular for agriculture.

Hauling Heavy Equipment

It could be that the desire to haul heavy equipment is responsible for motivating farmers over the last two decades to invest in their own tractor-trailers. Without a semi to work with, farmers have to drive equipment from one location to the next. That is obviously doable, as evidenced by the legions of farmers who have done just that for generations. But hauling equipment on the back of a flatbed is safer, faster, and more efficient.

Given the limited speed of your average piece of farm equipment, it could take a considerable amount of time to move a tractor between fields, for example. A farmer can load that same tractor on the back of a flatbed and haul it to the new field in less time – even when you consider loading and unloading times.

That does not even speak to the unwieldy nature of farm equipment on public roads. Between extremely large sizes and rather odd shapes, driving farm equipment between locations has always been a tricky proposition. It is no more. The flatbed trailer has seen to that.

Mytee Products, an Ohio company that sells cargo control equipment and supplies to truck drivers and agricultural operators, says the key for farmers is to choose the right trailer and the right kinds of cargo control devices. A sturdy trailer and a good supply of chains and tiedown straps will serve the average farmer quite well.

Still Hauling Grain

The beauty of the flatbed trailer is that it can still be used to haul grain. Rather than loading grain into a straight truck, it is loaded into wooden crates or steel bins already attached to the back of the trailer. The flatbed can haul just as much grain without losing a beat. Better yet, the grain containers can be unloaded when the flatbed is needed for other things.

Farmers can haul crates of produce tied to a flatbed and covered with tarps. They can move loads of poultry with ease. And when a tractor or combine breaks down the field, there’s no need to try to repair it on site. Load it on to the back of a flatbed and haul it to the barn.

Yes indeed, big rigs with flatbed trailers are now commonplace in the agricultural industry. The versatility of the flatbed trailer has made it the hauling platform of choice among a growing number of farmers who find it to be a great solution for a lot of different needs.

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