Wallaces Farmer

Waiver allows trucks to haul 10% per axle over the normal weight limit on Iowa highways. It does not apply to posted bridges or roads, and doesn't apply to Interstate highways.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

September 30, 2009

8 Min Read

In an effort to help farmers move this year's large corn and soybean harvest, Iowa Governor Chet Culver has granted a temporary weight limit exemption for trucks on Iowa roads. The proclamation increases the legally allowable weight limit for shipment of soybeans, corn, hay, straw and stover to 88,000 pounds gross weight—without the need for an oversize/overweight permit.


The exemption will be granted for 60 days, beginning October 1, 2009. "We're looking at another significant corn and soybean crop in Iowa this fall, and this exemption will help Iowa farmers bring in the crops quickly," says Culver. "I'm authorizing this temporary weight limit exemption to assist farmers as they work to move this large crop in a small amount of time."


There are still certain restrictions you must follow


The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the exemption, to assure public safety and to facilitate the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.


The weight limit exemption applies to loads transported on highways within Iowa, but not on the Interstate highway system in Iowa. Also, trucks can't exceed a maximum of 88,000 pounds gross weight, must comply with the legal maximum axle weight limits of 20,000 pounds per axle and must obey the posted limits on roads and bridges.


The Iowa Corn Growers Association asked the governor to grant this exemption. "We are happy that Governor Culver has granted our request for the harvest weight proclamation, and that it will last for 60 days," says Don Elsbernd, a farmer from Postville who is the new president of ICGA.


Doesn't apply to posted roads and bridges, or Interstate highways


He notes that "The terms are similar to the exemption the governor granted last year at harvest, allowing a 10% per axle tolerance for weights. However, we are asking everyone to please remember that the tolerance does not apply to posted roads or posted bridges, nor does it apply to federal interstate highways."


State troopers, deputy sheriffs, DOT officers and other law enforcement officials will be monitoring the trucks. "And the fines for not obeying the law with regard to truck weights are pretty steep," says Elsbernd.


"This harvest weight limit exemption is a privilege," he adds. "It is not a right by law, but a petition to the governor, who at his sole discretion may choose to grant the 10% increased weight tolerance. ICGA requested the proclamation and provided the governor with information regarding late planting, low summer temperatures, the possibility of an early frost this fall, and the estimated predictions of another outstanding and bountiful Iowa crop. We sincerely thank Governor Culver for his action on this matter."


Where did it frost in Iowa on early morning of September 30?


Where did it frost in Iowa, overnight on September 29 to September 30? Elsbernd, who farms in Allamakee County in Iowa's far northeast corner, said on September 30 that "It was a wonderful frost-free morning here in northeast Iowa. We were out checking a lot of corn yesterday and much of our corn on our farms around here are about half-milk line—the milk line is only halfway down the kernel here on the last day of September."


"So, if we can get a couple more weeks of good weather without a frost, we would be very happy," he says. Just about everyone in northeast Iowa says about half of the corn has a ways to go yet before the plants reach physiological maturity. There are some soybean fields that are pretty green yet too.


Is Elsbernd going to harvest a bumper corn crop? "I was very encouraged by what I saw as I walked my fields on September 29," he says. "It's discerning that we are as far behind in maturity as we are this year. But if we are lucky and get a week or two more of weather without a killing frost, we will be looking at a very, very good crop here in northeast Iowa. I think we'll be holding our breath to the very end this year. It's going to be exciting until the crop is in the bin."


Only a few places in Iowa have had scattered light frost so far


Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, says northeast Iowa had cloud cover than came in during the night of September 29 and early morning of September 30, which averted a frost in that area of the state.


He adds, "Northeast Iowa ended up not getting a frost, but there were a few other places in Iowa that did get a scattered frost—places in the western two-thirds of Iowa had temperatures down to the mid-30 degree range early in the morning of September 30. Thirty five degrees was recorded as far south as Leon and Clarinda, near the Missouri border. Only two places in Iowa officially reported 32-degrees F the morning of September 30. Guthrie Center in west central Iowa and also Swea City way up north near the Minnesota border in north central Iowa."


"So it didn't frost in very many places last night in Iowa. That's good news for the later maturing corn and soybean fields," notes Hillaker. And looking at the forecast as of September 30, it appears there won't be any frost for the next 5 days or so in Iowa.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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