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Who says it takes a semi to haul grain?

Richard Fellows Kenworth semi-tractor
SWEET RIDE: Steve Fellows says he is quite comfortable hauling grain in this Kenworth semitractor fitted to a tri-axle tandem grain bed.
This family prefers moving crops with a tri-axle tandem truck, even for 50-mile trips.

Steve Fellows feels right at home behind the wheel of the Kenworth truck he uses to haul grain from the field to the bins, and from the bins to town. It doesn’t matter if “town” is in the next state, and he must drive winding, hilly roads to get there. The Kenworth delivers the power he needs, and the tri-axle tandem still hauls more than 700 bushels at a time without being as long as a semitractor and trailer.

Brothers Steve and Richard Fellows farm near New Washington, Ind. Sometimes they haul grain into elevators at Jeffersonville. It means going through new, sophisticated roundabouts, including what Richard calls a roundabout and a half-roundabout design, one after the other. “You’ve got to watch what you’re doing to get through there in a big truck,” he says.

They also haul some of their wheat crop to Siemer Milling in Harrison, Ohio. “The roads aren’t the best, but they pay a decent premium for quality wheat,” Richard says. “It more than offsets the cost of trucking. We don’t take all of our crop there, but we usually haul several loads to them each year.”

A couple of years ago, the Fellowses considered moving to a semitruck to increase hauling capacity. After they analyzed all the costs and factored in intangibles, such as how well their current truck handles, they opted to stay with the truck they have. “It works well for us and meets our needs,” Richard says.

The 1990 Kenworth powerhouse is actually a semitractor that was modified to fit the tri-axle bed. That was done before the Fellowses purchased the used truck, Richard says. Steve makes sure the truck stays in good shape. It certainly doesn’t look like a truck pushing 30 years old. 

Semis aren’t for everyone. Several companies still make gravity wagons capable of moving large amounts of grain down the road to local elevators. There were even new models offered at the 2017 Farm Progress Show.

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