On November 3, Iowa Governor tom Vilsack issued a 30-day extension to the emergency proclamation he issued a month ago, allowing farmers and grain haulers to transport up to 90,000 lb. loads on all state highways. The emergency proclamation was scheduled to end on November 4.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association worked with the governor's office this past week, expressing the importance of extending the exemption, especially since harvest has proceeded slower than usual in many parts of the state. The emergency proclamation will now be in effect through midnight on Dec. 4, 2006.
As with the past exemption, there are limitations:
The axle weight maximum of the tractor-trailer must not be exceeded.
Posted bridge embargoes and weight limits must still be obeyed.
The exemption doesn't apply to federal interstate highways such as I-80 and I-35.
Exemption is needed and appreciated
"With corn prices rising this fall, we've had more farmers selling grain than usual for this time of year," says Gary Woodley, a farmer from Clarion, Iowa. "It's not just new crop corn. Even a lot of the old crop that farmers have been holding onto for the past year in storage is now being moved out of the bins and hauled to market."
The new crop has been big too, in 2006. "Yields on our farm this fall are just a little under last year's yields," says Woodley. "But they are pretty close. Last year, of course, was a record yield. We had record yields in Iowa the last two years, so we have a lot of corn and soybeans to move."
He farms in Wright County in north central Iowa. "Corn harvest is just about wrapped up for 2006 in our county," Woodley commented on November 3. "There are still a few bean fields left to harvest. Not too far from here, where they've had late fall rains, harvest has been delayed. Those farmers who still have a lot of corn to harvest out of the field will really appreciate this extension on the overweight load exemption for grain haulers."
Be careful driving on Iowa roads this fall
The exemption is helpful. Rather than the normal 80,000 lb. limit, trucks are allowed to haul up to 90,000 lbs. of grain for the next 30 days. "That's an extra 150 bushel of corn per load," says Woodley. "For a farmer harvesting 100 acres per day, he would be harvesting 20 loads per day. The additional 150 bushels per load would mean he would have two less trucks on the road that day."
With the price of diesel fuel and gasoline, the exemption helps save farmers and truckers some money. It's also a safety advantage because it reduces the number of trucks on the road, since you can haul more grain per load. Trucks don't have to make as many trips to and from the field.
"We thank the governor for the exemption," says Woodley, who serves on the ICGA board of directors. "We have excess grain to move this fall and a limited time to do it. As harvest is now being completed, there is a lot of traffic on Iowa roads. We encourage everyone to please drive carefully and watch out for trucks and farm machinery."