Iowa Governor Chet Culver has signed a temporary weight limit exemption to help Iowa farmers move the bumper crop this fall. The exemption is granted for 60 days beginning on September 14, 2007. The weight limit suspension will be in effect from September 14 through midnight on November 12 and allows farmers to haul up to 88,000 pounds of grain on state highways in Iowa.
The proclamation increases the allowable weight limit for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw and stover to 88,000 pounds gross weight without the need for the truck to get an oversize or overweight permit.
"This was a necessary step," says Culver. "We're looking at the largest corn crop in Iowa history - an estimated 12% more corn than in any other year. And the weather has hastened the dry-down and harvest of the crop in the field this fall. As a result, 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."
Must abide by posted limits on bridges
It is important to note in the wake of the Minnesota bridge collapse this summer that this exemption does not change the lower weight limits as posted on bridges and overpasses and interstate highways in Iowa. In other words, the suspension does not apply to transport of grain on the Interstate highways or on bridges. Farmers who are hauling grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights as well.
In early August, the Iowa Corn Growers Association sent a letter to Culver requesting the temporary exemption. "We are extremely pleased to see the temporary exemption go into effect this harvest," says Tim Recker, a northeast Iowa farmer who serves as president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
"This fall we are going to harvest our largest crop in history and we will be transporting that crop many miles by rail, road and river this fall. As we all know, weather in Iowa is unpredictable and being able to move a large crop in a small window of time is crucial. We applaud the governor on his ability to recognize our situation," says Recker.
Iowa has a record corn crop this fall
Iowa's 2007 corn crop is expected yield 182 bushels per acre and top 2.5 billion bushels of total production, according to USDA's September Crop Report – and every bushel must be transported from field to storage to final use. That means an Iowa farmer with 350 acres of corn and average yields must plan to move 63,700 bushels this fall – or 70 semi loads – on Iowa's rural roads and bridges.
In all, moving the entire crop from the field will require the equivalent of 2.79 million semi round-trips of varying distance on local roads.
"Iowa Corn Growers Association members requested a 60 day exemption versus the typical 30 day exemption that has been granted in past years, says Recker. "We are excited to report that we listen to our membership and lobbied for a longer 60 day exemption and you can see ICGA membership dollars at work today as the Governor signs the 60 day exemption."