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A strapping young man

While I was busy loading a semi and a couple goosenecks with hay one day, one of my seed dealers called. He wanted to know if I could take delivery of my seed. His warehouse was getting a bit cramped. This was on a Monday, so I told him to figure on Wednesday for delivery. That would allow me to get five gooseneck loads out of the hay shed and get it cleaned up for conversion to seed storage.

On Wednesday, Seed Guy called and said it would be after 10:00 when he got there with seed. This was shortly after 9:00, so I didn't think I had time to get a load of hay to Fort Atkinson via the scale in Protivin and then back home again in time.

I opted to wait for Seed Guy, then fill Ray, my hay jockey and trucker, then head out with my own load. It wasn't long before 10:00 came and went. No Seed Guy. Next thing you know, Ray pulled in and we got him loaded, strapped down, flags installed on his front and rear round bales, and OVERSIZE LOAD banners placed on the front and rear. That takes almost as long as the actual loading of bales does, but it keeps the guys in the blue DOT cars happy.

Once Ray had gone, I waited around again for Seed Guy. I waited some more. About 1:55, my seed arrived. There were five seed boxes on the gooseneck trailer. They're made out of black plastic and are about four feet square, five feet high, and hold approximately 50 bushels of beans in bulk. That allows me not to have to handle 750 fifty-pound bags. (I'm efficient, not lazy.) I took my skid loader with pallet forks and lifted each seed box off one at a time with minimal effort. Amazingly, though, Seed Guy didn't have a single strap holding the load down. Need I tell you what the rules are when transporting a load on a trailer, class?

Seed Guy left to get another load of five boxes to bring back. Two hours later, he still wasn't back. He only lives a few miles north of me. Then my phone rang. It was him. He said he wouldn't be back that afternoon. Seems he dropped a seed box and had to clean it up. I told him we could do the balance of the delivery another day.

When Seed Guy showed up, I noticed that all five seed boxes were strapped down. He got out of the truck and I asked if he had lost the box in the yard while he was loading it, or on the road. From looking at his face, I sort of knew the answer. He dumped his load on the road, not in the yard. Actually, he dumped TWO seed boxes on the road! He wanted to know if I was familiar with how rough and bumpy the highway can be with a load of seed. Having gone to his place for years to pick up my seed before he bought his own trailer two years ago, I was quite familiar with the neck-snapping ride from his place to mine when loaded. He decided to go on the blacktop to get to my place instead of the highway or gravel roads. As he rounded a corner north of me (not even at much speed, according to him), he looked in his mirror and saw the front two seed boxes go sliding right off the front of the trailer like they were on rollers. They didn't just land with a thud. No, they went head-over-heels multiple times and landed in the opposite ditch, shattering along the way and spilling their contents. To make matters worse, of all the people who could be driving down the road at that very minute and witness the accident, who would be his last choice? Why, that would be his biggest competitor, of course!

A couple of days later, Seed Guy had two loads to bring me, so I offered to ride back with him and help him load the second one. My job was to put all the tie-down straps on and make sure everything was secured. I gave him a couple pointers on straps and how to make them work best and stay clean the whole time. We drove past the scene of the accident and it didn't appear to be a good situation, seed recovery-wise. They were splattered all over the side of the road and the tall grass in the ditch.

When I mentioned this incident to Guy No. 1, he grimaced excessively. He's a numbers guy. A seed box itself costs about $400. The soybean seed within it is another $1,500. So that means going with a strapless load was a $3,800 oversight on Seed Guy's part.

That's why I stick with hay. Best-worst-case scenario, my load of hay is worth maybe $1,200 and can almost always be loaded back up in its entirety if it gets dumped.

Not that I'd know anything about that sort of thing.

Guy No. 2

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