Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Big Rig Journey

When you live 11 miles from town, road trips are a fact of life. However, my road trips don't usually involve hoisting myself up into a semi truck.

This past year, we added a semi truck, grain trailer and flatbed trailer to our farm fleet. It gives us the ability to haul grain and hay to markets.

Our usual trips are hauling grain just a few miles away to the Zenith branch of the Kanza Co-op. But transporting our hay to a customer has lengthened the journey.
I recently went along for the ride as Randy delivered a load of hay to Maverick Feeders, just east of Dodge City.
It looked like they had a fair amount of hay already in place.
These were sudan bales. We brought alfalfa bales, so they went in a different place.
Once we weighed the load at the scale house, Randy pulled the truck to an unloading area and started releasing the tie-down straps. (See how the hay was loaded in this post.)

Then the feedlot's front loader operator began removing the alfalfa bales, one at a time, from the trailer.
He put each one in a pile near the feed mill.

Inside the mill, they prepare a ration for the cattle. It includes ground hay, corn (stored in the silos), molasses (stored in the white tanks to the far right of the building). They also add wet distiller's grain (the yellow "pile" in the foreground of the photo at the lower right.)
In this photo, you can see the feed truck ready to go into the feed mill. You can also see the molasses tanks to the right of the mill. In the lower left photo, you can see ground hay. The yellow substance in the right photo is wet distiller's grain.
The feed truck dispenses the ration into troughs for the cattle to eat.

While the feedlot unloaded our hay, Randy worked on rolling up the straps, then stored them in the compartment between the tires.
We stopped again at the scale house for an empty weight. We had delivered 75,540 pounds of hay in the 30 bales we took to Maverick. Our maximum weight for this split-axle trailer is 85,000 pounds.
I must admit that I often read a book when I'm the passenger on a road trip. I didn't crack the cover this time. I was too busy watching the road and the scenery.
Out the front window ...

... or out the back.

And, if I'm totally honest, it also makes me a little nervous. I had thoughts of the bales rolling off onto the highway behind us, despite watching the guys carefully tie them all down. Since that didn't happen, I guess the journey was a success!


  1. Very interesting post Kim. It looks like a pretty big feedlot you were delivering into. And I am amazed at the number of wind turbines along the route. Great photos!

    1. Thanks, Lynda. There are a number of feedlots in the vicinity of Dodge City. The windmills are near the town of Spearville, not far east of Dodge City. They are an impressive sight!

  2. WOW we haul round bales in the summer three high about 26 ...800 pound bales and that makes me nervous I can imagine with these big ones. I only haul 26 I am very nervous about the third tier so I don't load them that high, I will leave that to My Hero:) Hug B

    1. I just watched the process of loading, though I had plenty of questions about how well tied down they were! As Randy says, if I don't have something to worry about, I find something. That's probably accurate (though not Biblical, for sure)!

  3. Oink oink oink! That ration sounds sweet and yummy! :)
    Wow! You all were heavy! The heaviest we've weighed was around 70,000. I do t drive the semi to town to weigh. Too scary for me! But I'll drive it from the stack yard to home. We have an old cab over freight liner. And just got a kenworth. It actually has a heater that works! :)

    1. Randy says the reason our total weight can be 85,000 pounds is because our trailer is split axle. And I'm with you: I'll leave driving the bales to Dodge City to the guys!

  4. Kim,
    Sounds like a good adventure with Randy.

    Got to like a place that claims "Beef Is Our Business." I love seeing pens and pens of fat cattle. I don't know if it is from showing steers in my youth, but I have always liked looking at fat cattle.

    I am guilty of sticking my nose in my kindle and missing the scenic countryside.

    1. It was an interesting trip - a new experience. As I said, I often read my book in the passenger seat. But this time, I had to watch out the window to make sure we weren't losing anything ... not really!

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