anybody out there do any grain hauling. i have a chance to get into it. good bad i would like to know.
I've done grain hauling for Cenex Land O' Lakes and a company that processes expired bakery products into feed. For Cenex, it was a lot of driving around the boonies away from major freeways. One thing I didn't like about it was being paid by percent of the load. Then there were the get up extremely early in the morning to try and find a spot at the elevator. Normally there'd be 15 faqqing cars ahead of me at some of the big elevators! All that waiting and no stinking pay to boot! Unloading sometimes could be a breeze or take all day. One place didn't have a schute to drive up onto, so I had to open her up and let out so much at a time, then a bobcat would push it all into a pile! I really couldn't make squat at Cenex so I moved on after 3 months.
The processing company was something else, they didn't even know much about paying by the mile so I was paid hourly to drive from Rosemont, MN all the way down to Souix City, SD or Omaha, Neb! I could not believe what was going on.. a company trusting me to take their car so far and believed that I went off the clock when I took breaks. Of course I respected that, but doubt the same practice is still in place today now that they've grown a lot bigger.
Just my little experience should show that there's a big difference between companies. Most from what I've heard pay by percentage. Good Luck on your job.
Don't do it! Not worth it!
No money! Too much hassel!
Always maxed on gross! Paid by weight! Not paid to wait!
Banana is 100% right! And then some!
If you do it you're a fool!
You're going to do it anyway are'nt you? Just make sure you print this up and stick it to your dash---a constant reminder that I told you so!
I got my start in hauling grain for the farm and I still continue to do it from time to time. I did mostly local work which is by far easier and less stressful than long haul. Most of what I did was tied to hauling the crop out of the field to either the farm or right to the county elevator. Either way the day was long. Get up real early and go to bed real late. With the help of modern equipment, it has really cut into the waiting time. Usually by the time I get back from whereever, I am usually loaded and on my way. 5-30 minutes max. Can easily overload too so you gotta watch out. Luckly most major farm producing states up the allowed weights on farm cars when it comes to harvesting. One of the major problems with hauling out of the field is 1. weather. Can't harvest when its raining. 2. Farmers harvesting hate to wait on a car to get back the the field. Everytime they stop, thats time they loose. The faster they can get through harvesting the better it is. 3. Hauling local is extrememly busy in the fall. Slows down in the winter and spring and picks back up in the summer when farmers have to sell their crop to make room for the new one.
Equipment especially on a local level is bare bones to say the least. The lighter the equipment, you guessed it, the more you can haul which is the point of the game. I drive a 1994 KW T800 daycab and a 1997 40' Timpte grain hopper owned in partnership with me and my brother. Depending on the weights of the grain like moisture content I can load about 53,000 lbs . Pay is most often percentage. All country road driving too. Just watch out for the deer at night They will pop out of no where.
Elevators can be a pain but because alot of farmers around here now have their own on farm storage or access to a few ethanol plants, waits at the county elevator are not nearly as bad as they once were. When it comes to harvest I prefer to run field to farm.
I went to Ag school and worked at several farms before I got married. My wife's brother runs about 2500 acres and she has another cousin that runs 1500+ and does custom harvesting. In our area, most of the grain haulers do something else because there is not enough year-round work.
I worked at one farm out of college. The owner sold a bin full of soybeans and ordered 10 cars. He set up a bunch of augers and gravity boxes to load cars as fast as he thought would work. Part way into the 1st load, the main auger motor burned up. He told the drivers that he would have it going in less than 30 minutes. It didn't happen. Those guys all lost a day of hauling during September (peak time).
The only upside (to me) is that you would be working with farmers, generally some of the straightest shooting folks you will run into.
Grain hauling is definitely non-stop work. The only time I've ever had much of a break on that work was elevator queues. But most elevators are nice enough to have coffee to hand and a soda machine.
Hauling from the field is often tricky, since many field entrances aren't 100% car friendly. Watch the dirt roads, some of them can be very steeply cambered (banked) and it can scare the wits out of you if you hit one at night at the wrong speed/angle fully loaded. I did that last week... brown trouser time.
Use your own car. You know it, and keep it maintained. If you end up using a farmers car then expect it to be a heap of junk.
It's worth talking to elevators directly about hauling for them, as they quite often have longer distance hauls to do to shft grain around.
Farmers are definitely straight talkers, and good people most of them.
If it's a job you enjoy, then consider talking to a custom harvest outfit, as you'll get to do a whole heap of grain hauling, and do it around the country (pay is lousy tho for me, should be ok if you have your own car tho)
It has it's good and bad points like any other freight.
Contrary to what others have said, you can make money doing it. However, hauling from elevators every day probably isn't one of them unless you can find something specialized.
I pull a hopper but haul very little grain unless it's organic. I try to stick with things that have been processed at least once as there is more money in it.
One thing to keep in mind, Just about everything pays by weight. The lighter you are, the more you make. You'll be grossing 80,000 (or more in the states that allow), running around the country with 1/4 tank of fuel, and doing without a few creature comforts if you're serious about making money.
So, If you're the type who likes the 86" studio sleeper, rigmaster generator, fridge, microwave, tv, vcr,etc etc you might want to think twice.
It works for me, but I wouldn't exactly recommend it for anybody.
I agree with this guy:
OH!!! That was me! I have never been so right!
I worked for a local feed mill. Payed by percentage, too. Although I was home every night, I ended up workin long hours for about $550 take-home every week. Pro: Country highways with little traffic; nobody lookin over my shoulder; no back-breakin labor; regular, reliable work with no layoffs, etc.; home every night; no logs within 100 miles. Con: Country highways subject to no snowplowing & surprise DOT inspections, the occasional slowpoke when you can't pass for thirty miles so stay far enough back to keep good speed for uphill and not run up their rear-end on the downhill, waitin doesn't pay, hours will be spent waiting for old mills to take load, other cars in lines, typical 14 to 18 hr. day for the 550. (70 hrs @ 550 per week = approx. $7 per hr.) As a co. driver, I found out the equip was dangerously old. Once I hit a bump at a bridge fully loaded and the trailer buckled! When I first started, I had to insist to get the car aligned to stop it from shuddering at 45 to 60 mph.
My conclusion: Asset of being home, drawback of long hrs., low wages. But a sure 550 per wk. for lotsa time, not much actual labor. Decision: went back to college, got a BA. Now substitute teaching, but still looking at that 550-- that's 200 more a week than full-time subbing, and one doesn't get work everyday...
All in all, a learning experience. Unless you own-operate, another exploited, workin-for-somebody-else type job.
Courtesy saves lives
Most grain haulers here all pull Super b trains or 5 axle trailers. So if you got a low power car it would kind of suck.
thanks all for feedback. have not yet talked to the company yet. just getting some valuable info.
Hauled grain from all over Montana to Clarkston WA and Lewiston ID after paying a $1.00 to make $1.00 I decided to: 1. Get a bigger car or 2. STOP
Seriously It does not seem to be worth it with fuel prices up and grain prices per hundredweight down.
You will be trading dollar for dollar.
My advice is to just say no
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