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Tips for Transporting Agricultural Equipment

Every so often, you’ll find that you must replace a part or buy a new tool quickly in order to get back to work. And even though online shopping is often a convenient option, it’s sometimes essential to find a dependable agriculture store close to you. On top of that, sometimes you just want to look around and ask a few questions face-to-face. Luckily, if you live in or around Lumberton, North Carolina, there is an Agri Supply Co. near your place, with all the parts, tools, and implements you need at the best prices. And, on top of all that, Agrisupply is the place to go for the best customer service you’ll find anywhere near you.

Planes, trains and automobiles. That’s a list of things that are easy to move. When it comes to agricultural equipment however, moving it more than a cornfield away can be a difficult, costly and a sometimes-dangerous proposition.

Whether you’re shipping a brand-new combine to sunny California or getting two used Kubotas to the shop for a refurb, finding the right mode of transit is probably the most important part of the process.

From large dealers down to the third-generation farmer, transporting heavy equipment is a necessary evil that we must confront from time to time. While it may seem like there aren’t many options out there to get this job done, we’ve compiled a few different ways to get from point a to point b without breaking the bank, or the equipment.

For the Big Boys

Probably the most demanding of all the equipment, the heavy weights in our lineup pose quite a challenge for both the shipper and you. Combines serve as a great example of these mammoths and they deserve some special consideration. Here’s the breakdown-

  • First, hammer out the details of a date that is convenient for both the pickup and delivery side of the shipment.

  • Find a reliable transporter, we suggest heading over to A1autoTransport and checking out their directory. There, you’ll find a list of shippers by state and the types of loads they handle as well as their territories.

  • Take time to find a broker or shipper that has experience with moving large equipment and that has the resources to proficiently get the job done.

  • Depending on size, the combine may need to be broken down for shipment. If so, arrange to have that done prior to the pick-up date.

  • If you’ll be receiving the shipment in a disassembled form, arrange to have it delivered at a location that is suitable for reassembly.

  • If you can handle the mechanics yourself, you’re good to go. If not, arrange to have your go to ag tech on site to help with putting humpty Deere back together again.

  • Consult with the shipper and the transporter to find out if attachments or other pieces of the equipment will need to be shipped separate of the main body. This may be the case with the largest styles and you’ll have to arrange for the shipment of those pieces as well.

  • In the case of having integral parts of the equipment shipped separately, such as tires, arrange to have those delivered prior to the main body or else you’ll be paying extra for the truck to stay onsite until they arrive.

The Middle Children

Medium sized equipment, such as the Case Farmall or the Massey Ferguson 6700’s lack the sheer overall size of the combine, but they are still rather large pieces of equipment and will require some specialized transport.

The challenge that these so-called middle children present is that they are typically too large to fit on an average, pickup towed trailer such as a gooseneck, but aren’t quite big enough to take up an entire load on a tractor drawn lowboy.

The big issue here is cost effectiveness. Nobody, farmer nor dealer, wants to pay full price for a tractor drawn delivery for something that’s only using half the trailer bed.

One solution is to try and pair your shipment with something else that would only be using a partial load. Although it may seem like a broker or transport company wouldn’t go for this, they’ll be looking to increase their efficiency as well. Condensing two loads into one saves them fuel, driver costs, and wear and tear. If you can spare a few days on delivery, contact a transporter and see what they can work out with you.

Here’s a few more quick tips for getting mid-sized equipment shipped

  • If you’re a dealer, map out your delivery locations and try to condense your outgoing loads. If you can get two tractors on one trailer, you’ll be saving yourself and the customer a considerable amount of money.

  • If you’re sending out your equipment for service, contact the shop or dealer doing the work and see if they have any preferred contacts. They may have a reduced rate worked out with the transport company.

For the Little Fellas

Chances are, over half of the equipment on your lot or at your farm falls into this category. The utility tractor has been a staple of the agriculture business since the first steel wheels hit a plot of dirt. With that being said, they’re also typically the most bought and sold pieces and are shipped out for service more than anything else.

If you’re going to be shuffling these little guys around, there are some different, more cost-efficient ways of doing so.

As before, get in contact with a transport company, preferably a broker of some sort. These companies rarely own their own equipment, but instead they have access to multitudes of trucks from big to small.

Instead of being relegated to a Peterbilt and a lowboy, these brokerages can often get you set up with a Dodge and gooseneck, which is going to have serious cost differences. On top of that, pick up trucks can move a little faster, make better time, and don’t fall under the same operational hour laws as semi’s do. Less travel time, less cost, it’s that simple.

Implements and Attachments

Not all farm equipment has a motor and rubber tires. We know your barn and showroom are full of finishing mowers, seeders, rotary cutters, diggers and the like. However, like everything else on the list, these guys need to get moved get as fast and efficient as possible.

While we always suggest using a professional, insured company, shipping these smaller pieces does allow for some less conventional means if you’re looking to save some money.

If your budget isn’t quite equipped to hire an insured professional, consider looking for a local person to handle it for you. Most teenagers and fresh high school graduates are usually looking to make a few bucks, and if they have a pickup truck, or can borrow one, they’re a good option for implements or attachments that can fit in a standard sized bed.
In some cases, these smaller pieces may require a trailer to move, but not the fifth wheel, heavy duty variety that most transporters use. Once again, if budget is a major factor, give a call to a local landscaper or construction company.  Smaller companies are usually looking for work, especially in the slower times of the year, and may be willing to haul it for you or rent you a trailer for the job. Or you could consider purchasing your own trailer such as this Dovetail Equipment Trailer for future use.

Mechanical Considerations

Even though you’ve most likely contracted with a licensed, insured and professional transporter to move your equipment, there are some steps you should take to further protect your expensive machinery. Take some time to prep them as such:

  • Drain all the fluids. Running a tractor or combine on empty is sure catastrophe but shipping them dry is the best thing you can do. These machines are gonna be going over potholes, bridge abutments, and taking turns a lot faster than they are used to. Diesel fuel, motor and hydraulic oil, coolant and the other fluids contained in these machines will end up sloshing around and creating pressures they’re not built to handle.

  • In the rare event that an accident does occur, these fluids can create both road and environmental hazards that in some cases will need to be mitigated, and those costs be directed back to the shipper in some instances. On top of that, if oil or fuel gets into parts of the machine it isn’t supposed to, it can destroy components. An accident that would otherwise just require some cosmetic fixes can turn into a complete loss if these fluids invade the wrong cavity.

  • Batten down the hatches. Once again, the machinery is going to be traveling at highway speeds, not the gentle crawl through the soybeans it’s made for. Be sure to tighten down, or remove, any pieces that could break off during transport. These include things such as farings, flares, covers and windscreens to name a few.

  • Remove the excess. If you’re shipping machinery out for service, take some time to remove what doesn’t need to go. Personal belongings for sure, but also objects like the blades of a mower deck, or the cutting blade of harvester. If they won’t be part of the repair, they can stay home with you.

Ultimately, we want to see your agricultural equipment make it safely to and from its destination. It can be a tall order to fill, but we’re hoping that with the suggestions we’ve given you and some good ole fashioned American ingenuity, it’ll be easier than you might have thought.

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