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Currently farming approx 3500 acres, Have 2 combines, semi with 40‘ grain trailer and a tandem grain truck. Looking to add a bit more truck capacity as we usually just park trucks at the end of the fields and dump when full or near full. i have to shut down when trucks and combines are full as we don’t have a truck driver so my combine gets shut off and I empty everything. Was considering another grain trailer as we do have another semi on farm that we could use but been wondering lately if a grain cart would be a better investment. The farthest field to bin yard would be about 4 miles. Would be looking at another 37-40’ tandem trailer or a 900-1000 bushel grain cart.
 

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Do you have a second highway tractor for the second grain trailer? We have two grain trailers and like that because one trailer is on the road being emptied while the other one is in the field being filled. A grain cart can be expensive to run when you consider the extra hours that you are putting on a big tractor. We do use our grain cart when the fields get wet or when the two semis can not keep up. Everyone's ones situation is different.
 

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It's all about the labor you have available, if your just going to park the cart in the corner of the field I'd buy a trailer. If you're going to hire a person to drive the cart and one to dump the trucks then you will more than double your combining capacity I'd guess.
 

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You need a truck driver.
Dons right you need at least two more guys in the operation. If you buy another semi it might be harder to find a guy with a class 1. A grain cart is like adding half a combine to your set up and any body with a half a brain can run one.. A grain cart is the life line of the harvest to be able to dump on the go. Every farm should have one especially in high yielding oats or wheat. With the mass unemployment you should be able to find a guy to run a cart. That is a pretty cushy job non stressful job oh, expect if he runs into the truck or combine.! A neighbour had both happen in one day!lol
 

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I know this isn't part of your question... but if finding more help isn't an option, wouldn't parking one combine and having that guy run the truck be more efficient? One combine never having to shut down would get more done in a day than having two combines shutting down once everything is full... i think? Too many variables for that to be true i guess.
 

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Get a super B for that truck in the yard and keep doing what you’re doing if equipment is going to take the place of labour. Or do what Oatking says, just don’t forget to buy another 3500 acres for a two combine four man crew.
 

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We have a similar situation. We use 13" auger. I leave my combine idle and go dump if there is only 2 of us. 2 combines, both same. We combine from inside out, each on his own GPS after going outside rounds and splitting fields and doing headlands. Semi stays in middle. It takes a little longer to dump semi so if I don't make it back, he leaves his combine full and fills mine. I can make it back before he fills mine - using a triaxle trailer. I dump his combine and by this time he is usually nearby and I will switch with him and or drive out with his combine and switch - we then both resume with our own units. If he sees me dumping, he will finish his pass and drive over, dump mine and we will switch. It seems to work very well for us.

We have smaller fields (most are 1/4 mile wide), continuous cropping with alternative crops, most fields mile long, some half. We use big bins - saves tie up time moving auger. We also sample all grain for moisture and write it down. Normally our 3rd brother runs one tandem when he is available - which is most of time and he can keep up. (Cancer, his treatments and check ups, blood tests etc. leave us a bit shorthanded some days). Quad pulls behind any unit which helps facilitate field moves. If using tandem, combines dump on the go. Semi used to dump on if bin change needed and he can't make it back in time. In that case, the semi is dumped at end of day or if near empty left and moved around. (We don't do much barley - that could be a problem as it is voluminous.) Generally, semi sits pretty much empty because our bins are all close and located on land being harvested. 3 or 4 miles is maximum we ever haul. Most land is within 2 miles of a bin unless we fill up and have to use storage elsewhere which doesn't happen often and only for small amounts of carryover! Our storage is done by farm and we have long term renters, each with bins. Not one centrally located bin system. None of the farms have 3 phase power. We are confined to 200 amp single phase services and landlords help by providing electricity on their farms with aeration. Due to using standard Saskatchewan yard power, my preference are 2106 bins on hoppers. Less bins means I can run more fans, no demand meters and use our standard power package. Most of time, cooling more than drying as we don't own a dryer.

I would have to rethink if we did a lot of barley and had huge yields (like 100 bu/acre) and high moisture. Lentils, peas and durum confine us to less than 1000 bu/h per combine on average, lentils way less and peas somewhere in between. Our yields aren't great, so travel large distances to fill combines!

I would think twice about using a grain cart unless you can afford to pay a 4th man his wages and the cost associated with running a cart and handling grain an additional time. No experience with carts. Any time I have to "re-auger" products like lentils and peas, I think twice. For us, these products are slow to combine. By the time I deal with slowdowns in kochia weed areas and low speed/low cut height, I am more like 500 bu/h in lentils and maybe 750 in peas. I would consider things differently if we operated in wet areas ( like most people on this forum, I am likely an exception and we are almost twice the acreage as you are!). Maybe a cart is the only thing to allow you to float things off the field? For us, a slough is a rarity and I have seeded through all of them (pretty much) since 2016. That was our last wet year, combine is never stuck (2 or 3 times in my life) because I got a little to close to an alkali bog!
 

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Dons right you need at least two more guys in the operation. If you buy another semi it might be harder to find a guy with a class 1. A grain cart is like adding half a combine to your set up and any body with a half a brain can run one.. A grain cart is the life line of the harvest to be able to dump on the go. Every farm should have one especially in high yielding oats or wheat. With the mass unemployment you should be able to find a guy to run a cart. That is a pretty cushy job non stressful job oh, expect if he runs into the truck or combine.! A neighbour had both happen in one day!lol
Actually a good cart driver is hard to find. Buddy of mine told me he went through 3 guys that were useless
 

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Am I the only guy that detests driving a grain cart? We got one last fall because it was so wet, but I would sell it in a heart beat if I thought I wouldn't need it again this fall. Have cameras on tandem truck, dump on the go probably 90 % of the time. Sometimes leave semi and triaxle in field if it's a longer haul.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Do you have a second highway tractor for the second grain trailer? We have two grain trailers and like that because one trailer is on the road being emptied while the other one is in the field being filled. A grain cart can be expensive to run when you consider the extra hours that you are putting on a big tractor. We do use our grain cart when the fields get wet or when the two semis can not keep up. Everyone's ones situation is different.
Yes we have a second highway tractor
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I know this isn't part of your question... but if finding more help isn't an option, wouldn't parking one combine and having that guy run the truck be more efficient? One combine never having to shut down would get more done in a day than having two combines shutting down once everything is full... i think? Too many variables for that to be true i guess.
I am the only one with a 1A so that means i shut down to dump. The other combine never stops and can fill the tandem and i can be back in time for him to dump in trailer again.
 

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Get a super B for that truck in the yard and keep doing what you’re doing.
I know this isn't part of your question... but if finding more help isn't an option, wouldn't parking one combine and having that guy run the truck be more efficient? One combine never having to shut down would get more done in a day than having two combines shutting down once everything is full... i think? Too many variables for that to be true i guess.
Both are good options , but it makes the most sense to have both combines moving up and down the field dumping on the go into a grain cart and keeping the trucks going steady. Was taught to operate like a clock, tick tock, tick tock, keep the operation going steady with out stopping. At the end of the day , you get more grain dry during the peak hours. At least that is how I do it on my farm.

I used to do it your way many years ago , but found I wasted to much time. Yeah I know its hard to find good help these days, but that's part of a farm managers job.
When I go help the neighbour than we run four combines and two grain carts.
Many hands make light work!!
 

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I have been asking the same question. It is nearly always too wet to drive trucks across the fields here. Not that we would be getting stuck( although that happens often enough too), but more so that nothing would grow for the next few years in every truck track due to the extreme compaction. Even the combine tracks this spring ( tracks as in tracked combine) are showing up as solid yellow stripes across the fields, and that is on the high ground. Even the empty truck tracks have barely any crop growing in them now.

And now with the bigger combine and header, there were many places where we could only go 1/2 mile before being full(no lentils around here...).

Similar to 00xlt, all fields are within 5 miles, most much closer than that to a central bin site.

But, if conditions continue to be as pathetic as the last few falls, ( and spring), being rained out nearly every day, very slow going and constant stops and downtime due to down/wet/green crops, the cart driver will be redundant or at least very bored. Have had to combine back and forth due to the direction the crop is laying nearly every time, which makes unloading on the go impossible half the time. Although probably could set the GPS up and at least do strips to solve that problem.

Nearly anyone can drive a tractor, compared to a big truck, both legally, and competently.
 

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You need to replace those two combines for one new X9 John Deere .
problem solved .
or second option , extra man / woman for $ 30 / hour total $6000
 
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