Choosing the correct trailer is one of the most important elements of transporting your farm-machinery successfully. Here’s where safety and savings collide. The last thing you want is an overloaded trailer carrying your valuable farm equipment down the road.
Flatbed trailer transport is your most affordable way of shipping your farm equipment. But flatbeds trailers are restricted to hauling smaller pieces of equipment. For larger machines, you’ll need a step-deck trailer or a Removable Gooseneck (RGN) trailer.
Step-deck trailers and RGN trailers are more versatile than flatbed trailers. They’re also more expensive. You can drive your equipment aboard step-deck trailers and RGN trailers. Step decks employ ramps to load from the rear of the trailer. RGNs have necks that can be lowered, allowing drive-aboard access from the front.
Oversize equipment must travel as a wide load, which increases your costs. Stretch RGNs, which can be 65-feet long with 20 or more axles, can transport more 150,000 pounds of cargo. For the largest and most unwieldy pieces of equipment, specialized RGN trailers are the way to go.
Flatbed Trailers: Affordable
Flatbed trailers can transport a maximum of 48,000 pounds. A flatbed trailer supports cargo that’s up to 8 ½ feet tall and as much as 8 ½ feet wide. Flatbed trailers are between 48-feet long and 53-feet long.
Flatbed trailers work best for smaller pieces of equipment. You’ll need to find a way to load the flatbed, since it doesn’t dip down. A loading dock is your best choice. Other options include using a forklift or crane (or a work crew) to lift your equipment onboard the trailer.
For agricultural equipment, flatbed trailers can be employed to transport:
Smaller mowers and tractors should fit on a flatbed trailer. As long as they’re not too tall, balers can ship on flatbed trailers. Walk-behind equipment, such as plows, spreaders and harvesters, also ships on flatbed trailers. Wagons too, as long as they’re less than 8 ½ feet tall.
Step Deck Trailers: Versatile
Step-deck trailers can transport a load that weighs a maximum of 48,000 pounds. Cargo can be as tall as 10 feet and as wide as 8 ½ feet. Step-deck trailers usually are 48 feet long. The well portion of a step-deck trailer is 37 feet long, and the deck portion is 11 feet long.
Step deck trailers are lower to the ground than flatbed trailers. Using ramps, you can drive smaller pieces of self-propelled machinery aboard a step-deck trailer. The well in a step deck is more than a foot lower than the deck of a flatbed trailer, which allows transport of equipment that slightly exceeds height regulations on a flatbed.
For farm equipment, step-deck trailers can be employed for hauling:
Larger mowers and tractors require step-deck trailers for transport, usually because they’re overheight. Many balers fit perfectly on the upper deck of a step-deck trailer. Loaders and spreaders can be driven aboard. Larger plows, wagons and seeders also require the expanded dimensions of a step-deck trailer.
RGN Trailers: Rugged
RGN trailers can haul loads that weighs as much as 42,000 pounds. Because of its low-sitting well, an RGN can carry cargo as tall as 11 ½ feet. Maximum width on an RGN is the standard 8 ½ feet. The well usually runs 29 feet in length.
RGN trailers are best for moving large self-propelled pieces of machinery. The drive-on/drive-off feature of the RGN is crucial when shipping these behemoths, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds or more. Also, RGN trailers provide about a foot-and-a-half more clearance than step-deck trailers.
For agricultural machinery, RGN trailers can be employed to ship:
- Cotton Pickers
- Hay Rakes
Anything oversize must travel on an RGN trailer, including self-propelled machines such as combines, cotton pickers, harvesters, loaders and swathers. Hay making equipment, including tedders and rakes, often is overheight when folded for transport. Cultivators and sprayers are similar to hay-making equipment, with long booms that collapse inward. The largest carts, such as those that carry liquid manure, must travel on RGN trailers.
Remember, your most affordable transport option might not be the best choice. The safety of your equipment, as well as the well-being of the driver, truck and trailer, is your number one priority. Speak with your transportation representative to determine which trailer is most appropriate for hauling your valuable farm equipment.