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Bulk beans here to stay

If you still get your soybeans in 50-pound bags, you may want to hold onto them rather than burn them after the season. The way the shift toward bulk soybeans is moving, paper sacks with various company names printed on them could be collectible someday. Don’t laugh — do you really think your grandfather thought the burlap bags he used for seed and feed would be sold at antique auctions down the road?

John Epperson’s choice for getting soybean seed combines something old with something new. He hauls them in a 1969 farm truck with wooden sides. But he gets the soybeans in bulk, either from the plant directly or else delivered to him in bulk.

“Sometimes I drive up to Greensburg to Stewarts, and they load bulk beans for me,” he explains. He can haul about 400 bushels. Epperson lives near Hanover, not far from the Ohio River.

“I drive up there to exercise the truck as much as anything,” he says. “It doesn’t get a lot of miles on it during the year. Or if it’s more convenient, they bring the seed to me and load the truck. Whichever way we do it, I handle them in bulk.”

Key Points

• More farmers move to handling bulk soybean seed.

• An older farm truck makes a great tender for this farmer.

• Brushes on the edge of steel flighting gentler on bean seed.

Sentimental value

Using an older farm truck as a seed tender isn’t a new idea. Skipping straight to bulk delivery from the seed plant is different for some.

“One reason I use this truck is because I learned to drive it when I was 11 years old,” Epperson grins. “A neighbor used it to haul dry fertilizer to the field for years. It works well for me for hauling soybean seed to the field.”

Necessity forced a few changes when Epperson obtained the truck. To make it work for soybeans with a hydraulic auger attached on the back, he changed out the hydraulics. Hydraulic controls are located near the rear of the bed, on one side. Using a hand-held switch to turn the auger on and off, he has all the controls he needs within reach.

Changes over time

Like many other farmers, Epperson once drilled soybeans in narrow rows. At the time, the auger he used to load the seed hopper was mounted on the drill. Next, he opted to switch to a planter with row splitter units so that he plants in 15-inch rows.

“That’s when I mounted the auger on the back of the truck,” he adds. “It really works out well for a one-person operation.”

The auger is equipped with brushes on the flighting. Epperson does what he can to handle seed gently and maintain quality. He wants to preserve the germination quality that soybeans have when they leave the plant in bulk.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.