Saturday, October 29, 2016

Gravity Wagon

There is a reason few of us are farmers.

The Brent 1082 gravity wagon holds one thousand bushels of shelled corn. It has a 20” diameter auger to unload, and will unload about 500 bushels of corn per minute. A single load of shell corn weighs 56,000 pounds, or 28 tons, at 15% moisture.

While these grain wagons are useful for farmers who have large, powerful tractors to run them, but they are expensive. The Brent 1082 wagon pictured here sells for about $42,000. It will take more than 82 acres of corn producing the national average of 171 bushel per acre to earn enough to pay for this wagon. That is more than 14 full loads of corn which today sells for $3.01 per bushel. In Dec. 1947 corn sold of $2.47 per bushel, only 18 percent less than today. Of course this does not count the cost of the tractor to power the wagon, or the combine to harvest corn. It also does not account for the price of seed corn, chemicals, fertilizer, or diesel fuel to run the tractor and combine on many passes over the field. It also does not account for the mortgage cost of the land where the corn is grown. Given the uncertainty of weather, a crop is not assured at all, but the costs are all a certainty plus the going interest rate to finance all these costs. Fortunately for our few remaining farmers this looks like a good crop year. 


  1. No farmers... no food.

    I have great respect for the farmers and tough life they live... and little return receive.

    Your command of the details is very impressive.

    1. We have always thought of farmers providing our food, but these days beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy all come from factory farms. Much of our corn is turned into alcohol fuel, and few farms actually raise animals any more.

  2. I think our cattle and sheep are still farmed the old way TFG.. I've always thought that a farmers life would be extremely hard.. apart from the physical side of it there is no controlling the weather, it can make or break a years crops.

  3. So few family farmers left ... and no wonder.

  4. It is a hard life and like you say so expensive!

  5. This is exactly why I think so many of the small towns on the east side of the Cascades in both Oregon and Washington are dying. Nothing but corporate farming is left. Interesting post!

  6. Farming is certainly not a job cutout for everyone. Year-in year-out they gamble on the weather. Some times that gamble pays off, sometimes it doesn't.