JEFFERSON CITY – Recent heavy rains are hampering farmers’ efforts to harvest a bumper grain crop. As muddy fields dry, Missourians must race to draw grain from the fields and get it to market.
At the request of Richard Fordyce, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced that Missouri grain haulers will be allowed to haul corn, soybeans and other grain crops at heavier than normal weights.
“Many farmers are seeing record harvests this year, but heavy rains over the past few weeks are making it harder for them to get these valuable crops out of the fields,” said Governor Jay Nixon. “With the prime harvest season under way, this emergency waiver will provide timely and much-needed relief to farmers affected by these conditions. Without action to help them harvest more quickly, many Missouri farmers faced the possibility of real financial hardship – despite producing strong yields of corn, soybeans and other crops. I thank the Missouri Department of Agriculture and MoDOT for working together to support Missouri farmers and keep this vital sector of our economy moving forward.”
Missouri’s corn crop is expected to set a new statewide record according to the Oct. 10 forecast from the United States Department of Agriculture. Show-Me State growers are on track to harvest a projected 599 million bushels of corn, easily surpassing the previous record of 466.5 million bushels set in 2004. Nationwide, corn farmers are expected to harvest 14.5 billion bushels. This is also a new production record.
“As soon as fields are dry enough, combines will start rolling again,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association President Kevin Hurst of Tarkio, Mo. “With this year’s narrowing harvest window, the waiver will enable growers to get crops out of the fields and transported to storage quickly to prevent crop loss. We appreciate Governor Jay Nixon, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Department of Transportation for responding to our request.”
Private and for-hire motor carriers may carry up to 10 percent more than their licensed weight; however, the heavier loads are not allowed to use interstate highways.
Overweight permits are not required for these slightly overweight loads. All other traffic and motor carrier regulations that normally apply remain in place. This waiver is in effect immediately through midnight, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. While the waiver is in effect, participating motor carriers are limited to:
- A loaded, gross weight no greater than ten percent (10%) above the gross licensed weight of the commercial motor vehicle
- Transportation only within the State of Missouri
- Drivers must obey all posted bridge weight limits
- When crossing a bridge, the driver must restrict the vehicle speed to no more than thirty miles per hour (30 mph) and must center the truck between two lanes of the bridge. The truck driver must yield to oncoming traffic, and
- Travel on highways other than Missouri interstate highways. No overweight travel is allowed on Missouri interstate highways.
All travelers are advised to visit the MoDOT Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org for up-to-date road closure information. For more information, call MoDOT Motor Carrier Services at 1-800-877-8499 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time.