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Grain weight limits raised through January

A tractor pulls grain wagons through Keota (Gazette file photo)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation in late December extending harvest-season grain weight limits through the month.

The proclamation allows vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, hay, straw, silage and stover to be overweight (not exceeding gross weights of 90,000 pounds) without a permit until Jan. 29.

“It has happened in previous years, a lot of it depends on the weather, it depends on the size of the crop that comes in and any challenges that prolong that,” Iowa DOT System Operations Director Dave Lorenzen said. “The Governor’s office usually makes those decisions in consultation with the ag industry.”

While weight levels that high are unsustainable for the state’s infrastructure, Lorenzen said they were manageable in small bursts.

“We haven’t analyzed all our bridges to make sure they can adequately handle all those 90,000 pound year-round,” he said. “With the harvest proclamations it’s a little more controlled, you kind of know where most of it’s going to.”

Lorenzen cautioned that the proclamation did not allow such heavy loads on the interstate.

“The federal government indicates what weight limits we can have on the interstate,” he said. “The industry does well with this, but they have to make sure they navigate around and don’t run that extra weight on the interstate.”

Overall, Lorenzen said the proclamation was a win for corn producers.

“I think the industry does a good job of complying with this, and I think they appreciate the exemptions,” he said. “I think it helps get the farm industry get the product out of the field and to the delivery point better. We’ve got a really good working relationship with agriculture and we enjoy that.”