Iowa Extends Overweight Limits for Agricultural Transport

Farm truck
ImagineGolf/Getty Images

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has extended through Feb. 19 the harvest time proclamation for weight limits and the transportation of grain, fertilizer and manure.

The order allows vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, hay, straw, silage, stover, fertilizer (dry, liquid and gas) and manure (dry and liquid) to be overweight (not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight) without a permit for agricultural truck traffic.

It applies to loads transported on all highways except the interstate system in Iowa, whose economy and transportation system are heavily tied to its grain production.

Rural roadways are important for trucking the state’s agricultural products in both first-mile and last-mile connections. In fact, farmers are now using larger, heavier field equipment and shipping more commodities via truck directly to processors or export terminals using rural routes, according to the state department of transportation.

Iowa corn distribution

Iowa Department of Transportation

The governor’s extended proclamation stipulates that commercial vehicles operating under the order cannot exceed either the state’s maximum axle weight limit by more than 12.5% nor the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds. Vehicles also must comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.

Certain divisible loads may travel without permits on state highways if the load is soybeans, corn, hay, straw, silage, stover, fertilizer and manure.

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Iowa’s top agricultural commodity is cereal grains. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, the state’s corn farmers were responsible for growing 16% of the nation’s total corn production (2.3 billion bushels on 12.9 million acres of land) in 2020. It also grows 12% of all U.S. soybean at 506 million bushels in 2020.

“Like corn, soybeans are a major Iowa and U.S. export to countries around the world. Top buyers of soybeans include China, Mexico and Japan; top markets of soy meal are Mexico, Philippines and Canada; and the top destinations for soybean oil are China, Mexico and India,” noted the state’s 2022 freight plan.