Any farmer or commercial harvester will readily admit that a grain cart can easily be the most economical, and economically feasible, addition to their equipment fleet during harvesting season.
The function of the grain cart is simple: When towed alongside the combine, it allows the combine operator to unload ‘on the fly’ without interrupting the harvesting process. This allows the harvester operator to devote 100% of available time to the harvesting operation and eliminates any down time necessary to navigate the harvester to the staging area used by the haulers.
Certainly, while a full sized semi-trailer can, in some circumstances, offer the same option, the grain cart can be pulled using a standard sized tractor and can access the combine in areas a semi-truck may not be able to reach.
This allows the hauling vehicles to stage in a stable, level, and accessible area of the harvesting area. The hauling vehicles avoid the risk of becoming mired in sand or wet soil conditions. All the hauling operators have to do is wait for the grain cart to bring the load to them. Since the cart can be moved while it is dumping, the transfer process can be accomplished in the smallest area possible, minimizing long term impact to the soil surface of the field.
Grain carts are available in a variety of sizes and configurations. Smaller, more economical grain carts use a standard two-axle rolling gear and can be unloaded with side dump bodies, into grain pits, or with optional hydraulically driven augers, into long range haulers.
Higher capacity grain carts generally use a single-axle running gear and commonly use an auger for dumping. Large grain carts have a hopper capacity of 750 bushels, more than twice the grain tank capacity of many combines. Other cart models are available with track a track carriage system.
It is therefore simple to demonstrate that the grain cart can accommodate two operating combines at the same time. By doing so, use of the grain cart increases the efficiency by which the grain travels from the combine to the hauler, and reduces overall fuel and labor expenses throughout the operation.
Grain carts are simple to operate and require no specialized training for labor force, either of the average farmer or of the commercial harvester. Grain carts use relatively simple technology and many parts can be replaced in the field by personnel with no advanced technical training.
Because of this simplicity, grain carts enjoy a long operational life and require less programmed maintenance than most other agricultural equipment. The natural extension, therefore, is that aftermarket, or second-hand, grain carts normally function as efficiently as one bought new from a dealer.