Choosing a grain cart and tractor that is DOT friendly.

How to choose the right grain cart

Keeping the grain away from the combines is critical during the harvest rush. A combine setting out in the field with a full tank is not making money. Thus the need for a grain cart(s) is a must during harvest. A rule of thumb that is emerging is 3 to 1. Three combines to one cart. Of course rules are made to be broken but in wheat a 3 to 1 is the sweet spot for efficiency in the field. In corn however, all bets are off, but that is another book.

Not long ago Kinze dominated the harvester market with the 1050 on floats or duals being the most popular cart on the trail. There are still a number of 1050s in crews but the release of the 1100, 1300, and 1500 series has not caught on like the predecessor. Thurman Harvesting and Demaray Harvesting both have Kinze 1100s in their crew, but not the larger 1300 and 1500. This is partially due to size and weight and the ability to move them up and down highways legally. Plus the 1100 is nicely matched to semi size.

Brent Manufacturing with the Avalanche Cart has stepped into the harvester market quite nicely in the last six years. The 1194 model is very popular among harvesters in red and green colors which are largely determined by the color of combine in the fleet. As of this date I have yet to see a red cart with green combines or vise versa.

If doing much traveling through wheat country, the Brent Avalanche is common but not exclusive. As I mentioned, there are a number of Kinze 1050 is around along with other brands. Here is a list of what a few different crews are running.

  • Stevens Entities – Deere 4×4 with a Brent Avalanche
  • Hughes Harvesting – Deere MFWD with a 1050 Kinze
  • Weilert Harvesting – 875 J&M cart on CaseIH Magnum
  • Beckley Harvesting – Unverferth X-treme carts and Deere MFWD tractors
  • Eberts Harvesting – J&M Cart with CaseIH Magnum
  • Sanders Harvesting – 9330 CaseIH 4×4 and late model Kinze cart
  • B&D Walters Harvesting – 1194 Avalanche Carts and CaseIH Magnums

The model harvester now finds himself in good fortune as the selection of grain carts has blossomed in a very short period of time. At one time the only grain carts available were goofy plastic models produced by Ertl. Then Scale Models released a Kinze 850 which was very popular.

SpecCast did the model world a huge favor when they released the Kinze 1050 in three versions: dueled, floats and tracks which have been very popular and getting hard to find as they are out of production. This was followed by the Ertl made J&M 1000 cart. A few other variations of a J&M “looking cart” were released by Ertl that were designed for play and could be found in sets with a tractor.

Recent choices of carts include

  • Kinze 1300 in three versions, dueled, float and tracks
  • Brent Avalanche with tracks or floats in red or green colors
  • Unverferth 1110 with tracks or floats in red or green colors
  • Killbros 1111 with tracks or floats in red, green, or orange

Rockin H Harvesting used two 1/64th scale Kinze 1050s for several years and has moved over to red Avalanche carts to mix things up. I love the blue carts, but wanted to look at something different. Plus it gave me a chance to mix up the story of the crew for fun.

What should my model crew pull my cart with?

This question can be partially answered by asking what the harvester use their tractors for in the off season. There are a number of harvesters who farm along with going on the harvest run. With the versatility of front wheel assist, a harvester can be planting fall crops one week and heading south the next. Plus modern carts can be equipped with a camera on the auger and scale to measure out how much grain is going on the semi, thus eliminating the need for the driver to see into the trailer with the naked eye.

When interviewing harvesters regarding the 4×4 versus MFWD option, they said that weight is the number one reason front wheel assist tractors are used. Four wheel drives plus modern carts are overweight. In Colorado for example, if a harvester is hauling a big cart and a four wheel drive and is pulled over, one of the vehicles has to come off the trailer. The only way to legally haul a 4×4 and cart combination is to do it separately. Special permits could be obtained but those permits would need to be obtained in each state the load would pass through. Even stripping off all added wheel weights and 3 point from a front wheel assist tractor has harvesters bumping up against legal limits.

One thing that is nice about the cart and tractor is they are typically held for more than one season, giving the model harvester a break from trading year after year. Unless we are super freaky, we can keep our models as a static item. Or, until we get tired of looking at them.

To be quite honest, until I wrote this book I kind of knew…but didn’t know why cutters used what they used. The main Rockin H crew uses two CaseIH STX385 tractors is they look cool setting on a double combine trailer with a big cart behind them. I know its shallow. But at least the cart driver can see in the semi right?

There is a Case 2590 that will be worked into one of the older crews along with an undetermined cart. In 2012 I met a cutter on the highway with a 2590 and an A & L cart. I thought it looked cool. It will likely end up in the TR crew.

An Authentics CaseIH 7140 and J & M cart will also be worked into one of the crews primarily because that model of Case is part of Ertl’s Authentics series and has a ton of detail beyond the standard off the shelf version. This model looks amazing.